World Music Institute (WMI) and 92nd Street Y (92Y) are presenting India’s classical Carnatic violin virtuoso Dr. L. Subramaniam on Feb. 5 as part of WMI’s Masters of Indian Music series.
Subramaniam will be accompanied by his son Ambi Subramaniam, who also plays violin, along with Mahesh Krishnamurthy on mridangam drum and fellow percussionist Ravi Balasubramaniam on the ghatam clay pot. It is the only North American performance presented as part of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival founded by Subramaniam to honor his late father, Professor V. Lakshminarayana, also a violin master and teacher; sponsored by The Times of India, the festival has been held in 49 cities in 20 countries.
Called “The Paganini of Indian Classical music,” Subramaniam has earned international renown for his artistry and a style that celebrates both Western classical music and the classical music tradition in Southern India known as Carnatic music. He has made more than 200 recordings and collaborated with artists including George Harrison, Stevie Wonder, Yehudi Menuhin, Jean Pierre-Rampal, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Stéphane Grappelli and Maynard Ferguson.
As a composer, Subramaniam has written works for orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, the Swiss Romande Orchestra, The Kirov Ballet, The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and The Berlin Opera. He has composed music for the films Salaam Bombay and Mississippi Masala, and was featured soloist for the Little Buddha and Cotton Mary film scores. His compositions have also been performed by ballet and dance groups like the Cleveland San Jose Ballet and the Alvin Ailey Company.
Additionally, Subramaniam has won numerous awards for his musicianship in South Asia, along with honorary doctorates from several universities. He has co-authored with daughter Bindu Subramaniam an Indian classical music instruction book for young children.
“L. Subramaniam is quite simply one of India’s greatest musicians and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as such luminaries as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Amjad Ali Khan, and Hariprasad Chaurasia,” says WMI artistic director Par Neiburger. “He is arguably India’s greatest exponent of classical violin, and as a violinist, his musicianship is largely unparalleled. His upcoming Indian classical concert continues the long legacy of World Music Institute’s Masters of Indian Music series [and] is the only North American concert that’s part of the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, which has grown to be a multi-cultural music event that takes place in many countries around the world. Playing alongside his son and fellow violinist Ambi Subramaniam, this event celebrates the legacy of three generations of India’s master violinists.”
Chicago blues legend Corky Siegel has performed extensively with Subramaniam in the latter’s Global Fusion concerts in India and the U.S.
“Dr. L. Subramaniam is one of those people that everyone falls in love with and one of those people that just makes you feel good when he’s around,” says Siegel. “And then there’s his music, and his playing. Listen closely if you want to know what heaven feels like.”
On Feb. 20 and 21 Subramaniam will premiere a violin concerto and three symphonic and vocal poems with the Lancaster Symphony in Lancaster, Pa., in a program entitled From Bollywood to Concerto, in which his wife Kavita Krishnamurthy, the celebrated Bollywood playback singer, will debut her husband’s new vocal works.