Profile - Mudicondan Venkatrama Iyer
Venkatarama Iyer, who was born on 15 October 1887, was a musician's musician whose mastery encompassed both the lakshana (canonical) and lakshya (aesthetic) aspects of Carnatic classical music. Specifically, he was considered an authority on alapana presentation and tanamand pallavi-singing. He was for many years one of the major draws at the morning sessions of the annual conference of the Madras Music Academy at which experts— mostly real experts in those days— delivered illuminating talks or erudite lecture-demonstrations and discusssed raga lakshana-s. His contributions to enlightenment in these areas eventually earned for him the Academy's Sangeeta Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer Kalanidhi title which goes with the honour of presiding over the annual conference. The journey to the top honour seems to have begun at his birth, for both his parents were musically gifted. His father Chakrapani Iyer was noted for his singing of raga-s and Tevaram-s which are the hymns in Tamil in praise of the divine composed by the saints of the bhakti tradition. In fact, his maternal grandfather Srivanchiyam Swaminatha Iyer was also noted for his singing ability; he specialised in singing pada-s and javali-s with a lilt of his own, which led his listeners to identify him as Talukku [Glitter] Swaminatha Iyer.
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