Carnatic Postage Stamp11

The Department of Posts issued a 5 Rupee commemorative stamp in honor of violinist Professor V. Lakshminarayana Iyer on 14 April 2004.

The following is from the Information Folder issued by Indian Posts & Telegraph Department, Government of India

Born on January 11, 1911, V. Lakshminarayana began his musical training as a four year old. Foilowing the Guru Shishya parampara flowing from Baluswamy Dikshitar, V. Lakshminarayana is credited with introducing and adapting a Western violin to Indian music.

At the tender age of seven he began performing at concerts of vocal music and earned a reputation for musical virtuosity among both critics and connoisseurs. His interest in the violin, however, took him to Thimpableadal Srinivasa Iyengar and he was soon performing and teaching both vocal music and the violin.

The 1940s saw his appointment as a Professor of Music at the Jaffna College in Sri Lanka where he performed and recorded extensively. From 1955-58 he led the Radio Ceylon Orchestra, Colombo, and often performed and recorded many solos. Following the riots in Sri Lanka, he returned to India in 1958. His performances in India, South-East Asia and the United States were now interspersed with teaching various students, foremost among whom were his own three sons, L. Vaidyanathan, L. Subramaniam and L. Shankar.

What sets Professor V. Lakshminarayana apart is the introduction of playing and bowing techniques wherein all four fingers of the left hand are used, playing and plucking the strings simultaneously. The vigorous right-hand techniques introduced and taught by him intrigued some of the greatest musicians like Lord Yehudi Menuhin and Stephanne Grapelli. Professor Lakshminarayana was also a talented composer. His compositions which have been recorded and published are performed even today. He was the first person to attempt to play ‘Vamams’ in five speeds (Pancha Nadai) which earned him the nickname of Panchanadai Lakshminarayana.

The rich tradition and heritage left behind by V. Lakshminarayana has been carried forward by his son Padma Bhushan Dr. L. Surbramaniam nationally as well as internationally. The Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival has been instituted as the tribute of a son to his father and Guru after the demise of V. Lakshminarayana in 1990.Artistes of formidable talent and repute from across the world have participated in this festival. They include Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Steven Seagal, Larry Coryell, Tone Hulbaekmo, Sekou Keita, Hans Fredrick Jacobsen, Arve Tellefsen, Christian Eggen, Sinnika Langeland, Nicklaus Roswall, Marcus Svensson, Kim Menzer, Thomas Menzer, Astrid Van Heiden, and Tom Roy Neilsen, apart from Dr. L.Subramaniam, Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam and members of V. Lakshminarayana’s talented family.

The Lakshminarayana International Award, instituted in his memory was first bestowed upon Lord Yehudi Menuhin. Subsequent recipients are Pandit V.G. Jog and Dr. Semrnangudi Srinivasa Iyer.

V.Lakshminarayana continues to live not only in the memory of his students and family, but in the notes of music that have reached across the world. The Department of Posts celebrates the man and his music by issuing a commemorative postage stamp.