Madokaram Prashanth Iyengar Veena Exponent

Serving at the feet of Lord Lakshminarasimha

Journey with the Veena

Prashanth Iyengar, possesses an inherent, innate understanding of music, which he skilfully brings to life. He has dedicated over thirty-five years to the field of music, successfully achieving his noble aspirations. Being born into a family of musicians, scholars, and Sanskrit virtuosos associated with the former Mysore Royal Palace, Prashanth’s musical talent began to flourish at the tender age of five. His exceptional prowess on the Veena, a complex and divine instrument, can only be described as that of a natural musical prodigy. By the age of eight, he effortlessly performed intricate compositions of Karnataka Music.

Prashanth Iyengar hails from the esteemed lineage of the renowned Saint composer Sri Tyagaraja, and he received extensive training from the prestigious Mysore Subbanna school of Veena. Initially, his mother, Smt Padmasini Narasimhachar, served as his tutor, and he also had the privilege of learning from the illustrious Veena Maestro ‘Kalaimamani’ R K Suryanarayana. Through constant experimentation, Prashanth has developed his unique playing style, which showcases his profound understanding of music and is influenced by maestros such as Vidwan S Balachander and Prof R Vishweshwaran.

Prashanth captivates his audience with his distinctive presentation, enhanced by the resonating sympathetic strings he has innovatively incorporated into his Veena. His approach to showcasing different musical genres has garnered widespread appreciation from music enthusiasts. The harmonious coordination of diverse instrumental sounds emanating from his Veena creates a delightful experience for the audience, thanks to the mellow strokes and his skillful mastery. His concerts seamlessly blend various forms of music, receiving accolades from connoisseurs worldwide.

Blessings perceived as accomplishments:

  1. Setting a world record: He achieved recognition in the Limca Book of Records for the longest marathon Veena concert, a remarkable 25-hour performance held in Srirangapattana on April 21, 2010.
  2. Pioneering an integrated system of education: While serving as the in-charge of the music department in the Directorate of Textbooks, Government of Karnataka, he introduced an innovative system that integrated music, theater, and yoga. This system was implemented under the State Government Trimester Scheme for Middle and High schools.
  3. Composition milestone: Prashanth Iyengar holds the distinction of being the first composer from Karnataka to have composed ‘Varnams’ in all the ’72 Melakartha Ragas,’ an impressive achievement following in the footsteps of the renowned musician Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna. He is also recognized as the second youngest composer to accomplish this feat.
  4. Academic success: He secured the third rank in the Vidwath Examination, which is equivalent to a master’s degree course conducted by the Government of Karnataka.
  5. Recognition in competitions: Prashanth won the prestigious first prize in the Madras Music Academy, showcasing his exceptional musical talent and skills.
  6. Notable performances: He had the honor of performing before the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, J H Patel, at the banquet hall of Vidhana Soudha during the Kannada Rajyothsava celebrations in 1997, highlighting his recognition as a prominent musician.
  7. Reconstruction of ancient Veena: Prashanth reconstructed and presented the Pandarika Vitthala Mela Veena, as described in the ancient Indian musical treatise Nartana Nirnaya from the 16th century. This live demonstration took place during the ‘Shastrotsava – 2015’ National Seminar organized by the Indira Gandhi National Center for Arts, New Delhi, India’s premier cultural center.
  8. International performances: He became the first Veena artist to perform in Venice and Verona, Italy, in 2018, expanding the reach and appreciation of his music to international audiences.

These accomplishments reflect Prashanth Iyengar’s exceptional talent, dedication, and contributions to the field of music, establishing him as a prominent figure in the world of Carnatic music.

Prashanth Iyengar as an able music Composer:

Prashanth Iyengar is not only an accomplished Veena artist and music educator but also a skilled composer. His compositions span a wide range of musical forms and genres, showcasing his versatility and creativity as a composer. Some of his notable compositions include:

  1. Sarales: Prashanth Iyengar has composed 72 Sarales, which are basic exercises used for training in Carnatic music. These compositions serve as fundamental building blocks for developing proficiency in ragas and swaras.
  2. Dhatu Janti Gamaka Alankaras: He has composed Dhatu Janti Gamaka Alankaras, which are melodic patterns incorporating intricate ornamentations and gamakas. These compositions showcase his expertise in incorporating subtle nuances into his music.
  3. Swarajathis: Prashanth Iyengar’s repertoire includes 24 Swarajathis, which are melodic compositions with intricate rhythmic patterns. These compositions demonstrate his skill in combining melody and rhythm in a harmonious manner.
  4. Varnas: Prashanth Iyengar has composed 108 Varnas, which are musical compositions characterized by their rhythmic and melodic complexity. Among these, he has included 72 Melartha Varnams, compositions based on the 72 Melakartha ragas, showcasing his mastery of these foundational ragas.
  5. Keertanas: His compositions include 100 Keertanas, which are devotional songs expressing praise and devotion to deities. These compositions reflect his deep spiritual connection and his ability to convey emotions through music.
  6. Devaranamas: Prashanth Iyengar has composed 10 Devaranamas, which are devotional compositions dedicated to the divine. These compositions highlight his reverence and devotion towards spiritual themes.

