Music is a powerful tool to harmonize Man with himself and his global environment
– Dr.K.S.Subramanian

Brhaddhvani is the vision of Dr.Karaikudi S.Subramanian, a ninth generation vina player, grand nephew and adopted son of Karaikudi Vinai Sambasiva Iyer, the legendary vina player who was the first to receive the Presidential Award in 1952. Dr. Karaikudi Subramanian (Formerly Professor of Music, Department of Indian Music, University of Madras, 1986-2002) with the blessings of Dr. S. Seetha (Formerly Professor and Head of the Department of Indian Music, University of Madras) founded this organization in 1989 as a non-profit, tax exempted, registered trust. The trustees are eminent personalities in different disciplines, now chaired by Sri. Vinod Kumar (Visa International.)
Dr.Subramanian is one of the senior most A graded performing artistes on the vina with All India Radio. His musical experience begins from his boyhood from his mother Lakshmi Ammal and in the company of foremost traditional maestros of India extending to avant-garde artistes in a global context. His collegiate education spans from chemistry and English literature at the bachelors and post-graduate level respectively, to ethnomusicology for his doctorate at the Wesleyan University, USA. He is a combination of a vina player, an educationist, a writer, composer, and a producer.
Subramanian believes, ‘Music is a powerful tool to harmonize man with himself and with is global environment.’ His love and respect for humanity and individual freedom urges him to explore new ways to realize this. He has lived abroad for a decade, learning, teaching and performing music. Since 1989, his focus turned towards bridging the gap between the ‘gurukula’ and the ‘institution’ in music education. He attempts to revitalize music from a new perspective. Brhaddhvani now offers this vision to the World music community.
The Search
The critical mind of Dr.Subramanian started from very early. The weight of tradition as the ninth generation vina artiste but without ‘proper’ supportive elements from within the family and society at large was too much for him to carry along. This made him search for a new meaning for tradition. He began journeying within himself and around the globe with education in chemistry and English literature with a natural inclination for abstraction and philosophy. He discovered the value of institutional learning, the value of a critical and just mind, the values in evaluating tradition from a comparative perspective.
Dr.Subramanian’s research extended to Ethnomusicology for his PhD. in Wesleyan University (1975-85) where he rediscovered his own tradition from a global perspective. His research in vina styles taught him to look closer to details with an eye on the wholeness. He began feeling that there should be a better way of dealing with tradition, not as a compelled or deliberate acquisition, but as a worthwhile search to discover one’s identity in whatever context one is likely to be.
Dr.Subramnian’s performing and teaching experience in music extends from traditional to the most innovative and experimental. With this, he came to India in 1986 and joined the faculty of music at the University of Madras. His research into institutional learning in India with respect to music made him once again adventure into new realms in music education with the right admixture of the ‘gurukula’ and the ‘institution’. He has come up with an answer – Brhaddhvani, Research and Training Centre for Musics of the World.
Office address:
Department of Indian Music University of Madras, Madras – 600 005.

Founder & Director,
Research and Training Centre For the Musics of the World, (An 80-G tax exempted non-profit organization)
27/55, 3rd Street, East Abhiramapuram, Mylapore, Chennai 600004, Tamilnadu, India
Tel: 91 – 44 – 24988875 / 24988805
Email: veenaisubramanian@

Date of birth: October 23, 1944
Place of birth: Madurai, Tamilnadu, India.
Fields of Specialization : Performance (South Indian Vina)
Music Education : Ethnomusicology (South Asian music)
Heritage : Ninth generation Vina player Grand nephew and adopted son of the celebrated vina player, Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer.
Ph.D [Ethnomusicology] Wesleyan university 1985
M A [Music], Wesleyan University 1977
M A [English], Madurai Kamarajar University 1969
B Sc [Chemistry], Madura Collage University of Madras 1963
Positions held:
Regular Professor, Department of Indian Music, University of Madras (1986-)
Assistant Professor of Music, Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam, College of Music, Madurai [1980-81] Lecturer in English,Vivekananda College, Madras, University of Madras [1972-75] Tutor in English,Vivekananda College, Madras, University of Madras [1970-72] Lecturer in English, Madura College, Madurai [1969-70] Demonstrator in Chemistry, Madura Collage Madurai 1965-67
Visiting Professor, Amherst College Oct.1999
Valentine Professor of Music, Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA [Spring 1991] Visiting Artiste, York University,Toronto,Canda [1984 & 92] Visiting Artiste, Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society [1981-83] Visiting Artiste, National University of Singapore [1983] Fellowships:
Teaching Fellowship towards the doctoral
degree in Ethnomusicology, Wesleyann University USA. [1975-79] Asian Cultural Council Fellowship towards
completion of Ph. D. [1984-85] Copeland Fellowship to work on the Teaching methodology from Amherst College,
Massachusetts, USA [1986] Awards:
PREIS DER DEUTSCHEN SCHALLPLATTEN KRITIK award for the MUSIC FUR VINA album released by Museum Fur Volkerkunde, Berlin, Germany. [1980] Suryakanthamma Memorial Awardbest demonstration and paper presentation, From Tamil folk to classical in the South IndianMusical Tradition, at the annual conference of the Music Academy, Madras. [May 1991] NAIRD award for SUNADA compact disc on Music of the World by the NAIRD BOARD of Trustees, Chicago.[May 1994] Musical Training in Vina:
Lakshmi Ammal (Mother) 1950-56
Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer 1957-58
Rajeswari Padmanabhan & Ranganayaki Rajagopalan (repertoire) 1959-6
Traditional area:
Residency towards a diploma in music 1957-61
Kalakshetra, Madras
Song Repertoire:
Ramanathapuram Sankarasivam
Pattamadai Krishnan
Dr.T Viswanathan
Cross-cultural area:
from John Barlow (U.S.A)
Koto Namino Torii (Japan
Gamelan from Sumarsam (Indonesia)
The music of the Navajosfrom David Mc. Allester (U.S.A)
Western music theory from Richard Winslow (U.S.A)
Theory of Ethnomusicology from Mark Slobin (U.S.A)
Doctoral guidance:
Jon Barlow, Jon Higgins, & T. Viswanathan
An ‘A’ grade Vina performer in All India Radio,
Madras. Has been performing since 1967.
Since 1975 performing widely in India Singapore, Malaysia, Europe, Canada and USAwith top ranking artistes, in Universities, museums, private organizations, conferences, in Radio and Television. Performed a special fund raising concert in Bloomfield, Connecticut to help the survivors of the cyclone that hit the coastal Andhra Pradesh. (1977)
Have performed experimental concert with Prof. David Reck (New Music Composer,U.S.A) (1978), George Mathew (Organ and Carillon Player, U.S.A. 1979), Hans Peter (from Switzerland, Piano1986) and Handel Manuel (from India, Piano,1987).
Publications (Books)
Editor ‘Rishabham’, the second in the series of music books published by Singapore Indian Fine Arts Society, Singapore. (1982)
Compositions of Anai-Ayya Brothers – Published by Brhaddhvani, Madras. (1990)
Manodharma Sangeetham of Dr. Sreepada Pinakapani, published by Brhaddhvani. (1992)
Author Gandharam, the third in the above mentioned series (Carnatic music theory and notated songs) (1984)
South Indian Vina-tradition and Individual style, the doctoral dissertation, in three volumes ( 712 pages) submitted to Wesleyan University. Published by Micro-films University, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. (1986)