MADRAS MUSICAL ASSOCIATION
Madras Musical Association also known as MMA was founded in 1883, at St.Andrew’s Krik Church, Egmore.
The 1st conductor of MMA was Signor Aloysio an Italian. St.Andrew’s Kirk Church , Senate House, Victoria Public Hall and Museum Theatre were the usual performing space which later had other conductors like Justice Murray Coutts-Trotter, RJC Martin and a Miss Isles. MMA was was 100% European Band. The world war II affected the band and from then they started to accept Indian musicians in the band.
During Lady Papworth as conductor Handel Manuel joined as the first Indian Member at MMA in 1939 . He was also an organist and a Choirmaster at St.Andrew’s Church. During 1945 he became the conductor of Madras Musical Association for the next 36 years. He was also the founder of Madras Philharmonic and Choral Society. Later. He became a role model and inspiration of next generation musicians.
Dr. Kalyan Sunramanyam proceeded by Handel Manuel, became the conductor of MMA during his period only Augustine Paul joined MMA as Librarian(1984). Augustine Paul became associate director later director of MMA before taking over from Dr.Grubb( former Conductor) in 1998. Today he is leading a choir of about 120 and The MMA choir has performed at the Sydney Olympics 2000, in 2009 sung for the Pope , performed at Olympics in London, 2012 & in 2016 in Vienna won a gold & a silver at the fourth Asia Pacific Games happened in Colombo.
On Every Monday evening all the choir members gather for practice and rehearsal with Piano accompaniment that haven’t changed over the last 30- 40 years.
In Delhi and Mumbai there are a number of concerts by visiting artists and choirs from abroad. But in Chennai and other cities like Bangalore, there are more concerts by local talent than by visiting ones. Chennai is a Western classical music centre in India, for sure. The MMA performs regularly most of their shows are western classically oriented.
Madras Musical Association now moved to the next level by adding a chamber orchestra. This proves that we have a bright future ahed to have our own symphony orchestra very soon. In 2017, Madras Musical Association Performed Requiem by Mozart with ninety Choir members and thirty five members of chamber orchestra. MMA collaborated with Kodaikanal international school accepting the foreigners to perform with MMA.