Melbourne-based twin brothers Ramnath Iyer and Gopinath Iyer are disciples of veena maestros Shri R. Pichumani and Trivandrum Shri R.Venkataraman. Australia’s leading exponents of the veena, the Iyer Brothers have made a name for themselves in Australia and overseas as a unique duo in Carnatic (South Indian) classical music. Their music is both exciting and complex, beautiful and challenging. The brothers are ‘A’ graded artists of All India Radio and Doordharshan.
Ramnath has been a resident of Melbourne since 1986. He has worked with visiting professional musicians from India, including the famous flute maestro Dr. N.Ramani. Ramnath has served as a peer specialist in Indian Music for the Australia Council from 1996. In 2002 Ramnath served as an adjudicator for veena at the third biennial Indian music competition held in Singapore by the National Arts Coucil of Singapore. Before immigrating to Australia in October 1993, Gopinath was a resident of New Zealand where he performed extensively. A few notable performances being Wellington Access Radio, Victoria University of Wellington and the NZ Academy of Bharatanatyam. He has participated with the renowned violin maestro Dr. L Subramaniam in a workshop during the Asia Pacific Festival in Wellington, in 1992.
Since 1994, the brothers have been performing together and have been very well received in various centres around Australia and overseas, including the Four Winds Festival at Bermagui (1995), Australian Institute of Eastern Music in Sydney (1997, 1999), Port Fairy Folk Festival (1999), Womadelaide (2001), The Boite (1999 to 2012), SIFAS, Singapore (1998), ACT National Multicultural Festival in Canberra (1998), Australian National Folk Festival (2004) and their own performance projects which have been funded by Australia Council and Arts Victoria (1994, 1995, 1997) . The brothers have released a number of audiocassettes and CDs with the help of a grant from the Australia Council. Their CDs titled ‘Soulful Strings’ and ‘Sound of Tradition’ were featured in ‘The Planet’ program of Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National channel.
Since 1994, the brothers are annually featured in the December music festival in Chennai, India and have received rave reviews from the press. They have been featured in all the major sabhas in Chennai: The Music Academy, Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha, The Mylapore Fine Arts Club, The Indian Fine Arts to name a few. The brothers have also performed in Mysore, Bangalore Mumbai and Kerala in recent years. The brothers were adjudged as the best veena artists in the sub-senior category at the Music Academy (Lakshmi Sundaram award for Veena) and senior category at the Indian Fine Arts Society, Chennai. In 2010, the brothers were awarded the “Multicultural Award for Excellence 2010 – Contribution to Arts” by the then Premier of the State of Victoria, Australia, Mr John Brumby. The brothers were invited to perform at the 2013 Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival in Cleveland, USA. All India Radio featured them in their prestigious 2013 Series of Sangeet Sammelan concerts in Mumbai.
In 1990 the brothers established the Pichumani School of Carnatic Music in Melbourne and have been teaching the art of veena playing and vocal music through this institution for the last 25 years. The school has grown considerably during this period with a dedicated group of about fifty students. They have also presented eight of their senior students in full length solo veena recitals and two senior students in vocal recitals.