L. Subramaniam

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L. Subramaniam
L. Subramaniam at Bharat Bhavan.JPG
L. Subramaniam performing at concert in Bhopal October 2015
Background information
Birth name Subramaniam Lakshminarayana
Born (1947-07-23) 23 July 1947 (age 68)
Chennai, India
Genres Classical, Carnatic, jazz fusion, Indo jazz, world fusion, Western music
Occupation(s) Violinist, composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, record producer, pedagogue
Instruments Violin, percussion, synthesizers, vocals
Years active 1973–present

Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam (born 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.

Performance with his son Ambi Subramaniam at Bharat Bhavan Bhopal

Early years[edit]

Subramaniam was born to V. Lakshminarayana Iyer and Seethalakshmi, both accomplished musicians.[1]

He lived in Jaffna during his younger years, taking up music studies before the age of five.[2] 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 Uncles include the great Ramnad Raghavan, Ramnad Krishnan.[3] His brothers are also acclaimed musicians, and include the well-known violinist-composers L. Shankar (alias. Shenkar), and the late L. Vaidyanathan.[4] 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.[2] He has a Master's degree in Western classical music, which he acquired at the California Institute of the Arts.[2]

Performing career[edit]

Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli and L. Subramaniam

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[5] and several others.[6]

He has accompanied highly regarded vocalists in Carnatic music on stage including Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, K. V. Narayaswamy, Dr. Sripada 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.[6]

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.[6][7]

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.[7] 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 United Nations.[8]

On 24 October 2012, he performed as a Special Guest Artist with Stevie Wonder at the latter's message of peace concert at the UN.[8]

The renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin said of Subramaniam:

One of the most famous quote by Subramaniam goes by

Film career[edit]

He composed the film scores for the films Salaam Bombay (1988) and Mississippi Masala (1991) directed by Mira Nair, in addition to being the featured violin soloist in Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha (1993) and Cotton Mary (1999) of Merchant-Ivory productions.[6]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Subramaniam was married to Viji (Vijayashree Shankar) Subramaniam, who died on 9 February 1995 and since November 1999 has been married to the famous Indian playback singer Kavita Krishnamurthy. He has four children with Viji - Narayana Subramaniam, Gingger Shankar, Bindu Subramaniam, and Ambi Subramaniam.

He continues to perform pieces with his daughter singer/songwriter Bindu Subramaniam,[11] violin duets with his son, Ambi Subramaniam,[12]” and has further recorded and given several concerts with Krishnamurthy. Their collaborations have earned them the nickname Subramaniam Gharana.[13]

His elder son Dr. Narayana Subramaniam [14] is a gold medalist MBBS, surgery resident, and poet and performs light music ghazals.

Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival[edit]

He started the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival in 1992, to honour the memory of his father Professor V. Lakshminarayana, who died in 1990.[5]

The festival has been held across 49 cities in 20 countries and five continents.[15]

Artists have included the Subramaniam family, Al Jarreau, George Duke, Solo Cissokho, Miya Masaoka, Mark O'Connor, Loyko, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Larry Coryell, Arve Tellefsen, Pandit Jasraj, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Corky Siegel.[16][17]

The festival has centred around special concepts such as Violins for Peace,[16] Visions of India and Sounds of India.

Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts[edit]

In 2007, the Subramaniam Foundation, a charity run by Subramaniam and his wife set up a music school called the Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts (SAPA), in Bangalore, India. [18]