Prashanth Iyengar’s extensive repertoire as a composer showcases his profound understanding of Carnatic music and his ability to create captivating compositions in various forms. His compositions contribute to the rich heritage of Carnatic music and continue to inspire and engage musicians and music lovers alike.

Prashanth Iyengar’s Proficiency as a Music Organizer

Prashanth Iyengar is not only an accomplished musician but also an efficient music organizer. He has pioneered several initiatives and played key roles in various organizations related to music. Some of his notable contributions include:

  1. Pioneer of the exclusive conference dedicated to Saraswati Veena: In 2014, Prashanth took the initiative to start the Veena Tattva Prakashika conference, the first of its kind in the history of Karnataka Music. This conference focuses specifically on the Saraswati Veena, showcasing its rich traditions and promoting its significance in the musical landscape.
  2. Managing Trustee of Veenaganalaya, Sreerama Centre of Performing Arts Trust: Prashanth serves as the Managing Trustee of Veenaganalaya, a prestigious organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of performing arts, with a specific focus on the Veena. His role involves overseeing the activities and operations of the trust, ensuring its smooth functioning and furthering its objectives.
  3. Vice-President and Trustee of Sree Karanji Sree Rama Seva Samithi: Prashanth holds the position of Vice-President and Trustee in Sree Karanji Sree Rama Seva Samithi, an esteemed organization located in Basavanagudi, Bangalore. This organization is committed to the service of Lord Rama and undertakes various cultural and philanthropic initiatives in the community.
  4. Founder Trustee and Secretary of Karnataka Classical Music Confederation Trust: Prashanth is the Founder Trustee and Secretary of the Karnataka Classical Music Confederation Trust, headquartered in Bangalore. This trust aims to bring together and unite various stakeholders in the classical music community, fostering collaboration, creating platforms for performances, and promoting the art form across Karnataka.

Through his involvement in these roles, Prashanth Iyengar has made significant contributions to the field of music organization, facilitating the growth and development of classical music, particularly in relation to the Veena, while also actively engaging in community service and cultural enrichment.

Prashanth Iyengar’s Endeavors as a Media Publisher

Prashanth Iyengar has also made notable contributions as a media publisher, releasing various CDs and audio cassettes through different platforms. Some of his notable publications include:

  1. “Guru Vandana” CD’s and Audio Cassettes by Akshaya Audios: Prashanth Iyengar has collaborated with Akshaya Audios to release the “Guru Vandana” collection. These CDs and audio cassettes pay homage to the revered gurus (teachers) of music and showcase their invaluable contributions. The collection serves as a tribute to the rich lineage of music and the guidance received from these influential mentors.
  2. “Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam” by Lahari Reviews: Prashanth Iyengar’s musical prowess is showcased in the album titled “Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam,” published by Lahari Reviews. This album pays tribute to the legendary composer Tyagaraja and presents his compositions in a unique and soulful manner, highlighting the essence of devotion and spirituality in his music.
  3. “Mannollasini – Veena Violin Duet” by Vidwan Prashanth Iyengar and Vidushi Dr. Jyothsna Srikanth: Prashanth Iyengar collaborated with the renowned violinist Vidushi Dr. Jyothsna Srikanth to create the album “Mannollasini.” This unique and mesmerizing Veena-Violin duet showcases their exceptional artistry and brings together the melodious sounds of both instruments, creating a captivating musical experience.

Through these media publications, Prashanth Iyengar has made his musical creations and collaborations accessible to a wider audience, allowing music enthusiasts to appreciate and enjoy his unique interpretations, as well as his collaborations with other talented artists.

