Violin maestro and Padma Bhushan awardee Lalgudi Jayaraman, who took Indian instrumental music to new heights, passed away at a private hospital in Chennai on Monday after a brief illness. He was 82.
The legendary musician is survived by his wife, Rajalakshmi and two children, son Lalgudi G J R Krishnan and daughter Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, both acclaimed violinists. His last rites will be performed on Tuesday.
He was born in Idathumangalam near Lalgudi village in Tiruchirappalli district on September 17, 1930. Jayaraman started learning music from an early age under the tutelage of his father V R Gopala Iyer, a disciple of saint Thyagaraja.
Showing great promise, Jayaraman started accompanying at the tender age of 12 several renowned Carnatic music vocalists like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.
Known for his melodious, heart-rending, and rhythmic style with the violin, Jayarman innovated mesmerising techniques, but never transgressed traditional ethos of his trade. Over the years, he developed an individual style, called the “Lalgudi style of playing.” He went on to earn accolades across the globe.
Jayaraman was also a unique composer, with scores of compositions in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit to his credit, said musical experts who knew him personally.
The first musician to be honoured with the “Chowdhiah Memorial National Level Award” for his outstanding achievements as a violinist, Jayaraman was also credited with creating a wide range of ragas.
His innovation of “musical ensemble,” with a wide range of instruments like violin, flute and veena, brought him international fame.
Jayaraman’s compositions were a rage with Bharatnatyam exponents. He led several Indian musical and cultural delegations abroad, including Russia, London, Singapore, Germany and Italy, besides playing at the prestigious Edinburg Music Festival in 1965.
Jayaraman was conferred with several prestigious awards including the Padma Shri, the Music Academy’s Sangetha Kalanidhi and the Sangeetha Natak Akademi Award.
Several Carnatic musicians rushed to pay homage to the departed soul.
“Lalgudi Jayaraman was indeed the Bhishma pitamaha of violin in Carnatic Music,” said musician Bombay Jayashree.