Born on 10 September 1934 in Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Shri B.M. Sundaram received his
initial training in music from Narayanaswamy Iyer and Janakirama Iyer. He was later a
student of M. Balamurali Krishna. Shri Sundaram belongs to a traditional family of artists,
and hence also learnt Bharatanatyam from the renowned guru Pandanallur
Meenakshisundaram Pillai. Besides Carnatic music, he is proficient in Hindustani and
With his moorings in the traditional practice of dance and music and his access to modern scholarship, Shri Sundaram has been an invaluable resource in research into Tamil Nadu’s performing past. He has worked with reputed Indian and foreign scholars, undertaken independent research into classical music and dance, and published a variety of books on music. These titles include Splendour of Svara, Tanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer, Rare Pallavis of Yesteryears, and Origin of Jalatarangam. He has produced a history of the Nattuvanars of Thanjavur with support from Sangeet Natak Akademi. He has also worked on folk performances of southern India, such as the tradition of Yakshagana. He is a prolific composer of Varnams and Kritis in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.
Shri B.M. Sundaram has been honoured for his work by the State and institutions of learning. These honours include the title of Kalaimamani conferred by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, and the award of the Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata. He is closely associated with the Thyagabrahma Sabha of Thanjavur, and the Music Academy in Chennai.
Shri B.M. Sundaram receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Tagore Award for his contribution to scholarship in the performing arts.