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In Remembrance - Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer

Ranjani Saigal

The great doyen of Carnatic music, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer died in his residence on Oct 31, 2003. He was 95. Considered the ‘Pitamaha’ of Carnatic musicians this maestro was the link between the glorious past and the present for Carnatic music. A recipient of the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards, Semmangudi had also won the prestigious Sangeetha Kalanidhi title from the Music Academy, Chennai. He also was the first principle of the Swathi Thirunal Academy who helped shape it into a fine music training college.

His music was the very epitome of classicism and his adherence to the pure and orthodox traditions was unwavering. He was not blessed with a good voice. Yet with his passion for the art and dedication he brought a special touch to all his presentations. His sangathis are considered almost irreproducible. His recordings continue to inspire the best of Carnatic musicians even today.

His life has been the subject of two books Semmangudi - A mosaic portrait and Semmangudi - 80. He will be missed by all rasikas of Carnatic music. He leaves a void in the music world that will be hard to fill.

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