K. S. Narayanaswamy

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K. S. Narayanaswamy
Born 1914
Palghat, Kerala
Died 1999
Genres Indian classical music
Occupation(s) Veena player
Instruments Veena
Notable instruments

K. S. Narayanaswamy, (full name Koduvayur Sivarama Iyer Narayanaswamy, Tamil: கொடுவயூர் சிவராம ஐயர் நாராயணஸ்வாமி ; 27 September 1914 – 1999) was a Carnatic veena exponent of the Thanjavur style, in which nuances and subtleties are given more importance over rhythm based acrobatics.[1]

He was born on the 27 September 1914 to Narayaniammal and Koduvayur Sivarama Iyer at Koduvayur in Palghat district in Kerala. He underwent initial training in Carnatic music under K.S. Krishna Iyer, his brother, between his seventh and fourteenth years. Later, he joined the Music College at Annamalai University in Chidambaram where he learnt vocal music under stalwarts like Sangeetha Kalanidhi T S Sabesa Iyer and Sangeetha Kalanidhi Tanjore Ponniah Pillai, descendent of the famous Tanjore Quartet. He also learnt the veena under Desamangalam Subramania Iyer and the mridangam under Tanjore Ponniah Pillai. From 1937-1946, he served as the lecturer at the Annamalai University, his alma mater, and assisted in publishing the Tamil kritis of Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Neelakanta Sivan and Arunachala Kavi.[2]

Upon the invitation of His Highness, the Maharaja of Travancore, he took up lectureship in veena at the Swathi Thirunal College of Music (erstwhile Swathi Thirunal Music Academy) at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.[3] During his tenure at the Academy, he was instrumental, along with Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, then principal of the Academy, in editing and publishing the kritis of Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma (commonly known as Swathi Thirunal).[1][4][5] He participated in several international conferences and was a member of the Music and Cultural Delegations to the erstwhile USSR and East European countries in 1954. In 1970, he was invited by Yehudi Menuhin to attend the Bath International Music Festival and perform at London, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, and Birmingham. Later, he succeeded Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer as the principal of the Academy and retired in 1970.[2]

In 1970, he came to Mumbai, as the principal of the Sangeetha Vidyalaya of Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha and taught both vocal music and veena till 1985.[1][2][3] In 1974, he took part as the teacher of Carnatic music and veena at the Eleventh Conference of International Society of Music Education at Perth, Australia. He also participated in the Indian Music and Dance Festival of the International Institute for Comparative Music Studies and Documentation at Berlin in 1977.[2]

He was a recipient of many awards including the State Award of Kerala in 1962 and that of Tamil Nadu in 1968;[2] the National Award of Central Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1968;[6] the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 1977;[7] Sangeetha Kalanidhi from the Madras Music Academy, Chennai in 1979[8] and the Swathi Ratna in 1999.[2]

Among his disciples, notable ones include Rugmini Gopalakrishnan,[9][10] Kalyani Sharma,[1] Saraswati Rajagopalan,[11] Trivandrum Venkataraman,[12] Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma,[13] Geetha Raja,[3] Nirmala Parthasarathy,[14] Jayashree Aravind. Many musicians like M.S. Subbulakshmi and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer have had good association with him and have appreciated his music.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Homage to a 'Guru', The Hindu, August 21, 2001
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kalyani Sharma, Tribute to Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri K.S. Narayanaswamy- 101 Keerthana Mani Malai, 2nd Edition (April 2006), compiled and published by Kalyani Sharma
  3. ^ a b c Geetha Raja on her Gurus
  4. ^ The Navaratri Mandapam experience, The Hindu, November 29, 1998
  5. ^ Semmangudi looks back - at 90, Interview of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer with the Frontline magazine, Vol. 15, Issue 22, October 24 - November 06, 1998
  6. ^ List of Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards from Sangeet Natak Akademi, India (www.sangeetnatak.org)
  7. ^ List of Padma Bhushan Awardees from 1954 to 2009 from Ministry of Home Affairs, India (www.mha.nic.in)
  8. ^ List of Sangeetha Kalanidhi Awardees from Madras Music Academy (www.musicacademymadras.in)
  9. ^ Notes of excellence, The Hindu: Entertainment Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 01, 2005
  10. ^ To honour a teacher, Friday Review Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 21, 2006
  11. ^ [1], The Hindu: Arts, October 15, 2013
  12. ^ Rare artistic acumen, The Hindu: Arts, January 21, 2010
  13. ^ A royal love for music, The Hindu: Metro Plus Kochi, January 03, 2009
  14. ^ Rising like the Thanjavur gopuram, Friday Review, The Hindu, Mar 09, 2007

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