Padma Shri awardee and noted saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath breathed his last in the early hours of Friday, days after he was admitted to a Mangaluru private hospital. He was 69 and was hospitalised for age-related issues.
His last rites are slated to be held later in the day as one of his sons is in the Middle East.
Among other awards and accolades, he had won the Kendra Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award, Karnataka Kalashree and had played at the Jazz Festival in Prague, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the International Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Music Hall Festival in Paris, the BBC Promenade concert in 1994 at London, among others.
Following his death, senior journalist Madhavan Narayan recalled, “He turned a jazz instrument into a Carnatic staple, retaining sensitive roots in a global exploration. And worked with AR Rahman in duet to give us a popular tune. Shraddhanjali to the man who played Anjali, Anjali Pushpanjali.”
He turned a jazz instrument into a Carnatic staple, retaining sensitive roots in a global exploration. And worked with @arrahman in Duet to give us a popular tune. Shraddhanjali to the man who played Anjali, Anjali Pushpanjali.— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) October 11, 2019
Top hindustani classical musician and flute player Pravin Godkhindi remembered him as his “guru” and called this a sad day for music.
My jugalbandi partner the saxophone legend padmashri dr kadri gopalnath ji is no more, a sad day for music.. he was a like a guru to me.. RIP maestro #kadri #gopalnath #icm #jugalbandi pic.twitter.com/qdr1yyuMWj— pravin godkhindi (@flutepravin) October 11, 2019
According to a report in The Hindu, the musical genius had taken to the saxophone when he first visited Mysuru at the age of 8. He had heard the music played by the “Mysore Band” which was patronised by the Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the then Maharaja of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom.
Gopalnath shot to cinematic fame in later years with the blockbuster hit of the soundtrack for the movie Duet. AR Rahman centred the music of the K Balachander film around the saxophone. Starring Prabhu and Ramesh Aravind, the movie was a hit for its Anjali Anjali Pushpanjali song.
He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004 and received an honorary doctorate from Bangalore University the same year. He is among the few Carnatic musicians to have performed at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London.
The musical maestro is survived by his wife and two sons. His eldest son Manikanth is also an acclaimed music director.