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Doreswamy Iyengar, generally known as Mysore V. Doreswamy Iyengar (1920–1997), was a Carnatic musician and one of the greatest exponents of the Veena in modern history. Born into a family of musicians, His father, Venkatesha Iyengar, was himself a Vainika and a musician in the court of the Maharaja of Mysore.

He started learning the Veena from his father at an early age and soon became the disciple of Veena Venkatagiriyappa, one of the foremost Vainikas of the day in Mysore. He performed in the esteemed presence of the then Maharaja of Mysore at the age of 12. The Maharaja liked his performance and awarded him a 50 rupee silver coin. The Maharaja also asked Veena Venkatagiriyappa to nurture the boy as he thought Doreswamy Iyengar would bring laurels to the state of Mysore.

He gave his first public performance in 1943, in the Bangalore Gayana Samaja. He participated in music conferences including the one in Shiraz, Iran in 1969 where he also performed at the Shiraz - Persepolis Festival of Arts. Over the course of his career, accolades poured in. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the Chowdiah National memorial award, the Sangeetha Kalaratna of the Bangalore gayana Samaj, the Sangeetha Kalasikhamani of the Indian Fine Arts society (1994) and the Sangeetha Kalanidhi of the Madras Music academy.

He studied BA in the Maharaja's College, Mysore. He was the music director of the All India Radio in Bangalore. The University of Mysore conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate in 1975.

In an age when most of the other Vainikas started using the contact microphone, Doreswamy Iyengar remained a purist and stuck to the ‘acoustic’ Veena. His style of playing is sometimes referred to as the Mysore style. This style is marked by the movements from one note to another, achieved with the playing fingers (the index and middle fingers of the left hand) parted. This, along with his unique style of plucking the strings enabled him to achieve the continuity of sound so essential to Carnatic music.

The Veena is a solo instrument and is accompanied only by percussion instruments. However, the concerts of Doreswamy Iyengar accompanied by Mysore T Chowdiah on the violin became very popular. He has participated in many 'Jugalbandis' including other famous musicians such as Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He also composed music for dance dramas, especially those of P. T. Narasimhachar or pu ti na, a renowned Kannada poet.

His son, D. Balakrishna, who was with Reserve Bank of India is among the foremost Vainikas of the day and is the torchbearer of the unique Mysore style of playing the veena. Another Vainika of note, who was Doreswamy Iyengar’s disciple, was C. Krishnamurthy.

Doriswamy Iyengar also composed music for a few Kannada films, notably Subbashastri, starring Kalyan Kumar.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Rating Releases
1991 Maestro's Choice Series One: Veena 1

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