Echampati Gayathri, or Veenai Gayathri, arrived on the Carnatic music scene as a sensational child prodigy in 1968. Today she is a respected veena vidushi who also plays a challenging role as vice-chancellor of the recently inaugurated Tamil Nadu Music University.
Born on 9 November 1959 to Kamala Aswathama, a veena exponent and the late G. Aswathama, a popular film music director in the Telugu film industry, Gayathri first trained under her parents and later on learnt Carnatic music from renowned vocalist and composer T. M. Thyagarajan.
Gayathri’s exciting debut took place when she was nine—when Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Triplicane, invited her to perform in its Tyagaraja Festival. Her performance before a distinguished audience of experts was a rare success. Lauded by the elder statesman among musicologists, P. Sambamoorthy, she went on to receive innumerable awards and titles from reputed organisations in India and abroad.
Gayathri has released many audio albums of her veena music. She was appointed as Honorary Director of Tamil Nadu Government Music Colleges (in Chennai, Thiruvaiyaru, Madurai and Coimbatore) by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa in 2011, before being recently elevated to her present position.