Lalgudi Jayaraman

Last updated

Lalgudi Jayaraman
Lalgudi Jayaraman.jpg
Background information
Born(1930-09-17)17 September 1930
Edayathumangalam, Trichinopoly District (now a part of Lalgudi taluk, Tiruchirappalli district), British India [1]
Died22 April 2013(2013-04-22) (aged 82)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Genres Indian classical music
Occupation(s)Violinist, composer,
InstrumentsViolin, percussion, synthesizers
Years active1942–2013

Lalgudi Gopala Iyer Jayaraman (17 September 1930 – 22 April 2013) was an Indian Carnatic violinist, vocalist and composer. He is commonly grouped with M.S. Gopalakrishnan and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music. He was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2001.


His disciples included his two children Lalgudi G. J. R. Krishnan, Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, his sister Lalgudi Srimathi Brahmanandam, renowned musician S P Ramh (grandson of Shri. G.N. Dandapani Iyer), renowned Harikatha exponent Vishaka Hari, leading carnatic vocalist Saketharaman, Vittal Ramamurthy, Dr. N. Shashidhar, Film Music Composer Girishh G, Padma Shankar, Kanchan Chandran, Raghuram Hosahalli, Srinivasamurthy, Pakkala Ramdas, Sankari Krishnan, Yamini Ramesh, Mumbai Shilpa, Shreya Devnath, Krithika Natarajan, Salem Sisters, Arushi Ramesh, the leading Vainika Srikanth Chary and the Academy Award-nominated Bombay Jayashri Ramnath.

Early life and background

Born in the lineage of a disciple of the musician Thyagaraja, Lalgudi Jayaraman inherited the essence of Carnatic music from his father, V. R. Gopala Iyer, who trained him. Gopala Iyer, a martinet, enforced traits of intense focus and discipline in the young Jayaraman through rigorous lessons. Though a harsh father and guru, Gopala Iyer would not allow the young Jayaraman to even sharpen pencils, believing that his tender fingers were too precious. [2]


At the age of 12, he started his musical career as an accompanying violinist to Carnatic musicians before rising as a prominent soloist. [3] [4]

He expanded the style of violin playing by inventing a new technique that is designed to suit the needs of Indian Classical Music and establishing a unique style that came to be known as Lalgudi Bani. Jayaraman composed several 'kritis', 'tillanas' and 'varnams' and dance compositions, which are a blend of raga, bhava, rhythm and lyrical beauty. Lalgudi's instrumental talent comes to the fore in the form of lyrical excellence. He brought vocal style into violin, and his renditions exhibit knowledge of lyrical content of the compositions. [5] [6] [7] Lalgudi actively and scientifically learned to self-critique his performances and dutifully wrote detailed reviews after each concert, a habit encouraged by his father and guru. [2] He was loath to experiment on stage in his solo concerts and almost always planned to the last detail, leading a certain critic to tout them as being intellectual rather than emotional in spirit, but Lalgudi's spontaneity and innate musical genius were often seen when he accompanied leading vocalists. [2]

He was always in great demand for accompanying vocalists, and has accompanied vocal virtuosos including Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, M. D. Ramanathan, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, G. N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, Alathur brothers, Voleti Venkateswarulu, Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, K. V. Narayanaswamy, Maharajapuram Santhanam, D. K. Jayaraman, M.Balamuralikrishna, T. V. Sankaranarayanan, T. N. Seshagopalan and flute maestro N. Ramani. He was forbidden from accompanying female artistes by his father, a promise that he kept. [8] He has given concerts extensively in India as well as abroad. The Government of India sent him to Russia as a member of the Indian Cultural Delegation.

He was the first to bring international attention to the Carnatic style of violin playing. He also introduced a new concept of musical ensemble with violin, venu (flute) and veena in 1966.

After inviting him to play the Edinburgh Festival in 1965, Yehudi Menuhin, the renowned violinist, impressed by Lalgudi's technique and performance, presented him with his Italian violin. Lalgudi presented Menuhin with an ivory dancing Nataraja when Menuhin visited India. [9]

He has also performed in Singapore, Malaysia, Manila and East European countries. His recordings submitted to the International Music Council, Baghdad, Asian Pacific Music Rostrum and Iraq Broadcasting Agency by AIR New Delhi have been adjudged as the best and accorded the first position out of 77 entries received from the various countries during 1979. He was invited to give concerts at Cologne, Belgium and France. The Government of India chose him to represent India at the Festival of India in USA, London and he gave solo and 'Jugalbandi' concerts in London and also in Germany and Italy that received rave reviews. Sri Lalgudi went on a tour in the year 1984 to Oman, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, which was highly successful. He composed the lyrics and music for the operatic ballet Jaya Jaya Devi, which premiered in 1994 at Cleveland, Ohio (US) and was staged in many other cities in the United States. In October 1999, Lalgudi performed in the UK under the auspices of Sruthi Laya Sangham (Institute of fine arts). After the concert, a dance drama Pancheswaram, composed by Lalgudi, was staged. [10]

