Sankaran, Trichy. Performer, composer, ethnomusicologist, b Poovalur, Madras State, India, 27 Jul 1942; BA (Madras), 1964; MA (Madras) 1966. He is the most distinguished performer from the gharana (circle of pupils) of Palani Subramania Pillai, with whom he studied 1954-9. He has been active as a performer on mrdangam, kanjira, and kommakkol. He came to York University in 1971, serving first as a visiting artist and then as a professor. He has also taught at San Diego State U and Wesleyan U. His international careeer as a performer has been recognized by many honorary titles and awards, among them the Tlakkalai Arasu (king of rhythm) conferred by Bharati Kala Manram (Toronto) in 1978; the Raja Annamalai Chettiar Award conferred by the Music Academy (Madras) in 1980, 1982, and 1985; the Tala vadya prakasa conferred by the Karnatak Music Academy of North America (New York) in 1983; the Sangita Choodamani (Music Jewel) and gold medal conferred by Krishna Gana Sabha (Madras) in 1984; and the Palghat Mani Iyer Award from the Percussive Arts Centre (Bangladore) in 1990.
Among the highlights of his extensive performance career are concerts at the Palais Des Beaux Arts Festival in Brussels (1975), a West German Concert Tour (1986), a western Canadian tour (1987), the Commonwealth Drum Festival (1987), Expo 86, the CAL ARTS festival (1989), the Allaudhin Khan Festival in San Francisco (1990), the World Music Institute, New York (1990), and regular concert performances in Middletown, Conn, Madras, and Toronto (where, in addition to his York University performances, he has played on Music Gallery series and at the WOMAD festivals. Besides a number of recordings made in Madras, he may be heard on Laya Vinyas (New York: Music of the World, 1990, and issued as both CD and cassette). In addition to performing Karnatic music, he has both performed and composed in several multicultural ensembles, most notably World Drums, and the Evergreen Club Gamelan Ensemble. For the last-named, he has composed two works: Svaralaya (1985) and Lagu Misra (1990), both of which combine certain Indonesian musical principles with South Indian in a structure which permits improvisation. As a scholar, he is the author of The Rhythmic Principles and Practices of South Indian Drumming (rev edn in preparation in 1991) and several articles also on Karnatic rhythmic principles, eg, 'Rhythmic analysis of some selected Tiruppugazh songs' in The Journal of the Music Academy (Madras), 1989. He has also written about his experience of teaching and performing Indian music in Canada in 'Transplantation and transformation: music from India in the Canadian environment,' Ethnomusicology in Canada, ed Robert Witmer, CanMus Documents 5 (Toronto 1990).