Born On: July 23, 1947
Born In: Chennai
Career: Music Composer, Conductor and Violinist
Dr. L Subramaniam is a musical maestro trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music. Ever since his career commenced, each piece of music that has been composed by him has been a masterpiece in itself. He is no ordinary violinist as he went on to become a revolutionary in the field, introducing new techniques and practices. As a child prodigy, he mastered the art of classical music at a very early age and is the only person who was privileged with the title "Violin Chakravarthy" (which means emperor of violin) at an early age. Subramaniam never restricted his passion only playing music but also extended it towards composing, conducting and collaborating over hundred musical pieces. His expertise does not confine to Carnatic music alone but also includes western classical, jazz, fusion, orchestral and world music. He has not only been admired by many for his music sense in India but abroad as well. Subramaniam is frequently requested by several renowned musicians around the world to play alongside him and has given several international shows.
On 23rd July 1947 L. Subramaniam was born in Chennai in a family of well-known musical artists. V Lakshminarayana his father was an iconic figure among musicians of his time. A lecturer in music, he was said to be the first to commence western classical violin in Indian, while his mother Seethalakshmi was also a well known classical singer in Chennai. Subramaniam grew up in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. With a background of talented musicians, he soon followed in their footsteps; his parents being his first gurus who imparted fundamental knowledge on music. During his early years, Subramaniam began studying music and gave his first concert at the age of six. Besides music Subramaniam also pursued medicine during his college days, he went to Madras Medical College to acquire his M.B.B.S. However, his love for medicine proved to be short lived as he went back to continue studying music. He pursued his masters in western music from California Institution of Arts. During his formative years, Subramaniam showed all signs of a being a legendary musician in the years to come.
Stage fear was something that Dr L. Subramaniam never experienced, even as a young boy when he first performed at the age of six. After he completed his masters in California, his artistic doings took shape followed by several solo and duet performances. His curiosity and unquenchable thirst for music led him to explore various techniques and new compositions in western classical music. In the year 1973 and from thereon, he made several historical collaborations and creations of albums with a number of international musicians. Some of them are Yehudi Menuhin, Stéphane Grappelli, Ruggiero Ricci, Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample, Jean-Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke and Jean-Pierre Rampal. Subramaniam's composition with many international artists and his willingness to exchange and share new views and ideas attracted him to other artists around the globe. In the consecutive years, Subramaniam established himself not only as a legendary violinist but also for his outstanding compositions in western classical music. "Spring - Rhapsody" was a reverence to Bach and Baroque music who are held in high esteem for western music. Fantasy on Vedic Chants, Turbulence, The Concert of Two Violins, and Global Symphony are some of his exceptional orchestral scores that not only became popular, but also elevated him at an international podium.
Subramaniam also wrote a few musical pieces for ballet performance to some well known dance company's such as San Jose Ballet company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Mariinsky Ballet. Besides catering to the classical musical enthusiast in the west, he has also made his presence felt in Hollywood by creating several compositions for background scores in movies and classical dance ballets. Some the movies that he has created music for are "Salaam Bombay", "Mississippi Masala", Little Buddha" and "Cotton Mary" that gained him popularity. It would not be an exaggeration to state that Subarmaniam is highly revered and well known celebrity in western classical music not just in India but also globally. He has also written a book "Euphony" that describes his musical intellectual concepts. This living legend continues to give several concerts that enthuse many listeners, leaving them spell bounded. Currently, he is the director and the initiator for Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, one of the biggest music festivals, that attracts thousands of musicians. The festival unites global musicians under a single stage.
Subramaniam tied the nuptial knot with Viji Subramaniam in 1976. However, she left for the heavenly abode on February 9, 1995. Thereafter, Subramaniam married for the second time to the renowned Indian playback singer Kavita Krishnamurtiin 1999. He has been blessed with four children, all from his first marriage, and all of whom are following his footsteps and performing many music concerts. His eldest daughter Gingger Shankar is a Los Angeles-based composer. His second daughter Bindu (formerly Seetaa) is a reputed singer/songwriter. His elder son Narayana is a surgeon who also sings, while his youngest son Ambi is a violinist who has received great acclaim.
Awards & Accolades
2009: Awarded Tantri Nada Mani by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, Kanchipuram Asthana Vidwan by ISKCON, Bangalore
2004: Viswa Kala Bharathi by Bharat Kalachar, Chennai; Sangeetha Kalaratna by Bangalore Gayana Samaja; Sangeetha Kalaa Shiromani by Percussive Arts Centre, Bangalore (2004)
2001: Won the Padma Bhushan; Manaviyam (Millennium) Award by Government of Kerala
1998: Lotus Festival Award by City of Los Angeles
1997: Special Medal of Honor by HH King Birendra of Nepal
1996: Best Composer Award/Commission by NRK P2, Norway; Sangeeta Ratna Mysore by T. Chowdaiah Memorial National Award
1995: World Music Festival at Madison Square Gardens by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, NY
1993: Nada Chakravarthy by SGS Swamiji, Trinidad; Onida Pinnacle Award for Surabhi Best title track Composer
1990: Creative Music Award by Sangeet Natak Akademi
1988: Padma Shri by Government of India
1984: Sangeeta Sagaram by Cultural Centre of Performing Arts
1972: Violin Chakravarthy by Governor of Madras; Title Orpheus of the East Kala Samarpana from Stephen Charras, Alliance Francaise, Chennai; Best Western Instrumentalist by IIT Madras
1963: Presidents Award by Best Violinist All India Radio
1947: Subramanaim was born in Chennai
1973: Created a historical recording by collaborating with a number of renowned musicians from all corners of the globe.
1983: His orchestral creation took him to newer heights in the field of western classical music
1995: His first wife Viji Subramanian passed away
1998: Won the Padma Shri
1999: Married to singer Kavita Krishnamoorthy
2001: Was honored with Padma Bhushan
2003: Felicitated with an honorary Doctorate Degree from Bangalore University.