Violinist Dr. L Subramaniam presented his Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival, in collaboration with the World Music Institute, in New York at the 92Y on February 5, 2016. It was a rare U.S. performance, his first here since 2006, for the classically and traditionally trained virtuoso. The crowd at the Y was markedly different from that at a typical event—a sea of brown faces, including mine, turned up (and I believe security seemed heavier than normal inside and with at least one police officer positioned outside the venue).
L. Subramaniam was accompanied by a small group for a mesmerizing Carnatic performance that went over ninety minutes. Seated on the Dr.‘s left was his son, Ambi Subramaniam, an acclaimed violinist in his own right. To the side of the father and son were Mahesh Krishnamurthy on mridangam and Ravi Balasubramaniam slapping the ghatam (essentially a clay pot). The elder Subramaniam introduced each of his pieces, the ragas, explaining the time signatures and the key changes. The first raga was Varnam and it began with him solo, then transitioned into a violin call and response with his son before the percussion joined in. Time flew by during the performance as the rich sonics resonated in the auditorium.