Madurai Mani Iyer (October 25, 1912 – June 8, 1968) was a Carnatic music singer, who was famous for his unique style. He was one of the most highly celebrated carnatic vocalists during the first half of the 20th century. He was renowned for his adept skills at singing kalpana swarams, neraval, and raga alapana. His music continues to be highly regarded today.
Madurai Mani Iyer, whose original name was Subramanian, was born to M. S. Ramaswamy Iyer and Subbulakshmi in Madurai on October 25, 1912. His father, a Sub-court Clerk, was the brother of the famous Vidwan Pushpavanam, who was a great classical musician himself.
Mani Iyer's tutelage in music started at the age of nine. His first guru was Sri Rajam Bhagavathar who was Disciple of Ettayapuram Ramachandra Bhagavathar. Through Rajam Bhagavathar, he came in close contact with the great musician and composer, Gayakasikhamani Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar who founded Shri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Vidyalayam, a music school at Madurai and became an early disciple of the School.
Iyer's prodigious talents were recognized early in his age as he received various honours from dignitaries of that time. In 1927, a music conference took place at the Congress session in Avadi. In that was arranged a programme on the 72 melaragamalika of Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer. Mani's father expounded on the theoretical aspect of the composition while Mani sang. Father and son walked away with the awards. The Ganakaladharar in 1944, Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1959, President's award in 1960, Isai Perarignar in 1962 and many more came his way.