Shri S. R. Janakiraman (b. 1928), or Professor SRJ, as he is affectionately known in music circles, is a veteran musician and brilliant musicologist renowned for his powerfully authoritative and profoundly inspiring lecture-demonstrations, which continue to draw august audiences from all over the world.
He received training under several great masters such as Tiger Varadachari, Budalur Krishnamurti Sastri, T K Ramasami Ayyangar and Kalpagam Swaminathan at Kalakshetra, and Musiri Subramanya Ayyar, Tiruppambaram Swaminatha Pillai, Mayavaram V V Krishna Ayyar and T Brinda at the erstwhile Central College of Carnatic Music. He was trained in musicology by Professors P Sambamoorthy, Balakrishna Ayya and P K Rajagopala Ayyar.
In addition to his gurus’ immense knowledge and wisdom, Professor SRJ has also imbibed a style of presentation marked by powerful delivery, expression, and diction. His method of analysing original treatises and evolving one’s own ideals and concepts through educated interpretation and balanced assessment soon earned him a high place in the annals of musicology in India.
Professor SRJ has has taught musicology at various levels, including advanced, graduate and post-graduate courses, for over 30 years.
He was the Head of the Dept. of Musicology at Sri Venkateswara College of Music, Tirupati. Later he was associated with The Music Academy, Chennai as a Research scholar and an Advisory Member of the Experts Committee. He recently retired as the Principal of The Music Academy Teacher’s College of Music in Chennai.
Professor SRJ’s excellence in the theoretical and practical aspects of music have earned him several titles including Sangita Siromani, Sangita Kala Acharya, Kalaimamani, and Nadayogi. He is also a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
He has authored several books including “Sangita Sastra Saramu” in Telugu, three volumes of “Raga Lakshanas” & “Ragas of Saramrta”, and most recently, “Essentials of Musicology in South Indian Music”, the latter of which won the prestigious “Sangeetvikas Award 2010” for Best Book. He has also presented a 3-hour video documentary titled “Varna through the Ages” and an audio-visual dissertation on the 72 melakartas.
Professor SRJ holds the philosophy that, in addition to basic musical skill, a rigorous education in Carnatic Music must seek to impart a high degree of musical culture and taste. He is regarded by his students to be a disciplinarian, embodying the old-school traditions of the pursuit of perfection through practice, but also a giving and highly affectionate teacher motivated by the desire to see his students succeed.
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