Legendary Lalgudi Jayaraman, who died at a private hospital in Chennai on Monday at 82 after a brief illness, was to the violin what Pandit Ravi Shankar was to the sitar.
Born on September 17, 1930, into a musical family, Jayaraman showed signs of genius as a child and had begun performing at the age of 12. Trained in Carnatic classical style, he was known the world over for a new technique that is more suited to the needs of Indian music and is also remembered for introducing concepts of musical ensembles with the violin, flute and veena way back in the 1960s.
Lalgudi, a Padma Bhushan awardee as well as a composer, has been credited with giving the violin pride of place as a solo instrument in Carnatic music. Till he made it large on the music scene, the violin was a mere accompaniment.
“Lalgudi Jayaraman was indeed the Bhishma Pitamah of the violin in Carnatic music. His enormous musical knowledge helped singers like me also,” recalled Carnatic singer Bombay Jayashree Ramnath.
His jugalbandis with Hindustani classical musicians and instrumentalists such as Ustad Amjad Ali Khan made him popular with audiences across India. Widely travelled, Jayaraman had represented India at several music festivals in different countries.
He is survived by a son and daughter, also famous violinists.