Ilayaraja, the musical genius and the only Indian music director to work with London Philharmonic Orchestra, is one of the best and evergreen music directors in South Film industry.
Born as Daniel Rajayya in Pannaipuram, Madurai, Ilayaraja took to music when he was 14. He dropped out of school and joined his brother Pavalar Varadarajan, who was a musician for the Communist party of India. With his brother, Ilayaraja travelled all over Tamil Nadu performing concerts. They were called Pavalar Brothers. In 1968, Ilayaraja moved to Madras and joined Master Dhanraj. Under his guidance, Ilayaraja was trained western classical. He learnt Carnatic under singer T.V.Gopalakrishnana. Ilayaraja took the Tirnity college of Music examination and bagged gold medal in classical guitar. He then joined G.K.Venkatesh as assistant music drecitor. His first film as music director is Annakkili. The film was a run away musical hit. His prolific scores continued with films like Amavasya Chandrudu, Vasantha Kokila, Pallavi Anupallavi, Mounageetham, Abhilasha, Nireekshana, Kirathakudu, Rakshasudu, Sagarasangamam, Sitara, Anveshana, Ladies Tailor, and many many more.
Ilayaraja composed music for more than 750 films in all the four South Indian languages. There is a special touch of Ilayraja in blending the western and classical. His tunes are always refreshing. No wonder he has got such a huge and loyal fan base.
Ilayaraja is the best in Background Score films like Geethanjali, Mounaragam, Nayakudu,Kaalapani, dalapathi, anjali, abhinandana and more
Ilayaraja won the Best Music Composer Award instituted by the Government of India three times, in 1984, 1986 & 1988.
He was also conferred with the Cultural Doctorate in Philosophy of Music by the World University Round Table, Arizona, USA.
He also holds doctorate degrees from the Annamalai and Madurai Kamraj Universities.
First Asian to compose Symphony (Symphony No. 1) with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) of London.
Presented with 'Kalaimamani Award', an annual award for excellence in the field of arts, by the Government of the State of Tamil Nadu, India
Conferred the title 'Isaignani' (wisest in the field of music) in the year 1988, at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, India.
Award of Appreciation presented in the year 1994,by the Foundation and Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America.
Bestowed with the honorary citizenship and presented with the key to the Teanech Township, by Mr. John Abraham, Mayor of Township of Teanech, New Jersey, U.S.A., in June, 1994.