Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer was born in 1908 at Tirukkodikaval. He hailed from a family of musicians. Violin maestro Krishna Iyer was his maternal uncle. A disciple of Semmangudi Narayanaswm Iyer, Gottuvadyam exponent Sakharama Rao, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer and Umayalpuram Swaminatha Iyer, he began performing in 1926.
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer's biggest contribution to the Carnatic music lay in the huge effort he had put in to re-invent and popularize the works of great composer Swati Tirunal. He notated and edited Swati Tirunal's compositions following his appointment as the Principal of Swati Tirunal Music College in Trivandrum. A purist to the core, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer frowned upon avoidable experiments in Carnatic music world. His strict adherence to the tradition saw him, at times, cross swords with the likes of Veena Balachander and Dr. Balamuralikrishna.
For many, he was a living library. His extraordinary memory had seen many an artiste often prick his brain at available opportunity to draw huge lessons. He elicited instant respect among elder musicians. For younger ones, he is an icon. His very presence - even it was brief - in their concerts was tonic enough for many to elevate their performance.
He stood like a banyan tree. In an era of modernization and technological advancement, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer provided the re-assuring link and exercised a civilizing influence on musicians and listeners of all hues.