His biography, An Incurable Romantic, by Lakshmi Devnath, was released posthumously in 2013. It contains a foreword by sitarist Ravi Shankar, and charts his 70 years in the music industry. [11]


Pratibha Devisingh Patil presenting the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship-2009 to Shri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman for his outstanding contribution to Carnatic music Pratibha Devisingh Patil presenting the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship-2009 to Shri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman for his outstanding contribution to Carnatic music.jpg
Pratibha Devisingh Patil presenting the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship-2009 to Shri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman for his outstanding contribution to Carnatic music

Jayaraman earned several titles, such as 'Nada Vidya Tilaka' by Music Lovers’ Association of Lalgudi in 1963, 'Padma Shri' by the Government of India in 1972, 'Nada Vidya Rathnakara' by East West Exchange in New York, 'Vadya Sangeetha Kalaratna' by Bharathi Society, New York; 'Sangeetha Choodamani' by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai in 1971; State Vidwan of Tamil Nadu by the Government of Tamil Nadu and Sangeetha Natak Academy award in 1979 etc. The First Chowdaiah Memorial National-Level award was given to Sri Jayaraman by the Chief Minister of Karnataka. He also received honorary citizenship of Maryland, US in 1994 and the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2001. [12] He won the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Sringaram in 2006. In 2010, Jayaraman became a fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. [13]

Personal life

Lalgudi Jayaraman was married to Smt Rajalakshmi and had two children: his son G.J.R.Krishnan and his daughter Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. Both follow the footsteps of their father and are famous in their own right. He had three sisters Padmavathy, a vainika, Rajalakshmi and Srimathi, both violinists. Srimathi learned violin from him as well. The renowned veena player Jayanthi Kumaresh is his sister Smt Rajalakshmi's daughter.

Jayaraman died on 22 April 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his home in Chennai. He is survived by his son and daughter. [14] [15]


Most famous for his thillanas and varnams, Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman is considered one of the most prolific composers of modern times. His compositions span four languages (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit), as well as a whole range of ragas not conventionally used for varnams or thillanas. Characteristic of his style, the melody of his compositions camouflages subtle rhythmic intricacies. His compositions are very popular with Bharathanatyam dancers, even as they have become a standard highlight of every leading Carnatic musician's repertoire. His compositions include:


Chalamu séyanéla Valaji Telugu
Parama karuna Garudadhvani Telugu
Neevé gatiyaniNalinakanthi Telugu
NeevégaaniMandari Telugu
Vallabhai nayaka Mohanakalyani Tamil
Devi un paadamé Devagandhari Tamil
Thirumal Maruga   Andolika Tamil
Unnai yandri Kalyani Tamil
Ento Premato Bahudari Telugu
Tarunam En TayeSaama Tamil
Jalajaksha Ni Padame Asaveri Telugu
Inta TamasamelaKanada Telugu
Arunodayame Anbin Vadivame Bowli Tamil
Nambum AnbarkkarulumVaramu Tamil
NadaswaroopiniNeelambari Telugu
Engum Nirai DaivameHamsavinodini Tamil

Pada Varnams

Innam En Manam Charukesi Tamil
Senthil Nagar MevumNeelambari Tamil
Devar Munivar Tozhum    Shanmukhapriya Tamil
Angayarkanni Anandam KondaleRagamalika (Navarasa pada varnam)

Ragas: Bilahari, Huseni, Valaji,

Saranga, Sucharitra, Athana, Rasikapriya, Sahana, Nadanamakriya



Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman also tuned the Swathi Thirunal thillana 'Gitu Dhunika Taka Dhim' in Raga Dhanashree and set the compositions in its current form, which then went on to become hugely popular


Vinayakunnadeva Dharmavati Telugu
Kandan Seyalandro Nattakurinji Tamil
Ten Madurai VazhHamsaroopiniTamil
Kumara Guruguham Shanmukhapriya Sanskrit
Nee Dayai SeyyavidilBegadaTamil
Sri Jagadeeswari Durga [16] Ahir BhairavSanskrit

Apart from these compositions, Sri Lalgudi jayaraman has composed jathiswarams and swarajathis as well. The jathiswaram in Rasikapriya raga is popular among Bharatanatyam dancers. He has also composed a unique swarajathi which demonstrates the concept of Grahabhedam, using ragas Sindhu Bhairavi, Chenchurutti, Mohanakalyani, Behag and Tilang. He was a much sought after tunesmith who set tunes to numerous songs and compositions including several krithis of Ambujam Krishna.

