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Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
A Profile


Courtesy: http://www.sarod.com

"Amjad Ali Khan is an old man , timelessly old, like Moses or Abraham" - Alain Daielou

Amjad Ali Khan is perhaps among the few exponents of Indian Classic Music , who could be said not to have merely learnt music but to have been born into art, very literally. The story of Amjad Ali Khan is that of Man on a pilgrimage looking for the Holy Grail out there in the distance right after the next corner some way down the road.A legend, it is as a seeker he lives. Today, Amjad Ali Khan at a relatively young age, has already become established among the foremost senior musicians in the world of Indian Classical music. His name has become synonymous with the Sarod and his unique style of playing has made the instrument far more appealing and therefore accessible to a wider audience throughout the world. He has spanned the bridges between the discerneng connoisseurs on the hand and vast majority on the other. He has managed to achieve all that without any compromise in his aesthetic values which makes it an important achievement in today's world.

Born on October 9, 1945 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh , India, he is the youngest son of legendary Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan.

He was initiated into music by his father who was also his 'Guru' under the strict discipline of the 'Guru Shisya Parampara'. At the age when he should have been playing with toys, Khan Sahib was playing Sarod. At ten he performed in public and at fifteen he was a celebrity. He hails from the family of distinguished musicians who invented the Sarod, the present day modification of the ancient Rabab (an Afghan Folk Instrument). Today he shoulders the sixth generation inheritence of the'Senia Bangash Gharana' which traces its roots to the great Mian Tansen, who was among the select few promoted by the great patron of the music and Arts, Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Amjad Ali Khan has undoubedly added new forms to the repertoire of the Sarod. Within the discipline of the classical tradition, his innovations have created change in the styles and technique and breathed new life into an ancient form. He has found appreciation and recognition in his innovation in introducing the Khayal style on the Sarod, thus enlarging the creative range of Sarod by incorporating the subtle sweeping emlellishments of the vocal music, and also in his Ekehera taans, Gamak and brilliant rhythmic wit.

Khan sahib's conviction that a good musician is essentially a good human being first and foremost, reflects in his wholehearted involvement with the concerned charitable societies such as The Spastics Societies, The Cancer Society, The Blind Relief Fund, UNICEF, to name a selected few.

Further with various lecture demonstrations he has reintroduced classical music to the younger generation.

His international career has taken him to most countries in the world, and he is one of the most frequently recorded of Indian musicians. The venues of his concert have included the Royal Albert Hall, The Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Centre, The house of Commans, The Santury Hall in Japan and also The St. James Palace. His worldwide reputation in the field of Indian music and his many contributions to its continued development have been outstanding, and have guaranteed his status as one of the most important musicians of this century.

AWARDS AND TITLES

Out of the numerous awards and titles recieved by him include The Unesco Award in 1970, Amjad Ali Khan Day, State of Massachusetts in 1984, Padma Bhushan in 1991, Biographical inclusion "International Directory of distinguished leadership" 5th edition in 1994, First Indian visiting professor at "The University of York, England" in 1995, Unicef's National Ambassadorship in 1996, The coveted Crystal Award by World Economic Forum in 1997, Hon'ry Doctorate, University of York, England in 1997, Hon'ry citizenship's of Nashville, Tenessee and Houston, Texas in 1997.

FAMILY

Amjad Ali Khan is married and has two sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, whom he has already introduced to the concert platform. They are the seventh generation of the family to continue the Sarod tradition. His wife Subhalakshmi has been a great exponent of Indian Classical Dance, "Bharatnatyam", whose contribution and sacrifice towards her husband and children is immense. She gave up performing at the peak of her career!

In 1996 Amjad Ali Khan converted his nearly 300 years old ancestors's house(also his birth place) into a museum of music which is known as "Sarod Ghar" in  Gwalior to preserve the Ancient Indian Classical Musical Instruments. He has donated all his ancestors instruments to the museum and has also collected ancient instruments of other great masters of the country.

DOCUMENTARIES

  • 1971 "Amjad Ali Khan", James Beverej (Canada)
  • 1980 Made a special appearance in Sai Paranjpye's film "Sparsh"
  • 1989 Live Concert in Tokyo, JVC Company (Japan)
  • 1990 "Maestro Amjad Ali Khan", Gulzar (Films Division)
  • 1992 "I sing through my Sarod", Divya Dristi

BOOKS

  • 1995 "The World of Amjad Ali Khan" produced by the Hindustan Times and Published by U.B.S
  • 1996 "Glimpses : Amjad Ali Khan", Produced by Gautam Haldar.

 

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