Violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman passes away

Lalgudi JayaramanPadma Bhushan winner great Lalgudi Jayaraman, whose artistry made him part of a legendary trinity of violinists, passed away in Chennai on Monday evening following cardiac arrest. He was 82.  He was ailing since December last year. He died at 6.50pm on Monday 22nd April, 2013. He is survived by his wife and son Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and daughter GJR Vijayalakshmi, both violinists. Jayaraman stayed away from the stage after he had a stroke in 2006. He dedicated six decades to music.

Others played just the violin while Lalgudi G. Jayaraman coaxed lucid lyrics and a pitch-perfect human voice out of the instrument. The violin maestro, whose chiselled rendering elevated Carnatic music to new heights.

Along with T N Krishnan and the late M S Gopalakrishnan, he made up a triumvirate of celebrated string instrumentalists from southern India. “We were contemporaries. It is a tragic loss to me personally and to the music world. His contribution to Carnatic music is immeasurable, especially his style and technique. There is no substitute for him,” said Krishnan.

Jayaraman was born at Lalgudi in Tiruchi district of Tamil Nadu on 17th September, 1930. He learnt music from his father Lalgudi Gopala Iyer and gave his first concert in 1942 at the age of 12. He went on to accompany the great maestros of the past including Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, M.M. Dhandapani Desikar, G.N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.

A prolific composer, who taught and inspired several of his disciples to excel in violin and vocal music. Jayaraman created a unique style which came to be known as the ‘Lalgudi bani’, a style that seemed to make the violin sing. In his hands, the violin evoked the ‘gayaki style’ of musical expression, which closely follows the pitch and variations of the human voice. Jayaraman was also well-known for his dance compositions.

A much feted artist, Jayaraman was the recipient of the Padma Shri in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 2001. In 2006, he received the National Film Award for best music direction for the Tamil film ‘Sringaram’. He also travelled extensively for performances, and was made an honorary citizen of Maryland in the US. Ohio declared April 2 as Lalgudi Day. Admirers included Yehudi Menuhin, who presented Jayaraman with a splendid Italian violin in 1965.

Overlooked by Chennai’s premier cultural institute Music Academy for its Sangita Kalanidhi award in his prime, Jayaraman stopped performing there. The Academy made up by honouring him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the first in its almost 100-year history, in 2008.

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Posted by on April 23, 2013. Filed under India,Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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