Prof. Karaikudi Subramanian is one of the senior and fore most Vina maestros in India. As a ninth generation performing artiste in a family of Vina players, Prof. Subramanian started learning Vina from his mother Lakshmi Ammal and later became the disciple of his grand uncle and adoptive father, the legendary Vina player, Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer (1888-1958). He has also learnt from and performed with his sister Rajeswari Padmanabhan and Ranganaki Rajagopalan.
He was awarded Ph.D in Ethnomusicology (Wesleyan University, for his thesis: “South Indian Vina-Tradition and Individual Style” (1985), with a fellowship from Asian Cultural Council in 1983. He retired as a Professor of Music from the University of Madras (1986-2002).
His record album ‘Music Fur Vina’, with Rajeswari Padmanabhan made by Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin-1975 won the Schallplatten Kritik Award in 1980. His Vina album ‘Sunada’ with Prof.Trichy Sankaran won the Naird Award, (USA-1991). He has been performing and collaborating with leading world musicians and been a visiting professor at Universities across the globe for nearly four decades. He has produced and directed music educational programs for festivals and a television serial in Singapore & India. He has presented and published many articles in International seminars, most notably by AIIS, New Delhi (1993) and VWB-Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, Germany (2002).
He founded Brhaddhvani, Research and Training Centre for Musics of the world in Chennai (1989) with Dr. S. Seetha (former head of department of music at University of Madras), and developed a system for holistic music education, Correlated Objective Music Education and Training (COMET), combining tradition and technology, arts and science, preservation and propagation methods reaching out to world musicians, dancers, actors, children and music therapy. The COMET system of education has benefitted over 5000 children both in rural and urban areas in South India as well as creating jobs for music teachers. Since 2015 Prof. Subramanian has been conducting annual workshops in Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom and the USA. A few of his disciples have started Brhaddhvani, Global Centre for Music in Denmark and United Kingdom to propagate his pioneering methodology, COMET and spread the Karaikudi Vina Tradition.