A Master Marks A Milestone
Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan to embark on a historic 50th anniversary U.S. concert tour
accompanied by his accomplished sons-students Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan.
Houston, Texas (4 September 2013): Way back in 1963, a young sarod player from India named Amjad Ali Khan first came to perform Indian classical music for American audiences. Half a century later, the now highly-regarded master of the stringed instrument definitive of the Indian classical music sound is set to launch a 50thanniversary U.S. concert tour this Saturday in Houston, Texas. The four-week trek that runs September 7ththrough October 4thwill incorporate a teaching residency at Indiana University, a book launch event at the Indian Consulate and a performance at the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence in New York City (October 2nd).
Continuing a family lineage that makes him a sixth-generation performer, the Grammy-nominated Khan will be accompanied on the concert swing by his sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, prodigious sarod players trained by the virtuoso. The concerts are comprised of three sections. Amjad Ali Khan performs the first half backed by a pair of tabla (percussion) players. Brothers Amaan and Ayaan perform a sarod duet to open the second half before Amjad Ali Khan joins to interact with his scions - disciples of the master – for the final portion performed as a sarod trio, during which the audiences witness the time-honored rite of passage as the father passes down his musical inheritance to his sons.
"The occasion of the 50th anniversary of my first concert in the United States allows me to reflect on the growth of Indian classical music there and change with the sarod in particular. There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote," said Amjad Ali Khan, who splits his time between living in India and New York. “Since my childhood, I always wanted my instrument (sarod) to be able to express the entire range of human emotions…to sing, shout, whisper, and cry. All the emotions! It has been a long journey so far and by the benevolence of the heavens, the sarod has become far more expressive than it was 25 years ago.”
Amjad Ali Khan’s five-day residency for course credit at Indiana University from September 23-27 will examine the fundamentals of Indian classical music along with the lifestyle, relevancy to the modern world and how composition aids in the preservation of its tradition and techniques. He gave a similar class at Stanford University last winter. Having been taught by his father, Haafiz Ali Khan, Amjad Ali Khan penned a recently published book on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his father-guru’s passing entitled “My Father, Our Fraternity,” which will be feted at the Indian Consulate on October 1st in New York City.
Together the Khans have performed all over the world since 1996, including at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Kennedy Center and the Sydney Opera House. Following Indian classical music precepts, their performances are improvisational with the compositions often determined the day of the show inspired by the moods and emotions of the artists. Amjad Ali Khan, who has received esteemed honors from UNESCO, UNICEF, World Economic Forum, the Indian, French and Japanese governments and had Amjad Ali Khan Day declared by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1984, considers the audience to be the soul of his motivation. The musicians collaborate with each serving as the performer, composer and conductor. Having made their U.S. debut in 1991, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan have proven their own mastery of the sarod, which has garnered awards and acclaim for recording projects in Indian classical and contemporary music settings. After the American tour, the Khans will perform in France, Belgium and Amsterdam in November and return to the U.S. in late February for concert dates through March. Additional information is available at www.sarod.com, www.AmaanAliKhan.com and www.AyaanAliKhan.com.