Prashanth Iyengar has had notable encounters with popular media platforms, where his talent and performances have been showcased to a wider audience. Some of his experiences include:

  1. Telecasts on Doordarshan and Udaya TV: Prashanth Iyengar’s Veena recitals have been featured on Doordarshan, a prominent national television network in India, as well as Udaya TV. These telecasts have provided viewers with the opportunity to witness and appreciate his exceptional Veena performances.
  2. “Dasha Veena Recital” for Udaya TV: On the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami, Prashanth Iyengar presented a special program titled “Dasha Veena Recital” for Udaya TV. This performance showcased his expertise and mastery of the Veena, captivating the audience with his soulful renditions.
  3. “Pancharatna Kritis” for Shankara TV: Prashanth Iyengar has contributed to Shankara TV by presenting renditions of the renowned Pancharatna Kritis, which are a set of five compositions composed by Saint Tyagaraja. His performances of these iconic compositions on Shankara TV have allowed a wider audience to appreciate the beauty and depth of these musical masterpieces.
  4. Doordarshan Interview on “Belagu”: Prashanth Iyengar was featured in an interview on Doordarshan’s program called “Belagu.” This program is dedicated to showcasing the accomplishments and stories of achievers. The interview provided a platform for Prashanth Iyengar to share insights into his musical journey and his notable achievements.

These encounters with popular media platforms have enabled Prashanth Iyengar to reach a larger audience and share his musical talents, further establishing his reputation as a skilled Veena artist and gaining recognition for his achievements in the field of music.

 Honors and Titles Earned by Prashanth Iyengar

Prashanth Iyengar has been honoured with several prestigious titles and awards in recognition of his contributions and achievements in the field of music. Some of these honours include:

  1. Guru Mahamahopadhyaya Ra Satyanarayana Commemorative Award: Prashanth Iyengar was bestowed with the Guru Mahamahopadhyaya Ra Satyanarayana Commemorative Award. This award serves as a tribute to the renowned scholar and musician Guru Mahamahopadhyaya Ra Satyanarayana, recognizing Prashanth Iyengar’s exceptional talent and dedication to the art of music.
  2. ‘Vainika Kesari’ from Gurunanak Seva Trust: The prestigious title of ‘Vainika Kesari’ was conferred upon Prashanth Iyengar by Gurunanak Seva Trust. This honor acknowledges his virtuosity and skill as a Veena artist, symbolizing his excellence and mastery in the field of music.
  3. ‘Vainika Visharada’ by Rangapriya Swamiji from Astanga Yogamandira: Prashanth Iyengar received the title of ‘Vainika Visharada’ from his holiness Rangapriya Swamiji of Astanga Yogamandira. This honor recognizes his profound knowledge and expertise in the art of Veena playing, highlighting his significant contributions to the field.
  4. Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Asthana Vidwan: Prashanth Iyengar was honored as the Asthana Vidwan by Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, one of the prominent spiritual institutions in Kancheepuram. This recognition showcases his distinguished status as a musician and his association with the institution.
  5. Honored by Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering and Technology, Kaladi, Kerala: Prashanth Iyengar received recognition from the Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering and Technology in Kaladi, Kerala. This honor highlights his contributions to the field of music and his impact in promoting Indian classical art forms.
  6. ‘Pranavashree’ by Sreekantham Nagendra Shastry, Chintalapalli Trust: Prashanth Iyengar was honored with the title of ‘Pranavashree’ by Sreekantham Nagendra Shastry, representing the Chintalapalli Trust. This accolade acknowledges his exceptional musical abilities and his dedication to the art of Veena playing.
  7. ‘Mahopadhaya’ by Sri Vidya International University: Prashanth Iyengar was bestowed with the title of ‘Mahopadhaya’ by Sri Vidya International University. This recognition emphasizes his scholarly pursuits and his profound knowledge in the field of music.
  8. Swaramedha Sangeeta Ratna by Swaramedha International Music Academy®

Prashanth Iyengar: Nurturing Musical Talents through Education

Prashanth Iyengar has taken on the role of managing trustee and director at the Sreerama Centre of Performing Arts, a school of music established by his mother, Vidushi Padmasini Narasimhachar, in the year 1972. With a rich history spanning over 20 years, the school is dedicated to nurturing and training students in the art of music, with a particular focus on promoting the divine instrument, the Veena, in a unique and innovative manner.

As the managing trustee and director, Prashanth Iyengar has been actively involved in shaping the curriculum and guiding the students in their musical journey. His expertise and knowledge in Veena playing, combined with his passion for teaching, have allowed him to impart valuable lessons and techniques to aspiring musicians. Through his tutelage, he strives to instill a deep understanding and appreciation for the art form, helping students develop their skills and nurturing their musical talents. The Sreerama Centre of Performing Arts under Prashanth Iyengar’s leadership continues to serve as a platform for students to explore and excel in the field of music. Through his guidance and the school’s dedication to promoting the Veena, they aim to create a nurturing environment that fosters musical growth and cultivates a love for this divine instrument among the students.