A small town near Kaladi, Parur became a name to be reckoned with in the Carnatic Music field for its contribution of a distinct style of playing the Violin. The Parur Baani as it is known, was envisioned by Sundaram Iyer, is practiced by the family for generations.
Trained in the Carnatic style under the Gurus Ramaswami Bhagavadar and his son Narayana Bhagavadar at Trivandrum, Sundaram used to play at the local bhajanais. A benevolent listener at these events spotted his talent and arranged for him to study Hindustani Music in Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya in Bombay where he was appointed as a teacher for violin. Run by KV Paluskar’s father Pandit Bishambar Paluskar, the institute had learners who would make a very big name in the field of music like Narayan Vyas, Omkarnath and Vinayak Patwardan. Sundaram taught and learnt a great deal from here and was comfortably paid for his duties. He won a Gold medal in recognition for his excellence in Hindustani Music. With his thorough understanding of the two systems of music, he created a distinct Baani called the Parur style.
After a successful trip to Ahmedabad with Mudicondan Venkatarama Iyer, to attend the Music conference convened by Vishnu Digambar, Sundaram returned to Madras and helped in building the Tyagaraja Vidwat Samajam. He was a professor at the Madras University and trained many students. His sons MS Gopalakrishnan and MS Anantaraman are prominent violinists who have imbibed his style.His daughters played the violin too.
He performed a lot of concerts, as accompanists and solo as well as trio concerts with his sons.
He won the admiration of fellow musicians like Harikesanallur Muttiah Bhagavadar and Chembai Vaidyanata Bhagavadar, Sundaram was fond of Abdul Karim Khan saab’s music and used to organize Chamber concerts at his home where a lot of other musicians performed too.
The Parur Sri Sundaram Iyer trust was founded in his memory.
The family continues to propagate the rich tradition of violin down the generation tree. Many of them are leading performers, as well as knowledgeable lecturers in Universities.