Profiles of practising artistes - S

SANJAY SUBRAHMANYAN - VOCALIST............(b. January 21, 1968)
Born at Chennai, of S.Sankaran & Aruna, Sanjay Subrahmanyan, initially learnt the violin from Shri V. Lakshminarayana Iyer, father of Shri L. Subramaiam and Shri L.Shankar. Later he switched to vocal music and learnt from his grand aunt Smt Rukumini Rajagopalan and has also been receiving advanced training from Calcutta Shri K.S.Krishnamurthi.

Sanjay has been the recipient of innumerable awards and prizes. He has won the A.I.R prize in the men's category in 1986. He has also won lots of prizes in the competitions conducted by Music Academy and other leading sabhas in Chennai. He has also received the Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer Trust scholarship for advanced training.

He is closely associated with YACM and is one of the highly promising artistes of Carnatic music today. He is said to have switched over from violin to vocal after an injury to his hand. His rendition is free from flaw and is crisp. A popular artiste. He has a voice that navigates through the tara sthayi effortlessly. His alapana is imaginative and swara prastara is well-matched to demands of the audience.He has been regularly performing in all leading sabhas all over the country, since 1986. Sanjay is an 'A' grade artiste at AIR, Chennai. He has perormed abroad in several countires - USA, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia... He is a qualified and practising Chartered Accountant.

Neyveli Santhangopalan was born to Sri M.S.Ramanathan & Smt. Jayalakshmi Ammal. He is recognised for his tradition bound rendering. He had his initial training from Late. Chembai C.S.Anandan, a nephew of Late. Chembai Vaidyanatha Bagavathar and from Srirangam R.Ranganathan. However, Santhanagopalan's talent flowered with the Gurukula training under the famed vocalist Madurai T.N.Seshagopalan. Santhanagopalan had his debut at the age of 10 and has been performing for the prime slots of most sabhas in India and abroad. He is an 'A' grade artiste of A.I.R, Chennai. He runs 'Gurukrupa', a msuic school in Chennai. Also adept at playing veena, Mridangam and khanjira, he has lectured on music and its appreciation.

USSR, USA and Reunion Islands are some of the countries that he has visited giving concerts. He is a recipient of many awards including the 'Isai Peroli' by the Karthik Fine Arts Sabha of Chennai in 1993.

Dr. K. Santhanaraman, M.A., D.Litt. Ph.D, Retired as the Deputy Treasurer from the Reserve Bank of India in Chennai after a forty year service. Santhanaraman is also a well-known orator and author of several books and numerous articles on aspects of Tamil religion and culture. His wife Prof. V. Hema did her doctoral research on ‘Tanikai Puranam’. She has trained thousands of science teachers in India and abroad and is associated with five Tamil Nadu universities. Dr. Hema Santhanaraman served as a Professor in Government Colleges.

The Santhanaramans are both writers and have given several programs in the All India Radio and Television Channels. They are both well known Tamil scholars of experience and erudition. Santhanaraman has written over 35 books. The Santhanaramans continue to write and give lectures and some of their popular lectures include Thiruvalluvar temple, Abhirami Anthathi Villaka Perurai, Ambigai Anuboothi, Ambigai Arul Kathaigal, Annaiyin Peyargal Aayiram, Appar, Arulalargal, Aru Samaya Vinadi Vina, Dakshinamoorthy Thruvarutpa- Virivurai, Devi Mahatmiyam Ealiya Urai, Kandapuranam-Vilakkavurai, Kandapuranam - Vasanam, Kandapurana Raghamaligai, Lalitha Sahasranamam Vilakka Parurai, Malargalil Pootha Malargal, Manikkavasagar, Mylai Sthala Varalattril Thiruvalluvar, Nalamtharum Natramizh, Nala Charithram, Narayana Guru, Or Ulagam, Parithiyur Sthala Varalaru, Panniru Azhvargal Pavaigalum Palliezhuchiyum, Pullal Unarthiya Porul, Samayamum Samudhayamum, Sambandhar, Saraswathi, Saraswathi Anthathi Theivurai, Sundarar, Swamimalai Navarathinamalai, Thiruvizhakkal Nokkamum Payanum, Vedar Kula Thonralgal, Vinai Theerkum Vinayakar, Vinavum Vilakkamum, Vignanamum Meignanamum.

Santhanaraman and Hema have introduced a new pattern of performing their discourses. They appear together on the platform and speak alternatively in cricket commentary style. This new and unique style attracts the audience. Most of their lectures take place in Temples, lecture halls, schools and Universities.
(Information & photo provided by C.R. Kaushik,Texas, USA)

Sarojini Sundaresan acquired her direct tutelage for over a decade under the Late Sri Alathur Venkatesa Iyer, father and teacher of the famous Alathur Brothers. Her Guru imparted complete training in all aspects of performing concepts and also teaching the great art. She commenced her career as a performer at the age of 14. She has performed in almost all the major cities of India - important art festivals and concert platforms such as the Music Academy, Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam, Gayana Samajam, Shanmugananda Sabha and Lalit Kala Academy.

She has a wide repertoire of known and very rare kritis of the popular composers the Trinities, Purandara Dasa, Vedanayagam Pillai, Ramalinga Swamigal, Meesu Krishna Iyer and others. She has given innumerable concerts and lecture demonstrations in the UK.

