Song of Surrender

Friday, 4 October 2013

TRS is no more

By V Ramnarayan                                                                                         
Chennai, 4th October 2013

Sruti magazine's first subscriber, musician, musicologist, guru, composer and steadfast champion of youth, TR Subramanyam, widely acknowledged as a musician's musician and a master of laya, passed away this afternoon. He was in his eighties, and though he suffered a stroke many years ago, seemed to be in reasonable health until yesterday, when he attended a concert featuring young vocalist Brinda Manickavasagam.

A disciple of Musiri Subramania Iyer at the Government College of Music, Madras, he was an unabashed admirer of GN Balsubramaniam.

A great promoter of young talent, both through his Music Education Trust, and as a benign presence at many concerts featuring young artists, TRS (in his Tata Nano) was a familiar sight at concert venues all over Chennai. He was also a lively, sometimes iconoclastic participant in several lecture-demonstrations including the academic sessions at The Music Academy during the December season. 

Sruti magazine was perhaps unduly harsh on the vidwan while publicising a controversial research thesis by one of his disciples several years ago, and it has been our endeavour in the recent past to undo some of the damage done by that expose. We in fact commissioned his profile for publication more than a year ago, in the hope that TRS would live to read it. After initial hesitation, he too happily agreed to cooperate with us. Unfortunately, the profile will now appear posthumously. 

Most musicians, critics, his legion of sishyas and mature music lovers believe that TR Subramanyam was a rare scholar, musician and teacher, a view that will be reflected in our tribute to him. A truly great loss to Carnatic music.


  1. Was indeed touched by your last two paras especially.

  2. nirmala rajasekar4 October 2013 at 22:31

    It is indeed a great loss to the world of music. Sir --with whom I have had the privilege learning from since 1989 taught music such that every nuance was highlighted subtly --he visited Minneapolis in 2004 where he accepted a request to teach us all something simple -- the result was a session after dinner at 10 pm lovely kanda nadai pallavi that was taught across the spectrum from a 6 year old to a mature 40 + year old irrespective of peoples' backgrounds and training in make everyone appreciate the pallavi in for different reasons ---once again Sir showed us how he was able to make such a tough pallvi so aesthetically pleasing and appealing--- his first pallavi rule. the melody and sahithyam should reign supreme-
    Sir my humble pranams --for all those golden words of wisdom, your thoughtfulness and kindness -(the endless cups of tea and snacks that mami would provide -during the hours of classes to us all )--the list is long.May you rest in peace -

    1. It was true that he was an admirer of my uncle Sri GNB.

      TVG, Sangeethapriya

  3. He supported many young artist by giving chance in his monthly concert conducted at "Parvathi" in Chennai.


  4. Touching and fitting post! A training under TRS literally opens up the inner eye and helps seek true music beyond all distractions! As a student who benefited from this knowledge I truly grieve and will forever miss his loving presence! -- Aravind Narasimhan.