B. Rajam Iyer
Training in music
He began his training in Carnatic music under Thirukokarnam Subbiah Bhagaathar and then under Ganapathy Iyer of Kunnakudi. The latter is a Gottuvadyam and Jalatarangam player. This initial training lasted for about five years.
He went for advanced training as the disciple of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. This training was undertaken in the traditional Gurukula (residing in the master's residence and serving him) style and lasted for about 10 years.
Rajam Iyer grew up as the leading disciple of Ramanuja Iyengar and became an exponent of his style of singing.
His long association with Ramanuja Iyengar helped him to enrich his repertoire. In addition, he learnt Muthuswami Dikshitar krithis from T. L. Venkatarama Iyer, a recipient of the Prestigious Sangeetha Kalanidhi award.
As a musicologist
He set tunes and rhythm to all the 30 Tiruppaavai songs of Sri Andal. He also set tunes to many Rama Natakam songs of Arunachala Kavi. He published these and many other songs to which he set music.
He was a tutor to the Travancore royal family members for 4 years since 1943. He served as a member of the selection panels of Madras and Delhi universities. He was a member of the expert committee of the Madras Music Academy
Perhaps his greatest achievement was bringing out the Tamil edition of Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini written by Subbarama Dikshitar. This was done for the Madras Music Academy.
His first concert was during the Thyagaraja Aradhana at Thiruvaiyaru in 1942. He gave his first performance in Chennai (it was called Madras, then) in 1956 with a concert in the Jagannadha Sabha in Egmore. He renders the compositions with sincerity and devotion. His concerts are noted for the sustained interest they acquire from the tana varna to the lighter pieces bringing out the excellence in composition and musical content.
He had also served as the "Top Grade Artiste" of All India Radio.
Awards and honours
- Kalaimamani, 1981 by Tamil Nadu State Government
- Government of India Fellowship, 1984-86
- Sangeetha Kalasikhamani, 1985 by The Indian Fine Arts Society
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986 by Sangeet Natak Akademi
- Sangeetha Kalanidhi, 1987 by Music Academy, Chennai
- Padma Bushan, 2003 by the Government of India
B. Rajam Iyer died on Sunday May 3, 2009 (aged 86) after a brief illness.
- Now Karaikudi is in Sivaganga district