Related Research Articles

M. Balamuralikrishna

Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna was an Indian Carnatic vocalist, musician, multi-instrumentalist, playback singer, composer, and character actor. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1978. He has garnered two National Film Awards, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1975, the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian honor in 1991, for his contribution towards arts, the Mahatma Gandhi Silver Medal from UNESCO in 1995, the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 2005, the Sangeetha Kalanidhi by Madras Music Academy, and the Sangeetha Kalasikhamani in 1991, by the Fine Arts Society, Chennai to name a few.

L. Subramaniam Indian musician

Lakshminarayana Subramaniam 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.

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer

Semmangudi Radhakrishna Srinivasa Iyer was an Indian Carnatic vocalist. He, along with his contemporaries G.N. Balasubramaniam and Madurai Mani Iyer, are referred to as the 20th century male trinity of Carnatic music. He was the youngest recipient of the Sangeetha Kalanidhi awarded by the Music Academy in 1947 and has received many awards including Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India, Sangeet Natak Academy award (1953), Isai Perarignar from Government of Tamil Nadu and Kalidas Samman from Government of Madhya Pradesh. He was affectionately addressed as "Semmangudi Maama" by his disciples. He was also considered the "Pitamaha" or the grand sire of modern Carnatic Music. He was conferred with an honorary doctorate by University of Kerala in 1979.


Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar a.k.a. Vaidyanatha Iyer was a Carnatic music singer from Palakkad. Known by his village name Chembai, or simply as Bhagavatar, he was born to Anantha Bhagavatar and Parvati Ammal in 1896, into a Tamil Brahmin family in Perakkool Madom, adjacent to Lokanarkavu near Vatakara on Janmashtami day. He lived here until he was five years old. The family later shifted to Palakkad. Chembai was noted for his powerful voice and majestic style of singing. His first public performance was in 1904, when he was nine. A recipient of several titles and honours, he was known for his encouragement of upcoming musicians and ability to spot new talent. He was responsible for popularising compositions like Rakshamam Saranagatam and Pavana Guru, among others. The music critic 'Aeolus' described him as "the musician who has meant the most to Carnatic Music in the first fifty years of the 20th century." His prominent disciples include Chembai Narayana Bhagavathar, Mangu Thampuran, Guruvayur Ponnammal, T. V. Gopalakrishnan, V. V. Subramaniam, P. Leela, K. G. Jayan, K. G. Vijayan, K. J. Yesudas, Kudumaru Venkataraman and Babu Parameswaran, among others. He also mentored many young accompanists, including Palghat Mani Iyer, Lalgudi Jayaraman, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, T. N. Krishnan, Palani Subramaniam Pillai and L. Subramaniam. Memorial music festivals have been held in his honour annually since his death in 1974, the most important being the annually celebrated Chembai Sangeetholsavam.

Palghat Kollengode Viswanathan Narayanaswamy, often referred to as K. V. Narayanaswamy was an Indian musician, widely considered to be among the finest Carnatic music vocalists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1986. He was described as the "Perfect Knight" of Carnatic music, a phrase from Geoffrey Chaucer, by V. K. Narayana Menon, art critic of India and recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.

Maharajapuram Santhanam, was one of the greatest Carnatic music vocalists of the 20th century. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1989. He was born in Sirunangur, a village in the state of Tamil Nadu. He followed the footsteps of his father Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer who was also a Carnatic singer.

M. S. Gopalakrishnan

M.S. Gopalakrishnan, a.k.a. MSG, was a violinist in the field of Carnatic music. He is commonly grouped with Lalgudi Jayaraman and T.N.Krishnan as part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic Music. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1997. He was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri, Kalaimamani, Sangeetha Kalanidhi and Sangeet Natak Akademi awards.

T. N. Krishnan Indian musician

Trippunithura Narayanaiyer Krishnan was an Indian Carnatic music violinist. Along with Lalgudi Jayaraman and M. S. Gopalakrishnan he was considered part of the violin-trinity of Carnatic music. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1980. He was also the recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian honour, in 1992, and earlier, the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 1973.

G. J. R. Krishnan

Lalgudi Gopala Iyer Jayaraman Radhakrishnan, popularly known as G. J. R. Krishnan or Lalgudi Krishnan, is a Carnatic violinist, vocalist and composer. He is the son and disciple of the legendary maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman. Over the years, Krishnan has nurtured and propagated the legacy of the Lalgudi Bani, while also blending his own artistic elements. His style is defined by technique, bhava, laya, and a philosophical adherence to the notion that the violin must closely mimic the human voice.

