members of the group have interacted with musicians, groups and
scholars from India and abroad. Such musical encounters in the form
of workshops, concerts and sessions have given the group rich
experience and knowledge on various aspects of music and
performance. Following is a list of such interactions:
a) John Kaizan Neptune: Neptune is an American born "Shakuhachi"
(Japanese bamboo flute) player and composer who resides in Japan. In
the mid eighties and early nineties V.S. Narasimhan was involved in
two of John Neptune's albums.
Narasimhan was invited by John to participate in the recording of
his album 'The Circle' which was recorded at Nippon Colombia Studios
in Tokyo, July / August 1985.
The second album which was called 'The River Rhythm' was an
exploratory album which was conceived as a Japanese musician's
musical attempts to integrate Carnatic music along with Jazz and the
Japanese music. This album was recorded in Madras in 1993.
b) Pandit Ravi Shankar and Phillip Glass: Members of the quartet had
an opportunity to play in the album called "Passage" (1989) which
was another interesting exploratory attempt by the Indian Sitar
maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and the great American Minimalist
composer Phillip Glass.The members also took part in the album
called "Vedic Chants" (1997) produced by the "Beatles Fame" George
Harrison and composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar.
c) Karaikudi Mani and The Srutilaya: Karaikudi Mani is one of the
leading exponents in Mridangam (South Indian barrel drum). His
Institution called "Srutilaya" has many schools teaching Carnatic
music in India, Australia and U.K. & Germany. Besides playing and
teaching Karaikudi Mani in association with V.S. Narasimhan and
other musicians have made some remarkable innovative ways of playing
Carnatic music. One such early attempt was an album called "Melodyssey"
This was followed by yet another project called 'Purcell to Pallavi'
which was conceived by Karaikudi R. Mani, assisted by Narasimhan,
featured pieces based on Carnatic ragas with improvisatory passages
for both Western & Indian musicians of Britain, was performed in
London in 1995.
from these musical experiments, the group has given concerts
featuring only compositions from the Western Classical repertoire.
(Refer to the complete list of concerts by the Madras String Quartet
and the press reviews of the concerts).
The Western Classical music tradition unlike the Indian classical
music has underwent systematic changes both in its content and in
its context. Intimated and reflected the changing social values and
ideas along with other art forms like theatre, painting and poetry.
From the spiritual barouqueness of Bach to the classicism of Haydn
and Mozart to the celebration of the individual spirit of Beethoven
to more darker and political undertones of Wagner to tragedies of
Puccini and experimentation with atonality of Schnoenberg, etc. the
Western music has gamut of compositions which touches every aspects
of music, namely the form content and the context of music.
MSQ play compositions of many composers form the Baroque to the
Modern era. However, they have specialized in the music of the 18th
and 19th Centuries particularly the music of Haydn, Mozart,
Beethoven and Schubert. Also included are the works of other modern
masters such as Dvorak, Borodin and Debussy.