USTAD AMJAD ALI KHAN “It was like watching an Indian classical answer to Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker crashing through their favourite Robert Johnson covers at the Cream revival earlier this month. Amjad Ali Khan may be a master of the sarod rather than the guitar, but once he had built up to the crescendo of his solo set – improvising furiously around the melody line with repeated, rapid-fire playing and then letting his equally frantic tabla player take over – it was easy to see why great Indian music can be as exciting as classic blues and rock.”—The Guardian (UK) in 2005
USTAD AMJAD ALI KHAN, sarod maestro and veteran musician, celebrated his recently launched Penguin Random House publication, “Master on Masters”. The maestro brings to his reader, humorous personal anecdotes of the lives and times of twelve great icons of classical Indian music who he knew personally –Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Amir Khan, Begum Akhtar, Alla Rakha, Kesarbai Kerkar, Kumar Gandharva, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Bhimsen Joshi, Bismillah Khan, Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan and Kishan Maharaj.
In this tribute to the individual styles of these icons, Ustadji’s admiration, warmth and affection for the maestros is quite apparent.
At the lecture demonstration, organized by Avid Learning at Essar House on Friday, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan iterated some of these anecdotes in a most real and yet tongue-in-cheek interview with the journalist and biographer, Sathya Saran.
This is the second book by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on the world of classical Indian music. in 2012, he wrote an intensely personal ‘My father, Our fraternity- the story of Haafiz Ali Khan and My World’, a chronicle on the music traditions starting from the early 20th century and explaining the guru-shishya parampara while tracing his own personal and professional journey. The author/maestro emerges as a man acutely aware of his responsibility to his guru, his family’s musical legacy and to the sarod. In 1977, he established the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Society which organizes concerts and bestows an annual Hafiz Ali Khan Award on outstanding classical musicians in India and aboard.
‘The world of Amjad Ali Khan’ by UBS Publishers in 1995 and the second, ‘Abba-God’s Greatest Gift to us’ by his sons, Amaan and Ayaan published by Roli Books-Lustre Publications in 2002 are two other books that trace the Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s journey through life also a documentary called ‘Strings for Freedom’ won the Bengal Film Journalist Association Award and screened at the Ankara Film Festival in 1996.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has regaled audiences with his sarod for the last six decades. Tutored first, by his father, the sarod maestro Haafiz Ali Khan, the child prodigy started to delight audiences at the age of six; he gave his first solo recital at twelve. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is the first north Indian artist to have performed in honor of Saint Thyagaraja at the Thiruvaiyur shrine.
The 6th generation of the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is accredited to have re-interpreted the sarod, an instrument created by his ancestors.
He has composed New Ragas; Kiran Ranjani, Haripriya Kanada, Shivanjali, Shyam Shri, Suhag Bhairav, Lalit Dhwani, Amiri Todi, Jawahar Manjari, and Bapukauns.
He composed his first sarod concerto, Samaagam, performed by the Britten Sinfonia, Orchestre National d’lle de France, Orchestre d’Auvergne, London Philharmonia, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
He has collaborated to compose a piece for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yoshikazu Fukumora titled ‘Tribute to Hong Kong’, duets with guitarist Charley Byrd, Violinist Igor Frolov, Suprano Glenda Simpson, Guitarist Alvaro Pierri, Guitarist Barry Mason, Cellist Claudio Bohorquez, Cellist Matthew Barley and. He also composed the signature tune for the 48th International Film Festival. In 2011 at Lotus Arts Festival in Bloomington Ustadji collaborated with American Folk artist Carrie Newcomer.
Since then he has played at some of the most prestigious venues of the world– Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, and the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2014 in Oslo, Norway.
Accolades include a Grammy nomination, the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and all three Padma Awards from the Government of India. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is an Honorary Citizen to the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the city of Atlanta.
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s immediate family consists of wife Subhalaxmi Khan, an exponent of the Indian classical dance form Bharatnatyam and sons, sarod exponents, Amaan and Ayaan Bhangesh.