“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.” – Amjad Ali Khan
It is love for music and his belief in his music that has enabled him to interpret traditional notions of music in a new refreshing way, reiterating the challenge of innovation and yet respecting the timelessness of tradition.
He was all of 6 years old when Amjad gave his first sarod recital. Taught by his father Amjad was born to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music. Today he shoulders the sixth generation of inheritance in this legendary lineage.
Mr. Khan has performed regularly at major halls around the world including, Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, Sanctury Hall (First Indian performer), Victoria Hall in Geneva, Chicago Symphony Center, Palais beaux-arts, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, St. James Palace and the Opera House in Australia.
He has been a visiting professor at the Stanford University, Indiana University, York University, Washington University, Stony Brook, North Eastern and New Mexico University. In 2008, Amjad was nominated for a Grammy award in the best traditional world music album category. He authored his first book, My Father, Our Fraternity in 2012. This book is a personal memoir which brings alive the rich classical music tradition from the early twentieth century to the present. The book offers an insider’s view of this era, through the life and times of his father, the famous sarod icon, Haafiz Ali Khan. It is through this narrative that Mr. Khan traces his own personal and profession journey.
Two books have been written on Amjad. The first is titled, ‘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 bin 2002. A documentary on Mr. Khan called Strings for Freedom won the Bengal Film Journalist Association Award.
He is a recipient of the UNESCO Award (1970), Padma Vibhushan (Highest Indian civilian award) (2001); Unicef’s National Ambassadorship (1996), The Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum (1997); In 2014, Amjad performed at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway and the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. He also recently received Global Music Awards’ Gold Medal for his outstanding contribution to the global music industry and excellence in the classical music sphere.
The sarod is a stringed instrument. Along with the sitar, it is among the most popular and prominent instruments in India. Amjad will be performing with his two sons, both sarod players, as well as a tabla player.