Kanyakumari hails from Vijayanagaram, a
cultural hub in the South Indian state of
Andhrapradesh. Her tryst with the violin
began at a very early age during when she
came under the tutelage of Vijayaswara Rao
and later from M. Chandrasekharan. The
watershed in her career came in 1972, when
her musical genius was given due recognition
by the late Dr. M.L. Vasantha Kumari (MLV).
Kanyakumari went on to accompany MLV on her
concert tours for the next 19 years.
During her 1980 US tour, a Minneapolis
violin collector who was amongst the
audience, struck by her sterling
performance, presented Kanyakumari with a
violin from her collection. In 1990
Kanyakumari performed at the Tansen Utsav in
NewDelhi. The celebrated Hindustani musician
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan after hearing
Kanyakumari's concert, in a rare gesture,
draped her with the same shawl that he was
honored with on the same stage.
She has also accompanied besides MLV,
flautist Dr. N. Ramani, vocalist Dr. M.
Balamurali Krishna, Mandolin Srinivas and
mridangist T.V. Gopalakrishnan. For the past
10 years, Kanyakumari has also been
organizing concert tours in India under the
banner of Vadyalahiri: an instrumental
ensemble comprising a rare combination of
the nadaswaram, violin and the veena.
In 1988, Kanyakumari performed a rare
feat at the Padmanabhaswamy temple in
Kerala, India. She played the violin for 29
continuous hours, an unofficial world
record. Commemorating Kanyakumari's 25 years
in concerts, M.S. Subbalakshmi honored her
with the title Dhanurveena Praveena.
Kanyakumari offers free violin tuition in
Madras. Prasanna, a carnatic guitarist and
Embar Kannan are two of her students who are
already making waves in the Carnatic music
Vadyalahiri and 25 Violins are amongst
the discs that Kanyakumari has recorded.