Amjad Ali Khan

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Amjad Ali Khan
Amjad Ali Khan.jpg
Background information
Birth nameMasoom Ali Khan
Born (1945-10-09) 9 October 1945 (age 75) [1]
Gwalior, Gwalior State, British India
Genres Hindustani classical music
Instruments sarod [2]
Associated acts Hafiz Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan, Ayaan Ali Khan, Gurdev Singh

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (born 9 October 1945) is an Indian classical sarod player, best known for his clear and fast ekhara taans. Khan was born into a classical musical family and has performed internationally since the 1960s. He was awarded India's second highest civilian honour Padma Vibhushan in 2001.


Career and recognition

Khan first performed in the United States in 1963 and continued into the 2000s, with his sons. [1] [3] He has experimented with modifications to his instrument throughout his career. [4] Khan played with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and worked as a visiting professor at the University of New Mexico. [2] In 2011, he performed on Carrie Newcomer's album Everything is Everywhere. In 2014, along with his two sons, Ayaan Ali Khan and Amaan Ali Khan, he performed [5] 'Raga For Peace' in 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

Khan was awarded 21st Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award. Khan received Padma Shri in 1975, Padma Bhushan in 1991, and Padma Vibhushan in 2001, and was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 1989 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for 2011. [6] [7] He was awarded the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2004. [8] The U.S. state Massachusetts proclaimed 20 April as Amjad Ali Khan Day in 1984. [9] Khan was made an honorary citizen of Houston, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, in 1997, and of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2007. [9] He received the Banga-Vibhushan in 2011. [10]

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan (1990), a Gulzar directed Indian documentary film on Amjad Ali Khan won the Filmfare Award for Best Documentary in 1990. [11]

Personal life

Amjad Ali Khan Ustad amjat ali khan.JPG
Amjad Ali Khan
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performing at the IGNCA, Delhi. Amjad Ali Khan bharat-s-tiwari-photography-IMG 3786 December 23, 2018.jpg
Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performing at the IGNCA, Delhi.

Born on 9 October 1945 as Masoom Ali Khan, the youngest of seven children, to Gwalior court musician Hafiz Ali Khan and Rahat Jahan. [1] [2] His family is part of the Bangash lineage and Khan is in the sixth generation of musicians; his family claims to have invented the sarod . [2] [4] [12] His personal name was changed by a sadhu to Amjad. [1] Khan received homeschooling and studied music under his father. [1] In 1957, a cultural organization in Delhi appointed Hafiz Ali Khan as its guest and the family moved to Delhi. [1] Hafiz Ali Khan received training from the descendants of Tansen, the magical musician, was one of the 'Nav-ratna' ( nine gems) at the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Thus, Amjad belongs to the lineage of Tansen. [13] Friends of Hafiz Ali Khan convinced him of the importance of formal schooling for his son; as a result, Amjad was taken to meet the Principal of Modern School in New Delhi and admitted there as a day scholar. He attended Modern School from 1958 to 1963. [14]

As a young bachelor, Amjad had an affair with an older woman, who was a divorcée and a mother. The affair lasted eight years (1967–75), but the lady did not wish to marry him. Amjad's family disapproved of the relationship from the very beginning, and in the early 1970s, as his father's health deteriorated, they convinced him to let go of this relationship and marry a girl chosen by them. Amjad finally agreed to their wishes around the time of his father's death in 1972. However, although his wife came from similar background and was the same age as he, Amjad did not bond with her. On the other hand, he kept in touch with his previous lover and maintained a platonic friendship with her, which was not acceptable to his wife. Hardly a year after their wedding, Amjad and his wife had a daughter. However, the marriage broke down completely around the time of the birth of the child. The process of separation and divorce was painful for the couple and to their families. An unexpected outcome of the divorce was that, Amjad overcame his attachment to the divorced woman, due to differences in their thinking and mindset and this gave him a clearer understanding of his cultural moorings and priorities. He came out of the relationship with the divorced woman in 1975, and divorced his wife the same year. The daughter born of his first marriage was raised by Amjad's brother, Rehmat Ali Khan, who was childless.

The following year, on 25 September 1976, Khan got married a second time. His bride was Bharatanatyam dancer Subhalakshmi Barooah, hailing from Assam in north-eastern India. [2] [1] [15] They have two sons, Amaan and Ayaan, both of whom are performing artists trained in music by their father. [1] [16]

Khan cared for his diabetic father until he died in 1972. [1] Their family home in Gwalior was made into a musical center and they live in New Delhi. [17]


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