Carnatic violinist-composer Lalgudi G Jayaraman passes away

Chennai, April 23 (ANI): Carnatic violist and composer Lalgudi Jayaraman passed away in Chennai on Monday evening following cardiac arrest. He was 82.

He was ailing since December last year. He died at 6.50 p.m. on Monday. He is survived by his wife and son Lalgudi G J R Krishnan and daughter G J R Vijayalakshmi, both violinists.

A purist whose work spanned six decades, Jayaraman’s legions of fans, disciples and collaborators included violinist Yehudi Menuhin and vocalists M Balamuralikrishna and Bombay Jayashri.

Along with T N Krishnan and the late M S Gopalakrishnan, Jayaraman 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.

Born in Lalgudi in Trichy in 1930 and trained by his father, the late V R Gopala Iyer, Jayaraman’s quick grasp and artistry made him a sought-after accompanist to maestros such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, G N Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, K V Narayanaswamy, Maharajapuram Santhanam and D K Jayaraman.

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 United States. 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.

Jayaraman stayed away from the stage after he had a stroke in 2006, but he remained a teacher, composer, and a keen connoisseur. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship in 2010. (ANI)

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