Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam (born on 23 July 1947) is an acclaimed 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 Hindu Brahmin V Lakshminarayana, 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 brothers are also acclaimed musicians, and include the well-known 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 historic 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 Harrison and several others.
He has accompanied highly regarded vocalists in Carnatic music on stage including Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, K. V. Narayaswamy, Dr. 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 New York Philharmonic, conducted by Zubin Mehta, 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 UN.
On October 24, 2012, he performed as a Special Guest Artist with Stevie Wonder at the latter's message of peace concert at the UN.
Awards and recognition
Lifetime Achievement Award, Limca Book of Records (2012)
GiMA (Best Carnatic Instrumental Album – Innovations), Global Indian Music Academy (2012)
Uttam Vag Geykar Jialal Vasant Award, Ajivasan (2011)
Big Star IMA Award (Best Classical Instrumental Album – Violin Maestros), Indian Music Academy (2011)
GiMA (Best Carnatic Instrumental Album – Violin Maestros), Global Indian Music Academy (2010)
GiMA (Best Fusion Album – Live at Neues Gewandhaus, Leipzig), Global Indian Music Academy (2010)
Tantri Nada Mani, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Kanchipuram (2009)
Asthana Vidwan, ISKCON, Bangalore (2009)
Viswa Kala Bharathi Bharat Kalachar, Chennai (2004)
Sangeetha Kalaratna, Bangalore Gayana Samaja (2004)
Sangeetha Kalaa Shiromani, Percussive Arts Centre, Bangalore (2004)
Honorary Doctrate, Bangalore University (2003)
Padma Bhushan, Government of India(2001)
Manaviyam (Millennium) Award, Government of Kerala (2001)
Lotus Festival Award, City of Los Angeles (1998)
Special Medal of Honour, HH King Birendra of Nepal (1997)
Best Composer Award/Commission, NRK P2, Norway (1996)
Sangeeta Ratna Mysore, T. Chowdaiah Memorial National Award (1996)
Awarder at the World Music Festival at Madison Square Gardens, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, New York (1995)
Nada Chakravarthy, Sri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Swamiji, Trinidad (1993)
Onida Pinnacle Award (Best title track composer: Surabhi) (1993)
Creative Music Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi (1990)
Padma Shri, Government of India (1988)
Award for outstanding contribution to Indo-American goodwill, understanding and friendship, Indo-American Society (1988)
Sangeeta Sagaram, Cultural Centre of Performing Arts (1984)
Grammy Nomination (for the album Indian Classical Music) (1981)
Orpheus of the East Kala Samarpana, Alliance Francaise, Chennai (24/11/1972)
Violin Chakravarthy, Governor of Madras (6/11/1972)
Best Western Instrumentalist, IIT Madras (1972)
President's Award for Best Violinist, All India Radio (1963)
Subramaniam was married to Viji Subramaniam, who died on 9 February 1995 and since November 1999 has been married to the Indian playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthy.He continues to perform pieces with his daughter singer/songriter Bindu Subramaniam, violin duets with his son, Ambi Subramaniam,” and has further recorded and given several concerts with Krishnamoorthy. Their collaborations have earned them the nickname Subramaniam Gharana.His elder son Dr Narayana Subramaniam is a gold medalist MBBS, surgery resident, and poet and performs light music [ghazals].