Subramaniam performing at a concert
Subramaniam performing
Subramaniam performing at Kolkata
  • Enchanting Melodies on the Violin (1977) (with Palghat Mani Iyer)
  • Garland (1978) (featuring Svend Asmussen)
  • Fantasy without Limits (1979)
  • Rainbow (1980) (with Ali Akbar Khan and John Handy)
  • Indian Classical Music (1980) (featuring Zakir Hussain)
  • Le violon de l'Inde du Sud (1980)
  • The Virtuoso Violin of South India: Subramaniam (1981 Licensed by MAI,Oslo,Norway/Lyrichord Disc Inc.)
  • Blossom (1981) (with Herbie Hancock and Larry Coryell) (Crusader/MCA Records)
  • South Indian Strings (1981) (with Palghat Mani Iyer)
  • Spanish Wave (1983) Milestone Records)
  • The Irresistible Dr L. Subramanium (1985) (Oriental Records)
  • Distant Visions (1985)
  • Mani & Co. (1986)
  • East Meets West (1987)
  • Live in Moscow (1988)
  • Indian Classical Masters: Raga Hemavati (1990) (Nimbus Records)
  • Kalyani (1990) (Water Lily Acoustics)
  • Indian Classcial Masters: Three Ragas for Solo Violin (1991) Nimbus Records)
  • In Praise of Ganesh (1991) Audiorec Classic)
  • Sarasvati (1991) (Water Lily Acoustics)
  • Expressions of Impressions (1991)
  • Musical Heritage of South India (1992)
  • Beyond (1993) (New Earth Records)
  • Samarpanam (1993)
  • Masters of Raga (1995) (Wergo)
  • Pacific Rendezvous (1995)
  • Electric Modes Volumes 1 & 2 (1995) (Water Lily Acoustics)
  • Matchless (1999) (with Alla Rakha)
  • Indian Express / Mani & Co. (1999) featuring Maynard Ferguson (Milestone)
  • Global Fusion (1999) (Warner/Erato Detour Records)
  • Free your Mind (2002)
  • Asmita (2004) (featuring Kavita Krishnamurthy and Bindu Subramaniam)
  • Maestro's Choice (2004) (Music Today)
  • Best of L. Subramaniam (2004)
  • The Violin Legends (2004) (with Yehudi Menuhin and Stephane Grappelli)
  • Violin Maestros (2007) (featuring Ambi Subramaniam)
  • Innovations (2012) (featuring Palghat Mani Iyer (EMI)

Collaborations with other artists[edit]

  • L. Subramaniam with John Handy and Ali Akbar Khan: Rainbow (MPS, 1980)
  • L. Subramaniam with Stéphane Grappelli: Conversations (1984, Milestone)
  • L. Subramaniam and Yehudi Menuhin: L. Subramaniam and Yehudi Menuhin in New York (1987)
  • L. Subramaniam and Larry Coryell: From the Ashes (1999) (Water Lily Acoustics)
  • L. Subramaniam and Ali Akbar Khan: Duet (1996) (Delos Records)
  • L. Subramaniam with Yehudi Menuhin and Stéphane Grappelli: All the World's Violins (1993)
  • Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival: Vol. I & II (Sony Music)
  • L. Subramaniam with Karsten Vogel: Meetings (2007) (Calibrated)

Live albums[edit]

  • L. Subramaniam: Live in Moscow (1988) (BMG / Viji Records)
  • L. Subramaniam en Concert (1995, Ocora Radio France)
  • Kingdom of Peace: Live in Nepal (1997)
  • L. Subramaniam: Live in France
  • L. Subramaniam and Bismillah Khan: Live in Geneva (1991)




Additional soundtracks[edit]

  • Peace One Day (2004) (composer, performer: "Gypsy Trail")
  • Baraka (1992) (performer: "Wandering Saint")

On Subramaniam[edit]

  • L. Subramaniam: Violin From the Heart (1999). Directed by Jean Henri Meunier.


  1. ^ "Visionary Violinist". March 2001. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c "Artist: L. Subramaniam". Concord Music Group. March 1986. Retrieved 1 December 2007. 
  3. ^ "http://ec2-54-183-21-170.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com/wiki/%28X%281%29S%28e3xxk32tdd4vantneswc0kyi%29%29/vlakshminarayana.ashx".  External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Music director L. Vaidyanathan dead". The Hindu. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Lakshminarayan Global Music Festival With L. Subramaniam". Chicago Reader. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "L. Subramaniam: Short Biography". Sampad. February 2005. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2007. 
  7. ^ a b "L. Subramaniam: Official Site". Official Site. Retrieved 20 February 2007. 
  8. ^ a b <http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-27/music-events/34751814_1_l-subramaniam-bindu-subramaniam-lucknow-times>
  9. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  10. ^ "L Subramaniam's Official Website". Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "'Being L Subramaniam's daughter didn't help'". Rediff. 12 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "Violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam - Ambi Subramaniam - Kavita Krishnamurthy - Bangalore". mybangalore.com. 
  13. ^ "Article - Subramaniam gharana". timesofindia.com. 
  14. ^ "Narayana Subramaniam, L Subramaniam, Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam, Bindu Subramaniam, Ambi Subramaniam, Corky Siegel during TOI Crest experience musical program organized by The Times Of India at NCUI auditorium, Delhi - Photogallery". indiatimes.com. 
  15. ^ http://festivalsherpa.com/festival/lakshminarayana-global-music-festival/details
  16. ^ a b Buzz Bureau. "A Fusion Of Unique Violin Styles - Buzzintown". buzzintown.com. 
  17. ^ "Buy online Indian and International CDs, LPs, Blu-rays, DVDs and VCDs - Rhythm House". rhythmhouse.in. 
  18. ^ "SaPa India – Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts". sapaindia.com. 

External links[edit]