M.S. Gopalakrishnan, aka MSG, (10 June 1931 – 3 January 2013) was a violinist in the field of Carnatic music. He was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Padma Sri, Kalaimamani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and 1997 Sangeet Natak Akademi awards, and is commonly grouped with Lalgudi Jayaraman and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music
Gopalakrishnan was born in Mylapore, Chennai, India, and was taught violin by his father, the late Parur Sundaram Iyer, (Parur is a town in Ernakulam district in Kerala, also called North Parur or North Paravoor or Vadakkan Paravoor) who was well-versed in South Indian (Carnatic) and North Indian (Hindustani) systems of Indian classical music. He learnt both systems from his father, with whom he gave his first performance when he was 8 years old.
He has played the violin for over fifty years as a soloist and accompanist, having accompanied Omkarnath Thakur and D. V. Paluskar, and has toured Australia, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, South Africa, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
His daughter, Dr M. Narmadha, is also a violinist.
Gopalakrishnan died in Chennai, India, at 2 am on January 3, 2013, at the age of 81. He was survived by his wife Meenakshi, his daughters M. Narmadha and Latha, and son Suresh
Gopalakrishnan had researched playing technique, and developed particular fingering and bowing disciplines of the “Parur style” to produce a clarity of sound and speed of delivery. His style includes one-finger playing and a thematic development on single-string octaves.
Violinist Yehudi Menuhin said of a Gopalakrishnan’s playing: “I have not heard such violin in all my travels! How superbly this young Indian is playing our instrument”. Shri Gopalakrishnan said when he was receiving his Sangita Kalanidhi award from the Music Academy of Madras “My practice is the only secret of my success and then the other secret is my father. The practice what I was used to was nearly 15-16 hours a day and that was a very tough one where I used to jump suddenly from Carnatic to Hindustani styles while playing. Anything, any Award I receive is just the fruit of my practice”.