One of the most popular mridanga vidwans in the Carnatic music circuit is left-handed K Arun Prakash, whose smiling demeanour and exemplary pakkavadya dharmam have won him many friends and admirers. A disciple of the late Ramanathapuram MN Kandaswami Pillai, Arun Prakash is a respected representative of the Palani Subramaniam school of percussion.
Born on 3 May 1968, Arun Prakash is a son of the late music composer L Krishnan. Starting lessons with his guru at the age of nine, Arun Prakash first ascended the concert stage two years later. His early debut meant that he got to accpmpany several stalwart musicians of an earlier generation, counting among them such giants as DK Pattammal, KV Narayanaswamy, TN Krishnan and Lalgudi G Jayaraman.
Arun Prakash can be unobtrusive or noticeably brilliant depending on the situation of the concert, the lyric or the performing style of the main artiste concerned. He is fond of stating that the duty of the percussionist is to enhance the listening experience in concerts. He is scrupulous in staying within the boundaries of accompaniment and following the appropriate style in the different parts of a concert—during kriti rendering, niraval and swaraprastara, according to the mood and stylistics of a song, during ragam-tanam-pallavi, and during tani avartanam. Musicality is the one constant factor of his mridangam playing at all times, and his sheer enjoyment of his art his hallmark.
Best Young Mridangist (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha), Best Mridangist (The Music Academy), Yuva Kala Bharathi (Bharat Kalachar) and the Kalki Krishnamurthy award are some of his many distinctions.
Arun Prakash is also a composer of merit who shows his reverence for traditional music through a special series of concerts he conducts under the banner of Nadamrta and programmes in memory of his father and his guru. His lecture-demonstrations are excellent guides to listeners as well as young musicians.