Illayaraja is the first Indian to compose a symphony. Illayaraja composed a full-length western classical symphony in July 1993. The hour long symphony was composed by him in one month. Illayaraja is the first Asian whose symphony was performed by John Scott of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra which is patronized by Queen Elizabeth and whose president is Lord Yehudi Menuhin.
Illayaraja is also a famous film composer, singer, and lyricist. He has
composed over 4,000 songs and provided background music for more than
800 Indian films in various languages. He has thrice won the National
Film Award for Best Music Director.