Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Bharata Ratna M.S. Subbulakshmi - Biography (1916 - 2004)



Date of Birth: 16 September 1916

Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi  also known as M.S. subbulakshmi, was a renowned Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician  to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award.

She is considered a genius in Carnatic Music.

Subbulakshmi  was born as Kunjamma  in Madurai, Madras Presidency, India to veena player Shanmukavadiver Ammal and Subramania Iyer. Her grandmother Akkammal was a violinist.

She started learning Carnatic music at an early age and trained in Carnatic music under the tutelage of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and subsequently in Hindustani music under Pandit Narayanrao Vyas.

Her mother was a regular stage performer. Subbulakhsmi's musical interests were also shaped by regular interactions with Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavathar and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar.

Subbulakshmi's first recording was released when she was 10 years old. Subbulakshmi gave her first public performance, at the age of eleven, in the year 1927, in the 100 pillar hall inside the Rockfort Temple, Tiruchirappalli; with Mysore Chowdiah on the violin and Dakshinamurthy Pillai on the mridangam. In 1936 Subbulakshmi moved to Madras now called  Chennai. Subbulakshmi gave her first performance at the prestigious Madras Music Academy in 1929,when she was 13 years old . The performance consisted of singing bhajans. The performance was impressed audience so much,  and earned her many admirers and the description of musical genius from critics. Soon, Subbulakshmi became one of the leading Carnatic vocalists. By the age of seventeen, Subbulakshmi was giving very popular concerts, including many  performances at the Madras Music Academy.

Her fame spread far and wide. She travelled to London, New York, Canada, the Far East, and other places as India's cultural ambassador. Her important concerts abroad include:

Edinburgh International Festival of Music and Drama in 1963
Carnegie Hall, New York; the UN General Assembly on UN day in 1966
Royal Albert Hall, London in 1982
Festival of India in Moscow in 1987

After the death of her husband Kalki Sadasivam in 1997, she stopped all her public performances.

She was widely honoured, praised and awarded.

Some of the Important Awards bestowed on M.S. Subbulakshmi

Padma Bhushan in 1954
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1956
Sangeetha Kalanidhi in 1968
Ramon Magsaysay award  in 1974
Padma Vibhushan in 1975
Sangeetha Kalasikhamani in 1975 by The Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai
Kalidas Samman in 1988
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration in 1990
Bharat Ratna in 1998.

She was honoured as Asthana Vidhwan of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Tirupati Urban Development Authority (TUDA) has installed a bronze statue of M.S. Subbulakshmi at the Poornakumbham circle in the temple town.

She left for heavenly abode on 11 December 2004 after many years of singing prayers and bhajans and helping crores of people to spend time in divine thoughts for good amount of time.



Magical Moments with M.S.




Bharat Ratna conferred on M S Subbulakshmi 1998

MS remembers her husband and laments that he was not around when she was given Bharat Ratna

News of her death

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