Multifaceted musicologist

A RECIPIENT of the Sangit Natak Akademi award (1999-2000), Dr. S. R. Janakiraman (`SRJ' as he is popularly known in the music field) is a multifaceted personality. He is a musician, an authority on the Music Trinity and many Tamil composers, a good music teacher, a guide for music students taking up Ph.D., a musicologist and the author of music publications.

Born in 1928, SRJ started learning music at the age of 10 along with his sister under Neelamegham Pillai. While in school, he learnt under several great masters such as Srinivasa Rao, Thanneerpalli Krishnamurthy Iyer, flute Thyagaraja Iyer, K. R. Saptharishi Iyer and V. Balasubramania Iyer - disciples of Sathur Krishna Iyengar and Alathur Venkatesa Iyer.

A graduate of Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, SRJ studied music at the University of Madras and Kalakshetra where he came under the tutelage of eminent musicians such as Tiger Varadhachariar, Budalur Krishnamurthy Sastrigal and T. K. Ramaswamy Iyengar. At the Central College of Carnatic Music, he studied under renowned vidwans including Musiri Subramania Iyer, Tiruppamburam Swaminatha Pillai, Mayuram Krishna Iyer and T. Brinda.

``At both the Kalakshetra and the Central College of Carnatic Music, there prevailed a `gurukula' atmosphere and the teachers utilised their full time for teaching with a sense of discipline, expecting the students to be intelligent and hardworking with a keen sense of initiative,'' recalls SRJ.

His career of performing in public commenced in 1954, when he sang for the first time at the Music Academy, Chennai. He has presented concerts at almost all the sabhas in Chennai and also at various places outside.

SRJ was invited by Sri Venkateswara Temple at Pittsburgh (U.S.) on a project to teach students of Carnatic music in North America. He rendered concerts and lecture-demonstrations in more than a dozen cities during the visit.

One of the top-ranking vocal artistes of AIR and Doordarshan, SRJ is an authority on Annamacharya songs and has set to music the compositions in the original ragas.

SRJ not only imparts instructions in music and musicology, but more important, helps students obtain a high degree of music culture. His disciples include Dr. N. Ramanathan, Pakala Ramadoss, Allam Durgaprasad, K. V. Ramanujam and Alamuru Sudharani.

SRJ's style is marked by powerful delivery, expression and diction. His practice of analysing original treatises, of reading between the lines and of evolving one's own ideals and concepts have earned him a special place as musicologist. He was associated with the Music Academy as a Senior Professor of the Teachers' College of Music for a couple of years and later as a Research Officer for over five years.

SRJ has extended his service to the cause of music in the fields of publications and cassettes too.

Among the several titles conferred on SRJ are Sangita Kala Acharya, TTK Award (both Music Academy), Sangeetha Kala Sagara (Cleveland), Isai Kalai Chelvar, SNA and Andhra Pradesh Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Awards, Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and Kalaimamani (Tamil Nadu Government).