Dr. Kadri Gopalnath was born in 1949 in the city of Mangalore. He is an Indian saxophonist and one of the pioneers of Carnatic music played on the saxophone. As a child, Gopalnath got attracted to the saxophone when he saw it being played in the Mysore palace band set. Later he took it seriously, His guru was Gopalkrishna Iyer of Kalaniketana from Mangalore. In Madras, Gopalnath came in contact with the mridangist T.V. Gopalkrishnan, who identified the youngster’s potential and tutored him, It took him nearly 20 years to conquer the complex western wind instrument.
He made certain modifications to the conventional alto saxophone to play Carnatic music. This adaption was proved successful. His first performance was for the Chembai Memorial Trust. The 1980 Bombay Jazz Festival was a turning point in his life. He has participated in 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, and has traveled all over the world.
He has recorded a number of cassettes and CDs. Together with jazz flautist James Newton, he recorded Southern Brothers. His production called ‘East-West’is an audio-video presentation which is a fusion of Western and Indian music. This album took 6 months to produce and has compositions from Beethoven and saint tyagaraja.
Awards & Recognitions
- Ganakala Shree
- Nadapasana Brahma
- Sunada Prakashika
- Nada Kalarathna
- Nada Kalanidhi
- Sangeetha Vadya Rathna
- Karnataka Kalashree in 1996
- Vocational Excellency Award from the Rotary of Madras
- The Asthana Vidwan of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pettam
- Sri Sringeri Sharadha Peetam
- He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2004
- Sri Ahobila Mutt and Sri Pillayapatti Temple
- He received an honorary doctorate from Bangalore University in 2004
- The Sangeetha Kalasikhamani award for the year 2013 by The Indian Fine arts Society, Chennai
- He was invited in the BBC Promenade concert in 1994, in the Royal Albert Hall at London
- Tamil Nadu State Award “Kalaimamani” and Karnataka Rajyotsava Award in 1998
- The 2008 album Blue Rhizome by the New Quartet features a tribute to the saxophonist called “Gopalnath” (composed by Karl E. H. Seigfried).