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Friday, July 14, 2000

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Richly deserved honour

THE SRI Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, which is celebrating its centenary this year, also celebrated the 81st birthday of the veena vidwan, R. Pichumani Iyer, on July 7.One of the foremost veena vidwans of Carnatic music, he was born in 1920. He comes from a family of musicians. He had early training in vocal music from Jalar Gopala Iyer and learnt to play on the veena from Tiruchi Kuppanna. He studied up to SSLC in the National College. Later, he joined the Annamamalai University and obtained the ``Sangeetha Bhooshanam'' degree in veena after finishing four years of intensive training under stalwarts such as Tiger Varadachariar, K. S. Narayanaswami Iyer and V. Gomathi Sankara Iyer. A dedicated artiste Pichumani Iyer has enjoyed a steady and dignified professional career for the past five decades. His performances were appreciated for his gamaka-oriented veena playing.

Among the important awards given to him are Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Manram, and the Central Sangeetha Nataka Akademi (president's award) in 1988. He served as secretary of the Tyaga Brahma Mahotsava Sabha in Thiruvaiyaru for one year in 1980.

The Paramacharya of Kancheepuram Kama Koti Peetam honoured him with the title ``Veena Nadamani.''

He has invented a new raga, Vasantha Kaishiki, a janya of the 18th Mela and has composed songs and tillanas in the raga. He has trained P. Vasantha Kumar, Vasantha Krishnamoorthy, B. Kannan, Ramanatha Iyer and Gopinatha Iyer.

- R.S.

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