Akkarai S Subhalakshmi, one of the young stars of India, is a Carnatic (South Indian classical) violinist and vocalist par excellence whose soulful music has touched the hearts of listeners around the world.
A child prodigy, Subhalakshmi hails from a musical family; her grandfather Suchindram Shri S P Sivasubramaniam was a prolific musician and composer, and her grandmother Smt R Sornambal a harikatha exponent and music teacher. Subhalakshmi is the disciple of her father, Akkarai Shri S Swamynathan, a veteran violinist and founder of the Swara Raga Sudha school of music, and his intensive training enabled her to debut as a performing vocalist and violinist at the tender age of eight. She also trained under Shri V Janakiraman, Shri O V Subramanian and his daughter Smt Padma Natesan in New Delhi, and, later on, Padmabhushan Shri P S Narayanaswamy and Chitravina Shri N Ravikiran, who in particular featured her as an accompanist in many of his concerts and provided her with invaluable musical guidance.
One of the leading Carnatic violinists today, Subhalakshmi's playing is characterized by a rich tone from precise bowing, as well as sensitive fingering, giving it a near-vocal quality. She has played alongside many legendary artistes, such as Dr M Balamuralikrishna, Chitravina N Ravikiran, T V Gopalakrishnan, Dr N Ramani, and R K Srikanthan, and is known for her unique acumen in blending seamlessly with the music, while enlivening and enhancing it skillfully. Her perfectionism and deep understanding of the nuances of music has enabled her to become a much sought-after vocalist as well.
Subhalakshmi's concerts have taken her all over the world, including Japan, Singapore, U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Italy, U.K., South Korea, the Middle East, Australia, Sri Lanka, and many more. She had played in the Indo-Russian cultural exchange programme at the age of thirteen, and has been featured in events like the Thtre de la Ville Festival (Paris), the farewell concert for Zubin Mehta (Munich), the Mahatma Gandhi Institute Sangeet Utsav (Mauritius), and the Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana (U.S.A.). Subhalakshmi has also played in jugalbandi and fusion concerts with Chitravina Ravikiran alongside artistes like Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Pt Ronu Majumdar. Subhalakshmi has also given many vocal and violin duet concerts alongside her younger sister Akkarai S Sornalatha, a prodigious artiste herself, and they are well-known as Akkarai Sisters'.
Numerous accolades have come her way; she received the Rajiv Gandhi Yuva Puraskar award from the President of India at the age of thirteen, and has since earned a host of awards, including Yuva Kala Bharathi (2002), the Kalki Krishnamurthy Memorial Award (2007), the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar award from the Sangeet Natak Akademy (2007), Vani Kala Nipuna (2012), the Shanmukha Shiromani (awarded to the sisters together in 2009), Kala Rathna from the Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana (2013). She was identified as one of India's 50 emerging stars by The Week magazine's issue commemorating the Indian nation's 50th anniversary. She is an A-Grade artiste for All India Radio.
Subhalakshmi has released many albums, both violin and vocal, such as Keeravani' and Varali', and duet albums with her sister, such as Inta Saukhyam' and Charsur's December Season 2012'. She is also much sought-after as a teacher for both vocal and violin.
She attributes all her success to her gurus, especially her father Akkarai Shri S Swamynathan, who established her as a musician and continues to guide her.
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