N. Rajam Indian musician

N. Rajam is an Indian violinist who performs Hindustani classical music. She remained professor of Music at Banaras Hindu University, eventually became head of the department and the dean of the Faculty of Performing Arts of the University.

Chingleput Ranganathan was a classical Carnatic vocalist and Guru.

Sindhu Bhairavi (raga)

Sindhu Bhairavi is a raga in Hindustani and Carnatic classical music, belonging to the Asavari thaat. In Carnatic music it is a Janya raga of the 8th melakartha raga Hanumatodi.

T. K. Murthy

Thanu Krishna Murthy, better known as T. K. Murthy, is an Indian mridangam player. A Padma Shri awardee.

Nagai Muralidharan is a Carnatic violinist from India. He was awarded Kalaimamani by the State Government of Tamil Nadu in 2003.

The Rudrapatnam Brothers are an Indian Carnatic vocal duo, consisting of brothers R. N. Thyagarajan and Dr. R. N. Tharanathan. The brothers come from a family of musicians from Rudrapatna village off the Kaveri banks in Arkalgud Thaluk of Hassan district in the southwest Indian state of Karnataka. Vocalist Tiger Varadachariar, on seeing the musical atmosphere there, once claimed that "Rudrapatnam is the Thanjavur of Karnataka". Music, Veda adhyayana, and studying Sanskrit were integral parts of their family tradition.

Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavathar (1912–2004) was a Carnatic musician, musicologist, Harikatha exponent and composer.

Vellore G. Ramabhadran

Vellore G. Ramabhadran was a Mridangam artiste from Tamil Nadu, India. He was awarded the Madras Music Academy's Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 2004.

Padmavathy Ananthagopalan is a classical musician and veena maestro from India, in the Carnatic Music genre. She also plays the mridangam and the nagaswaram. She has seven decades of experience in playing the veena. She hails from a family of accomplished musicians that include maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman and her ancestors are direct disciples of Saint Thyagaraja.

O. S. Thyagarajan

O. S. Thiagarajan is a Carnatic Musician based in Chennai. He is the son and disciple of Sangeetha Booshanam O.V.Subrahmanyam. He learnt music from Sangeetha Kalanidhi T. M. Thiagarajan, while Padmabhushan Lalgudi Jayaraman provided guidance/mentorship early in his career. An ‘A-Top’ graded artist of the All India Radio and of Doordarshan, he has been giving a large number of concerts, and is considered one of the eminent artists of his generation. He is regularly featured by all leading sabhas in Chennai as well as throughout India and has been accompanied by top accompanists such as Lalgudi Shri.G.Jayaraman, M.S. Gopalakrishnan, V.V. Subrahmanyam on violin, Palghat Mani Iyer, Dr T.K.Murthy, Palghat Raghu, Karaikudi Mani, Trichy Sankaran, Umayalpuram Sivaraman on mridanagm, Shri.G Harishankar on Kanjira and Vikku Vinayakaram on Ghatam. He has toured many countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Middle East, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and many cities in Europe. He worked as Dean and Faculty of Fine Arts at Annamalai University for 5 years. He has trained many disciples who are active on the concert circuit.

Lalgudi Rajalakshmi is a violinist in the Indian classical Carnatic style of music. She performs the violin in the Lalgudi tradition.


  1. "Lalgudi G. Jayaraman". Sangeet Natak . Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 "Lalgudi: a true love story".
  3. "Music". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  4. "Tamil Nadu / Chennai News : Lalgudi Jayaraman's varnams for posterity too, thanks to DVD release". The Hindu . 16 March 2009. Archived from the original on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  5. "Award for Lalgudi Jayaraman". The Hindu. 15 January 2008. ISSN   0971-751X . Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  6. "Carnatica honours Lalgudi G. Jayaraman". The Hindu. 11 November 2008. ISSN   0971-751X . Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  7. "Honour for Lalgudi Jayaraman". The Hindu. 1 April 2006. ISSN   0971-751X . Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  8. "Lalgudi Days". Archived from the original on 5 December 2014.
  9. Ashok Roy. (2004) Music Makers: Living Legends of Indian Classical Music. Rupa Publications
  10. Priyamvada, Arita (2007). Encyclopaedia of Indian music. Anmol
  11. "Life of Lalgudi Jayaraman chronicled" . Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  12. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  13. "Declaration of Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowships (Akademi Ratna) and Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the year 2009" (Press release). Ministry of Culture. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  14. "Lalgudi Jayaraman passes away". The Hindu (Press release). 22 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  15. "Carnatic violinist-composer Lalgudi G Jayaraman passes away in Chennai". The Times of India . 22 April 2013. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  16. "Sri Jagadeeswari Durga".