Subramaniya Iyer was born in Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. His family had a long history of musical involvement - his father Bharatam Vaidyanatha Iyer was adept at both music and Sastra and his grandfather Panchanada Sastri was the court musician in the court of Serfoji Maharaja of Thanjavur. Subramaniya Iyer learnt music from his uncle, Melattur Ganapati Sastri and later under Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbayyar.
Subramaniya Iyer spent a long time in Chennai. This gave Subramaniya Iyer the prefix to his name. Many of his students such as Mysore Vasudevachar, Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, Bhairavi Kempegowda and Tiger Varadachariar became famous composers and vocalists.
Two of his famous compositions are Raghu Vamsha Sudha in raga Kadhana Kuthuhalam and Evari Bodhanna in raga Abhogi. He is known to have used his guru's mudra (signature) Venkatesa or variations of the same, in his compositions in Telugu language and Sanskrit language.
The Mysore king Chamaraja Wodeyar had gifted a pair of golden bracelets on two occasions, after the singing performances in the court.
Patnam Subramania Iyer died in the year 1902.
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