A thavil exponent, Palanivel, born in 1948, first learnt under the tutelage of his father S Kumaravel. From 1959, he was given extensive training from T.G. Muthukumara Swamy Pillai. He has performed widely in India and abroad accompanying senior artists and participating in ensembles of instrumental music and dance. In 2001 he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
For his outstanding contribution, he has been variously honoured by Sabhas and institutions which include the Kalaimamani Award of the Government of Tamil Nadu. His awards include Nava Nandeeswara Nadhaperoli; Thavil Isai Thilakam, Thavil Chakravarthi; Kalaimamani.
He toured many countries like US, Canada, Italy, Paris, Switzerland, West Germany, Geneva, Japan, and so on. Palanivel has accompanied apart from Nadaswaram, other classical instruments like flute, clarionet, mandolin and saxophone.