Doyen of Carnatic music Padma Shri Parassala B Ponnammal died at her residence at Valiyassala here on Tuesday.
Ponnammal was 96. She was survived by sons D Mahadevan and D Subramanian. Her husband Devanayakam Iyer, son D Ramaswamy and daughter D Kamala had pre-deceased her.
Ponnammal, who started to learn carnatic music as a child, was the first female student to enroll in the newly started Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram during the early 1940s and passed out from there with first rank in ‘Gana Bushanam’ and ‘Gana Praveena’ courses.
In 2006, she sang at the Navaratri Mandapam in Thiruvananthapuram, breaking 300 years of tradition that forbade women from performing at or attending the famed Navaratri Celebrations of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.
Ponnammal started her career as a music teacher by joining the Cotton Hill Girls High School in Thiruvnanthapuram. Later she became the first female member of the teaching faculty in the Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvananthapuram.
She was the first woman principal to head the RLV College of Music and Fine Arts at Tripunithura.
She performed Guruvayur Puresa Suprabhatham, Trisivapuresa Suprabhatahm, Ulsava Prabhandam, Navarathri Kriti, Meenambika Sthothram, along with compositions of Irayamman Thampi and K C Kesava Pillai.
She was awarded ‘Padma Shri’ in 2017. She was also recipient of several awards including M.G.Radhakrishnan Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Chennai Fine Arts, Chennai, Sangeetha Prabhakara Award, S Ganesha Sarma Award, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Swathi Sangeetha Puraskaram, Sree Guruvayurappan Chembai Puraskaram.
The funeral will be held on Wednesday morning at Brahmana Grama Samajam crematorium at Valiyasala.