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|Birth name||Subramaniam Lakshminarayana|
|Born||23 July 1947|
Madras, Madras Presidency, British India
(now Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)
|Genres||Classical, Carnatic, jazz fusion, Indo jazz, world fusion, Western music|
|Occupation(s)||Violinist, composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, record producer, pedagogue|
|Instruments||Violin, percussion, synthesizers, vocals|
Lakshminarayana Subramaniam (born 23 July 1947) is an Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music, and renowned for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions in orchestral fusion.
Subramaniam was born to V. Lakshminarayana Iyer and Seethalakshmi, both accomplished musicians.
He lived in Jaffna during his younger years, taking up music studies before the age of five.He began training in violin under the tutelage of his father, Professor V. Lakshminarayana. "Mani", as he is fondly known by fellow musicians and his family, gave his first public performance at the age of six.
His uncles include Ramnad Raghavan and Ramnad Krishnan.His brothers are also acclaimed musicians, and include the violinist-composers L. Shankar (alias. Shenkar), and the late L. Vaidyanathan. He has released recordings with both.
Subramaniam developed a passion for music as well as science from a young age, studying Medicine and acquiring his M.B.B.S. at Madras Medical College. He registered as a General Practitioner, before deciding to pursue music full-time.He has a Master's degree in Western classical music, which he acquired at the California Institute of the Arts.
Since 1973, Subramaniam has amassed over 200 recordings to his credit, releasing several solo albums, recording collaborations with musicians Yehudi Menuhin, Stéphane Grappelli, Ruggiero Ricci and Jean-Pierre Rampal, further to making albums and performing with Ruggiero Ricci, Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke John Handy, George Harrisonand several others.
He has accompanied highly regarded vocalists in Carnatic music on stage including Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, K. V. Narayaswamy, Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M. Balamuralikrishna and M. D. Ramanathan. He has also performed many concerts with the venerable Palghat Mani Iyer on the Mridangam, in addition to collaborating with musicians of North Indian Hindustani music and artists of other music systems.
Subramaniam has written works for orchestras, ballets and Hollywood film scores, and written books on music – such as Euphony – in addition to composing symphonies and Carnatic pieces.
In 1983, he composed a Double Concerto for violin and flute which combined western scales with micro intervals. Another release, Spring – Rhapsody, was a homage to Bach and Baroque music. Creations with orchestras that have followed include Fantasy on Vedic Chants with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Djemal Dalgat, Turbulence with The Swiss Romande Orchestra, "The Concert of Two Violins" with the Oslo Philharmonic, and Global Symphony with the Berlin State Opera (broadcast live to 28 nations) among others. He has also performed a concert tour of China, with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra in Beijing.
His compositions have been used in stage presentations of leading dance companies such as the San Jose Ballet company and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Subramaniam composed the piece "Shanti Priya" for the Mariinsky Ballet.
The release of his albums, including Global Fusion in 1999 have brought Subramaniam widespread critical acclaim, and popularity for his advanced playing. He founded and directs the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, a festival based in India. In 2004, he completed a world tour with the festival, including concerts in the US (Lincoln Center, New York), the Asian Pacific region including in Perth, Australia, at the Esplanade, Singapore, the Sri Dewan Penang Hall in Penang and the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Performing with Subramaniam at the festival in January 2005 were violin maestro Arve Tellefsen, the Oslo Camerata, jazz legends Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Al Jarreau, Earl Klugh and Ravi Coltrane.
In September 2007, Subramaniam premiered and played "The Freedom Symphony" with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Warrenton Chorale and Carnatic percussionists, which led to a strongly favourable ovation and an encore piece "Flight of the Humble Bee". Subramaniam is on the advisory board of composer A. R. Rahman's KM Music Conservatory in Kodambakkam, Chennai.
In 2011, he was invited to perform at the United Nations. On 24 October 2012, he performed as a Special Guest Artist with Stevie Wonder at the latter's message of peace concert at the UN. Yehudi Menuhin said of Subramaniam:
I find nothing more inspiring than the music making of my very great colleague Subramaniam. Each time I listen to him, I am carried away in wonderment."
When asked about his musical accomplishments, Subramaniam has always said,
Music is a vast ocean and no one can claim to know it all. The more you know, the more you realise how little you know. It is an eternal quest.
He composed the film scores for the films Salaam Bombay (1988) and Mississippi Masala (1991) directed by Mira Nair, in addition to being the featured violin soloist in Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha (1993) and Cotton Mary (1999) of Merchant-Ivory productions.
He started the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival in 1992, to honour the memory of his father Professor V. Lakshminarayana, who died in 1990.Artists have included the Subramaniam family, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Solo Cissokho, Miya Masaoka, Mark O'Connor, Loyko, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Larry Coryell, Arve Tellefsen, Pandit Jasraj, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Corky Siegel.
The festival has centred around special concepts such as Violins for Peace, Visions of India and Sounds of India.
In 2007, the Subramaniam Foundation, a charity run by Subramaniam and his wife set up a music school called the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts (SAPA), in Bangalore, India.
Subramaniam was married to Viji (Vijayashree Shankar) Subramaniam, who died on 9 February 1995 and since November 1999 has been married to the Indian playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthy. He has four children with Viji — Gingger Shankar, Bindu Subramaniam, Dr. Narayana Subramaniam, and Ambi Subramaniam.
He continues to perform pieces with his daughter singer/songwriter Bindu Subramaniam,violin duets with his son, Ambi Subramaniam, ” and has further recorded and given several concerts with Krishnamurthy. Their collaborations have earned them the nickname Subramaniam Gharana. He also performs with his eldest son Dr. Narayana Subramaniam.
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