L Subramaniam

L. Subramaniam, India’s violin icon, “The Paganini of Indian Classical music”, “the God of Indian Violin” is the serenity of an Indian musician combined with the magnetism of a western star.

Till date, Dr. Subramaniam has produced, performed, collaborated, conducted and close to two hundred recordings.

Dr. L. Subramaniam is the only musician who has performed and recorded South Indian Classical Music, Western Classical Music, both Orchestral and non-Orchestral, and also composed for and conducted major orchestras, scored for films, collaborated with a wide range of some of the greatest musicians, from different genres of music including jazz, occidental, jugalbandis with North Indian musicians, world music and global fusion. He has established himself as a force that is strongly Indian, but universal in nature and approach.

His insatiable musical curiosity has taken him to various forms of music (he has composed for several western classical orchestras and ballets) and new experiences (he was a musical advisor to Peter Brook about the sound concepts for his “Mahabharata”). He has composed music for a select few films, including “Salaam Bombay” and “Mississippi Masala” and was the featured soloist for Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Little Buddha” and “Cotton Mary” of Merchant – Ivory Productions. His technical mastery finds its truest experience in Carnatic music, the tradition he has inherited from his Father and Guru, Professor V. Lakshminarayana. Dr. L. Subramaniam’s parents Prof. V. Lakshminaryana and V. Seethalakshmi were the driving force behind their son and the reason he chose a life in music.

Passionate about music, Subramaniam was also dedicated to science. He studied medicine, finishing his MBBS at Madras Medical College and registered as a General Practitioner. Subsequently he did his Master’s Degree in Western Classical Music in California and he finally decided to dedicate his life to music. From then on, his artistic activity was to spread in many directions. .

Attracted by his unusual musical phrasing, several western musicians wanted to play with him. He willingly lent himself to these exchanges. In this atmosphere of live exchanges, the musical differences and similarities became obvious to him and from then on they organised themselves brilliantly. Since 1973, Subramaniam has made collaborations and recordings with people like Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli, Stevie Wonder, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Ruggiero Ricci, Arve Tellefsen, Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Al Jarreau, Jean Luc Ponty, Earl Klugh, Larry Coryell, Corky Siegel, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Maynard Ferguson and Ravi Coltrane.

He has also established himself as the foremost Indian composer in the realm of orchestral composition. “The Double Concerto for violin and flute” combines western scales and micro intervals. “Spring – Rhapsody” is a homage to Bach and Baroque music. Over the years he has written and created works for the world’s greatest orchestras The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta (“Fantasy on Vedic Chants”), the Swiss Romande Orchestra (“Turbulence”); The Kirov Ballet (“Shanti Priya”) The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (“The Concerto for Two Violins”) and the The Berlin Opera (Global Symphony). His latest orchestral composition is entitled ‘Astral Symphony’ for full symphony orchestra and soloists from different musical traditions.

His compositions have also been used in various stage presentations by leading ballet companies, including the Cleveland San Jose Ballet Company and the Alvin Ailey Company. To increase understanding of the concepts of South Indian Classical Music, he has released a four-CD set, called “An Anthology of South Indian Music” and written an authoritative book “Euphony”, which was co-authored with his late wife Vijayashree Subramaniam.

He has received several awards and honours, including the Padma Bhushan and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for “The Most Creative Artist” from the President of India. He has been awarded the “Nada Chakravarti” (Emperor of Sound) from H.H Sri Ganapati Sachchidananda Swami-ji. In recognition of his contribution to the World of Music, he has been conferred with Honorary Doctorates (D Litt.) by Bangalore University, University of Madras and Sheffield University.

His album titled ‘Global Fusion’ was a critically acclaimed milestone and features artists from five continents including one of the most popular and successful singers in the film industry, Kavita Krishnamurti (whom Dr. Subramaniam married in November 1999), and his daughter Bindu Subramaniam.

This living legend's concerts are truly marvelous landmarks, which are a real inspiration to the audience. The album, “Conversations” and his orchestral composition “Fantasy on Vedic Chants” have become milestones and serves as a reference and guide for any composer exploring the concept of fusion.

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