In memory of Guru Semmangudi

The Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer Golden Jubilee Trust was founded in 1976 on the doyen’s completion of 50 years of service to Carnatic music. It was a unique gesture by the sishyas, led by V. Subrahmaniam, for their guru.

The Trust was later renamed Semmangudi Foundation and will be celebrating the 45th year of its launch, this year. One of the foremost violinists of today R. K. Shriramkumar accompanied by Manoj Siva on the mridangam and Karthick on the ghatam will present a virtual concert July 25. Originally, the Trust conducted a week-long music festival coinciding with Semmangudi’s birthday on July 25. One senior musician would be honoured every year . Struggling and talented musicians were identified and a monthly pension was given to them. After the demise of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer on October 31, 2003, the Trust also conducted a shraddhanjali every year in his memory. This was a group concert led by the senior disciples and their sishyas, all belonging to ‘Semmangudi bani”. This included students of P.S. Narayananswamy, K.R. Kedaranathan, Seetha Rajan and V. Subrahmaniam (V.S.).

In 2008, a centenary committee was formed and the Semmangudi Foundationorganised a three-day music festival at the Music Academy. A coffee table book, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer Life and Music written by V. S. and V. Sriram was released on this occasion. Also released was the audio of the concert performed by Semmangudi in 1974, accompanied by Lalgudi G. Jayaraman on the violin and Trichy Sankaran on the mridangam. This festival featured the three monumental swarajathis sung by Semmangudi’s leading disciples and a recording of it was made available to the public. There were concerts of senior musicians.

The Semmangudi bani is epitomised by perfect patantharam, its nadaswara bani of singing with sweeping sancharas, delving deep into ragas, the unparalleled singing of swaras and neravals. Sri. Semmangudi combined both lakshana and lakshya in his music which he imparted to his students.

He gifted V.S., one of his seniormost disciples, his Pillayar tambura. The speciality of this tambura is that it is made from the gottuvadyam of Sakharama Rao, one of Semmangudi’s gurus.

The Foundation is now managed by trustees Meenakshi Ganesh, K.N. Viswanathan, Sharada Sriram and Karthik Narayanan. Well-known vainika P. Vasanthkumar, who passed away recently, made siginificant contribution to the foundation’s art initiatives.

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