Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa Rao.........(1918-1994)
“With the growth of styles and of personal interpretations, the ideal of pata integrity has suffered eclipse. This is a major factor which has contributed to the decline in the quality of classicism in contemporary cutcheri music. In this situation, the contribution of the “impersonal” classicist Srinivasa Rao, who swears by strict pata discipline assumes extraordinary merit and significance. He serves heroically by swimming against the current” - NMN, “The Hindu” Dt.2-111990.
Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa Rao's exposition of Classical music is steeped in the purest tradition. His command over techniques of Raga Vistara, Svaraprastara, Neraval and Pallavi singing is highly impressive and indeed excellent. Doyen of Music was well known for his purity of Style, Raga Bhava, Patanthara Suddham and wide repertoire. His expansive raga delineations in Kalyani, Yadukulakambodi, Bhairavi, Kedargowla, Sahana and Dwijavanti were not only rich and scholarly, it won the hearts of Titans in Karnatak Music. Rao had mellifluous voice and his shruti suddham was the connoisers delight.
Srinivasa Rao was born on 21-08-1918, at Penukonda, Anantapur Dt., Andhrapradesh to S.Narayana Rao (Advocate) and Smt.S.Ganga Bai, both belonging to Dasakoota parampara . His ancestors were natives of Srirangapatna, Mysore. Rao did BA and BL and practiced Law for a brief period. His wife Smt.S.Saraswathi gave him total support to him to realize the potential. He has five sons and one daughter. He attained Lord's feet on 25-01-1994.
Great Maestro's like Dwaram Venkataswamy Nadu, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyyengar, Musiri Subramani Iyer, G.N.Balasubramaniam and Semmengudi Srinivasa Iyer paid encomiums and opined:
• He exhibited rare perseverance and devotion in learning.
• He is Idealist, who expounds emphatically and they bear a fine outlook and musical thinking.
• His repertoire is quite huge.
• One can easily guage great passion in his music.
• He teaches the students with a gusto and he endeared himself to the students.
• He is a profound musician of Karnataka Music, equally at home in the theory as well as practice of music.
• He is one of the most talented and extremely well qualified musician in the field of Karnatak Music.
• He has specialized in Muthuuswami Dikshitar kritis and his repertoire may be described as a golden treasury of the great composers works. His mastery of the compositions of Haridasas, Thyagaraja, Shyama Sastri, Kshetragna and Bhadrachala Ramadoss are equally comprehensive and authentic.
Srinivasa Rao started performing at the age of 12 and has performed for well over six decades, all over India . A few excerpts of reviews of his concerts by Subbudu (Indian Express), NMN and RV (The Hindu), Music critics of Times of India and Hindusthan Times read :
• To those who complain about the absence of a second line in Karnatak Music, Srinivasa Rao, a fitting answer.
• Rao retains his clear vision relating to what is authentically classical. It is transperantly classical. Whatever aspects of music he touches, quality carries the eternal flavor of carnatic classicism.
• Uncompromising traditionalist with a clear prescription of classical prescriptive aesthetics of refined quality that determines the traditional color of Carnatic music.
• Rao is among the few Karnatak Musicians who do not sacrifice quality for quanitity. Without an eye on applause or a desire to play to the gallery, presents brilliant exposition of ragas.
• His recital was majestic and moving, a model of how ragas should be imbibed and exhibited. He emphasized the simplicity of the renderings, be it raga or svaram, as the secret of appeal in Music.
Srinivasa Rao received initial training from Pallavi Pakka Hanumanthachar, Tirupathi Rangacharyulu, Chilamathur Ramaiah. He received advance training from Great Maestros like Tiger Varadachar, Maharajapuram Viswantha Iyer, Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu and Mysore Vasudevachar. Rao also received special training from T.L.Venkatarama Iyer (Muthuuswami Dikshitar kritis), C.S.Iyer (Shyama Shastri kritis), Vijayakrishna (kshetragna padams) and Tanjore Ponniah Pillai (Pallavi and rare compositions)
Rao served with distinction, AIR, Madras and Vijayawada - 1944-1947 and 1954-1964 in various capacities, including Emiritus Producer. His introduction of Bhakthi Ranjani programme, became trail blazer. Trained by him, the Karnataka Vadya Vrinda programmes playing Trinity compositions, Thyagaraja's Nowka Charitram and Prhlada Bhakthi Vijayam music operas, raga darshana and sangita sikshna programes, were immensely popular. He was widely acclaimed for his stewardship as Principal of prestigious institutions like Central College of Kanatak Music and Teacher's College of Music of Music Academy, both at Chennai, in the years 1964-1978 and 1978-1980. He was selected for the most coveted post of National Professor of Karnatak Music (For the First Time) by the Centre's HRD Ministry, but due to his sudden demise, the appointment order had to be cancelled. He served various governing bodies like Experts committee of Music Academy, UGC grants committee, Sangeeth Natak Academy, audition committee of AIR as member and Chairman. Rao also served as Special Officer, Dasa Sahitya and Annmacharya Projects of T.T.D. and set to tune several compositions of rare merit. His lecture demonstrations on various aspects of Karnatak Music and it's practice were well received and acclaimed.
Srinivasa Rao received many honors and titles during his illustrious career and some of the presitigious are Sangita Natak Academy award, Sangita Kala Acharya, Sangita Kala Ratna, Swar Vilas and Doctor of letters, Honoris cause, Asthana Vidwan of TTD.