Master Shashank was born in Rudrapatna. Shashank displayed an ear for music at a very early age. His father Subramanyam, a biochemist and also an amateur flautist recognised his talent and began his training momentarily. In 1990, Sastry hall, Chennai was the venue for 12 year old Shashank's debut. Since then Shashank has created an unrivalled record as a Star performer in prestigious organisations world over - Krishna Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts and the Music Academy at Chennai, Sawayi Gandharva, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (London), ANZ Grindlays Kalasangam, School for Advanced Study (Princeton-USA), Swara Laya (Delhi) and Rashtrapathy Bhavan (President's Palace in New Delhi). On the insistence of flute wizard MALI, that Shashank learn only vocal music in a sound tradition and follow his own genius to play the flute, he learnt vocal music from Sangeetha Kalanidhi K.V.Narayana Swamy and Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa Rao. He acquired performing skills from Trichur C.Narendran, a mridangam vidwan. He has enthraled audiences in India, USA, UK, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Middle East and Singapore.

Born on 1940, A.R.Subramaniam started his early training under his father Arumugham Pillai in nadaswaram and then switched over to thavil under his brother Palanivel.

He has performed in 3442 concerts upto 1990 - which is by any standards a colossal figure. Laya maestro among thavil vidwans, Subramaniam's forte is pleasing sound. He gave concerts in Europe, USA in 1985 and received many awards - "Kalaimamani", "State Artiste Tamilnadu Government", "Sangita Natak Academy", "Isai Perarignar" from the Tamil Isai Sangam, Chennai (being the first thavildar to recieve the honour).

Sudha Ragunathan is one of the prime disciples of Padmabushan Sangeetha Kalanidhi, Dr. M.L.Vasanthakumari. Sudha started her early training in Carnatic classical music (vocal from her mother Smt. Choodamani at the early age of nine and then continued training under Sr. B.V.Lakshman for a brief period. In 1977, Sudha received the Central Governments' scholarship for young artistes for advanced training in Carnatic music for two years and she thus came under the expert tutelage of Smt. M.L.Vasanthakumari.
Sudha has won over 200 prizes in music competitions conducted by various institutions at State & National levels.
Sudha has received many awards - Tamil Sangam of New York - "Amudha Isai Vani", Bharat Kalachar - "Yuva Kala Bharathi", Karthik Fine Arts - "Isai Peroli", Telugu Academy - "Ugadi Puraskar , "Kalaimamani".

Subashchandran had his initial training from his father T.H.Harihara Sahrma. He also continued his percussion training under K.M.Vaidyanathan-ghatam artiste, Palghat Ramachandra Ayyar-mridangam artiste. He hhas held the post of Vice Principal, Sri Jaya Ganesa Tala Vadya Vidyalaya (since 1959) founded by his father and headed by his brother, T.H.Vinayakram after his father's demise. He has taught percussion at the California Institute of Arts as Visiting Professor - October 1976 - December 1977 & as Visiting Summer Music Teacher during summers of 1989 to 1992 at Sri Venkateswara Temple, pittsburg, USA.
Subashchandran is an accomplished percussioist whose fingers speak with their devilrous play nd foreign countries beckon him more often to his immense joy. Percussion is in his blood and in his family. His dexterous, breezy play is effortless and brings out his rich expertise born out of innate ability and association with artistes of top cadres and styles.

L.Subramaniam is a renowned violinist and a composer in East-West orchestral fusion. Born in an enviable environment of music as son of Prof.L.Lakshminarayanan (1911-1990) and Seethalakshmi, he had his training in theoretical and practical music with his father, whom L.Subramaniam describes as 'a torch-bearer in introducing fabulous, masterful, original, new techniques in playing the violin and as one who introduced innovative concepts in the art'.

Subramaniam received his Master's degree in Western Classical music from the California Institute of Arts. The intense passion he has for Western music and the training in Indian music he had received earlier have helped him to draw on and establish his versatility, in both the systems and present "a blend of the melodic and rhythmic richness of his native idiom with the contrapuntal and harmonic progressions of the European classical music". In his multi-sided endeavours, he received the whole-hearted participation of his musical wife, Vijayasree. He is a stalwart soloist too. Full-blowing, tonal modulations, brevity in presenting sangatis are among the virtues of his play.
Sangit Natak Akademi Award in 1990

SUKHANYA RAMGOPAL - GHATAM ARTISTE..........(b. June 13, 1957)
Percussion and woman are perhaps poles apart. Percussion continues to be a near-male-monopoly. In medical parlance, percuss is to tap gently with finger or instrument to diagnose. But when it comes to 'percussion' in musical sphere, usually it means 'forcible striking' of something - an instrument or otherwise. Perhaps, man in his chivalrous mood thought of retaining this 'forcible striking' task to himself or perhaps he was nervous of allowing the fair sex to get trained in it for obvious reasons. We see scores of woman vocalists and instrumentalists but few percussionists ! The first lady-mridangist is known to be Tirugokarnam Ranganayaki Ammal (Pudukottai) and there has probably been none playing on ghatam.

Sukhanya ramgopal was born in Mayiladuthurai (Thanjavur district) of K.Subramanyan 7 S.Renganayaki. She took training in ghatam from T.H>Vinayakaram, the ghatam maestro and his knowledgeable father, Harihara Sarma for six years. She made her debut performance at the age of fifteen. Sukhanya Ramgopal is now an accomplished, prominent and popular ghatam player of repute. She has won acclaim in India and abroad and is an 'A' grade artiste of All India Radio. She has been providing accompaniment to numerous vidwans in sabhas, radio, television, etc. with merit and grace. She has conducted and participated in many talavadya programmes. She is the reigning lady with the ghatam!

She has developed 'Laya Raga Sangama' where a raga is played with six ghatams with different srutis (pitch), persumably on the model of jalatarangam. Cups with water may produce ringing, rsonant tones but ghatam to produce sounds to formulate a raga is a herculean task. And Sukhanya has done it! No wonder, this great grand-daughter of mahamahopadhyaya Dr.U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar, the foremost of Tamil research scholars hailed as the Father of Tamil research, is capable of originality! .

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