The prestigious Wesleyan University of Middletown, CT, is among many attributes known for its superior international music study program. Students can count on an international staff of instructors among whom are virtually always at least a few top-ranking virtuosos from the field of Indian classical music. This clay drummer was the groundbreaking instructor in the college's international music program, becoming the first of what would be many visiting artists at Wesleyan in 1963.
Ranganathan comes from one of the most famous and talented musical families in India. His brother, T. Viswanathan, is one of the most respected of the South Indian classical flautists, and their sister, Balasaraswati, is the famous classical dancer known as Bala. In 1972, world-famous Indian film director Satjayit Ray created the documentary film Bala based on her life and career, featuring both brothers on screen and soundtrack. Although each member of the family has had solo careers in their own right, the three worked together regularly in the sister's dance troupe. The brothers also have worked together as instrumentalists on various Indian classical music performances and recordings, including the well-received 1973 Nonesuch album Pallavi: South Indian Flute Music.
On his own, Ranganathan has accompanied vocalists such as Tanjore Brinde and Ramnad Krishnan as well as instrumentalists such as violinist Tanjore Brinde. Ranganathan studied under the master mridangam player Palani Subramani Pillai, and a great part of his playing style is derived from this teacher. Following his time at Wesleyan, he began teaching at the California Institute of the Arts. ~ Eugene Chadbourne