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Semmangudi, Carnatic music doyen, dead

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Last updated on: October 31, 2003 17:31 IST

Renowned Carnatic musician Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer died at his residence in Chennai on Friday morning.

Born on July 25, 1908, at Semmangudi village in Thanjavur district, Srinivasa Iyer started his music training at the age of eight. Luminaries like Gottuvadyam Sakharama Rao and Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer taught him.

His debut as a concert singer came in 1926 and his 'patnapravesam' (entry to city) coincided with the birth of the Madras Music Academy in 1927, when he sang at the Indian National Congress convention.

Srinivasa Iyer came into prominence in 1948, when he was conferred the Sangitha Kalanidhi award. He was then the youngest to receive the coveted award, that too a year after his own guru, Viswanatha Iyer, received the honour.

A versatile raga exponent, he set the tune to Maharaja Swathi Thirunal's (the late Travancore King) kirthis (verses).

He was the chief producer of All India Radio for many decades and had given concerts all over the country.

Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bai of Travancore and her Diwan, the late C P Ramaswamy Iyer, acknowledged his genius and appointed him as the principal of the Swathi Thirunal Music College, Thiruvananthapuram. He held the post till 1963.

Among his most celebrated pupils were renowed vocalist 'Bharat Ratna' M S Subbulakshmi, T N Krishnan, T M Thiayagarajan, T S Narayanaswamy and Kadayanallur Venkataraman.

He won countless awards, including the Padma Bhushan.

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