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Saxophone pioneer Kadri Gopalnath passes away


The classical saxophonist known for popularising the instrument in the medium of Carnatic music, passed away in Mangaluru, Karnataka. 

Our Correspondent

Eminent saxophone player Kadri Gopalnath passed away in Mangaluru, Karnataka early on Friday morning. He was 69. The musician passed away after being admitted to a private hospital, suffering from a brief illness, the Deccan Herald reported. 

Born on 11 December 1950, Gopalnath turned away from the Carnatic instruments to choose the saxophone as his medium. Learning under the tutelage of N Gopalakrishna Iyer, he earned fame through his interpretation of classical Carnatic ragas through the western saxophone. 

His performances at the 1980 Bombay Jazz Festival put him on the map. His duet alongside prominent jazz saxophonist John Handy earned him quite a reputation. Soon, Gopalnath was invited to perform at several prominent music festivals like the Berlin Jazz Festival, Music Hall Festival in Paris, as well as the BBC Promenade Concert. The latter saw him become the first Carnatic musician to be invited to perform for the BBC Promenade in 1994 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. 

The year 1994 also saw him gain fame among popular audiences through K Balachander's film, Duet (1994). The soundtrack composed by AR Rahman, saw Gopalnath take prime position since the story revolved around a saxophone player. 

The composer shared his condolences on Twitter after hearing the news of Gopalnath's demise. 

Kadri Gopalnath was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004, as well as being honoured with Kendra Sangeeta Natak Akademi awards and the Karnataka Kalasri honours. 

The funeral will be held later on Friday evening.