Srinivasa Rao had the rare privilege of teaching special compositions to Great Maestros like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyyengar, Semmengudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S.Subbulakshmi, M.L.Vasanthakumari, M.Balamuralikrishna, S.Ramanathan, Radha & Jayalakshmi, Trichur Ramachandran, R.Vedavalli, Sugandha Kalamegam, Prapancham Sitaram. His prominent disciples are his Sons and disciples Madhvamuni Rao and Poornapragna Rao, Smt.Arundhati Circar and Shashank.
Srinivasa Rao's music was quintessential amalgam of his various Gurus' rich music and he was hailed as an institution by himself to uphold the true ideals and values of Classical Karnatak Music. Indeed, he was Nada Yogi.
(Information provided by S.Madhva Muni Rao, Son & Disciple of SSRao, Bangalore, Mobile: 98453 36203, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
SENGALIPURAM ANANTARAMA DIKSHITAR - UPANYASAKAR.........(1903-1969)
Anantarama Dikshitar was born on 2nd July 1903. He was a Srauti scholar and also was a great exponent of the art of upanyasas on various subjects in Hinduism. Born in the Thanjavur district as the first son to Sri Subramanya Dikshithar, Anantharaman was initiated into the learning of the Vedas under his father Subramanya Dikshithar, who was also known as chinna Muthannaval. His brother of Sengalipuram Vaidhyanatha Dikshithar was Periya Muthannaval. Anantharama Dikshithar had his Aksharabyasam from Paruthiyur Krishna Sastri. Then he further studied other Shastras and Vedangas from eminent scholars of repute including Kadalangudi Natesa Sastrigal who also was his father in law.
Inspired by the pravachans of Guru Brahmasri Paruthiyur Krishna Sastri, Anantharama Dikshitar took up Upanyasa as his career. An ardent devotee of Sri Guruvayurappan, Sri Anantharama Dikshitar made a significant contribution to propagate the Narayaneeyam of Meppattur Narayana Bhattathiri all over the world. The available portions of the recordings of His discourses rendered in public were brought out as cassettes and CDs as per the gracious directions of Sri Kanchi Paramacharya. The proceeds are to be used for Sri Adhishtaanam of Sri Deekshithar who attained Sidhi on 30-10-1969, after taking Abat Sanyasa.
(Information provided by C.R. Kaushik,Texas, USA)
(July 22, 1914 - October 8, 1994)
K.M.Soundaryavalli, a Tamilian lady, was the eldest child of Sriman Nadadoor Ammal Narasimhacharya. She was blessed with the gift of composing in Tamil as well as in Telugu and Sanskrit. Her childhood training in music enabled her to set her own compositions to music with ease, in chaste Carnatic tradition.
SATTUR A.G.SUBRAMANIAM - VOCALIST.........(1916-1977)
Born in Angarai, Tiruchirapalli district of Ganesa Sastrigal and Thailammal, he obtained his Sangita Bhushanam diploma in 1936 from the Annamalai University. A.G.Subramaniam had the good fortune of having distinguished maestri at the University like Tiruvaiyaru Sabhesa Ayyar and Thanjavur Ponniah Pillai as his preceptors. He was well conversant with Sanskrit, Telugu, Hindi and Tamil and his rendition was rich and soaked in bhava-rasa. A purist to the last, his raga alapanas and pallavi elaboration in different ragas were masterpieces of expertise, lakshana - lakshya elegance, high level artistic exuberance of manodharma which endeared him to the top artistes of his days like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar, Madurai Mani Ayyar and G.N.B. He was given the privilege of inaugural concert at Sri Rama Navami Celebrations at Coimbatore consistently. Fortunately, two gramaphone records and three cassettes of his rendition have been retrieved and a beginning to popularise the same was made with the release of a cassette on August 15, 1995.
Subramaniam was a dedicated guru adored by his disciples like Sirkali V.R.Subramaniam, Sirkali R.Jayaraman, Musiri Rangarajan, Tiruchi N.Natarajan, Sulochana Pattabhiraman, Sitamani Srinivasan and a host of others including his musical daughters. His disciples celebrated his Eightieth Jayanti on the Independence Day, 1995 with rare devotion and dedication. Subramaniam had an enjoyable voice and his music was orthodox with laya and sruti suddham. A devoted guru, a gentleman and a good musician, he was lovable. He came of a religious family and was capable of nothing but heed to the Divine Call.
SULAMANGALAM (JAYALAKSHMI, RAJALAKSHMI) SISTERS - VOCALIST DUO...............(b.April 24, 1937 ; b. November 6, 1940 - 192)
Born in Sulamangalam near Tanjore - a village with musical heritage, of Karnam Ramaswmai Ayyar & Janaki Ammal, the sisters had their training in music from K.G.Murthi of Sulamangalam, Pathamadai S.Krishnan, Mayavaram Venugopalayyar. The duo-sisters were very popular for their inimitable rendition - particularly of national and devotional songs. They had a hectic practice for about three decades and were much sought after for providing background music in films. Their Kandar Shashti Kavacham disk is very popular.
Honours & Titles:
Muruga Ganamrtha, Kuyil Isai Thilakam, Isaiarasi, Nadakanal and Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram's Kalaimamani in 1992.