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Tanjore Quartet


Tanjavur district lies in Tamil Nadu.  It was the capital of the Chola Empire (300s BCG -1279 CE). Later, the Nayaks (1532-1673) and the Marathas (1674-1799) ruled it.  After 1799 it became a princely state (1799-1855) under the Paramountcy of British Raj.


Tanjavur Quartet- The four brothers- Chinniah, Ponniah, Sivanandan and Vadivelu

Guru in music- Muthuswami Dikshitar (1776-1835)

Gurus in dance- Grandfather Gangaimuthu and father Subbarayan

Chinniah, the eldest, born in 1802, served in the royal court of King Woderyar at Mysore, Karnataka and spread the art of Bharatanatyam.

Ponniah and Sivanandan, the second and third brothers, born in 1804 and 1808 respectively, served in the Maratha royal court of Tanjavur.

Vadivelu, the youngest, born in 1810, served under Swati Tirunal in Travancore royal court.


The brothers codified the performance pattern of bharatanatyam and created many compositions. Vadivelu brought the hitherto western musical instrument, violin, into the ambit of Carnatic music ensemble.