Fr. P.T. Chelladurai, SJ, (83/65) who passed away on 22nd April, 2019 at Dindigul was a renowned musician in Tamil Nadu. Born and brought up in a devout Catholic family, he generously embraced the call of the Master to follow him in the Society of Jesus.
He was the Director of Aikiya Geethalayam which was part of Aikiya Alayam, Chennai. He was there for a whole decade preparing to plunge into the service of Tamil music. From 1986 to 1994 he created history as a Professor in a Government Music College. Yet another milestone was that he was appointed Principal of Tamil Isai Kalloori, Chennai, from 1995-2000. He continued as its Director after his retirement.
His hard work was recognized by the Tamil Nadu Government Award for his masterpiece Thennaha Isaiyiyal (South Indian Musicology). Since its publication this book has been used as the prescribed textbook by students of South Indian music at all levels. The Splendour of South Indian Music is another important work first published in 1991 and, considering the growing demand, further editions were published with the necessary modifications.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards the most significant among them being Tamil Nadu Government’s Kalai Mamani (Best in the Arts) conferred on him on 22nd Nov. 1995 for his research in Tamil music.
Besides these honours and awards, Fr. Chelladurai’s major achievement has been the ‘Summer School of Carnatic Music.’ In spite of his ill health he managed to conduct the Summer School year after year since 1994. He has trained hundreds of seminarians and sisters to celebrate the liturgy and prayer services using Tamil Music effectively and meaningfully. He still lives in the hearts of hundreds of his students and thousands of lovers of Tamil music.
- R. Wenishraj, SJ