Ustad Amjad Ali Khan to be the featured artist at LearnQuest’s 2016 music festival

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Amjad Ali Khan

WALTHAM, MA—Classical musician and Sarod legend Ustad Amjad Ali Khan will be the main featured artist at LearnQuest Academy of Music’s annual music festival on March 25-27, 2016, at Regis College in Weston, MA, academy officials said.

Amjad Ali Khan
Amjad Ali Khan

“He is one of the greatest living Indian classical musician today,” said Pradeep Shukla, president of Waltham, MA-based LearnQuest Academy of Music. “He has tremendous control over his instrument as well as mastery over his mastery as well as ‘ragadari’ (raga development). Even when he plays a simple tune like Raghupati Raghav Rajaram, it become quite apparent that a great master is playing.”

Pradeep Shukla
Pradeep Shukla

Shukla said that although Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has visited Boston in the past, it will be the first time that he will be playing at LearnQuest’s music festival. He will be accompanied on table by Pandit Sndeep Das, who is a disciple of table legend Kishan Mahraj.

Related story you may also want to read: Chai with Manju speaks with Amjad Ali Khan

In addition to Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, LearnQuest will present 12 items, including a Kathak dance during the three-day annual music festival.

“Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is a Sarod master and world musician of the highest caliber. His talent transcends cultural and ethnic boundaries and he is honored and praised as much in the West as in the East,” said Shashank Nene, chair of the LearnQuest’s 2016 music conference and festival. “His music will lift you up and leave you gasping in wonder. I am really looking forward to hearing him again – it has been a long time.”

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was all of 6 years old when he gave his first recital of Sarod. It was the beginning of yet another glorious chapter in the history of Indian classical music. Taught by his father Haafiz Ali Khan, Amjad Ali Khan 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.

Shashank Nene
Shashank Nene

After his debut, the career graph of this musical legend took the speed of light, and on its way the Indian classical music scene was witness to regular and scintillating bursts of Raga supernovas. Thus, the world saw the Sarod being given a new and yet timeless interpretation by Amjad Ali Khan. Khan is one of the few maestros who consider his audience to be the soul of his motivation. As he once said, “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.”

He has performed at the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide and New Plymouth, Edinburgh Music Festival, World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Taranaki in New Zealand, Summer Arts Festival in Seattle, BBC Proms, International Poets Festival in Rome, Shiraz Festival, UNESCO, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Adelaide Music Festival, 1200 Years celebration of Frankfurt WOMAD Rivermead Festival, UK, and ‘Schonbrunn’ in Vienna.

He is a recipient of the UNESCO Award, Padma Vibhushan (Highest Indian civilian award), Unicef’s National Ambassadorship, The Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and Hon’ry Doctorates from the Universities of York in 1997, England, Delhi University in 1998, Rabindra Bharati University in 2007, Kolkata and the Vishva Bharti (Deshikottam) in Shantiniketan in 2001. He has represented India in the first World Arts Summit in Venice in 1991, received Hon’ry Citizenship to the States of Texas (1997), Massachusetts (1984), Tennessee (1997), the city of Atlanta, Georgia (2002), Albuquerque, NM (2007)and the Key of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Fort Lauderdale, Miami. April 20th, 1984 was cleared as Amjad Ali Khan Day in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1995, Mr. Khan was awarded the Gandhi UNESCO Medal in Paris for his composition Bapukauns. In 2003, the maestro received “Commander of the Order of Arts and letters” by the French Government and the Fukuoka Cultural grand prize in Japan in 2004.

He has been a regular performer at the Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, Santury Hall (First Indian performer), House of Commons, Theater Dela ville, Musee Guimet, ESPLANADE in Singapore, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Chicago Symphony Center, Palais beaux-arts, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, St. James Palace and the Opera House in Australia.

Two books have been written on him. 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 by Roli Books-Lustre Publications in 2002. A documentary on Mr. Khan called ‘Strings for Freedom’ won the Bengal Film Journalist Association Award and was also screened at the Ankara Film Festival in 1996.

In 2014, Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan performed at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway on as well as the Nobel Peace Prize Concert along with the lineup of Queen Latifa, Steven Tyler, Nuno Bettencourt and Laura Mvula.

Married and with two sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan are well known names in the music scene and are the seventh generation of musicians in the family. Amjad Ali Khan’s wife Subhalakshmi Khan has been a great exponent of the Indian classical dance, Bharatnatyam, which, she sacrificed for her family. As a soul, so in his heart, he is a man who has proven his indomitable belief in the integration of two of life’s greatest forces, love and music. He is a living example of a man who practices that integration each day of his life, both on stage and off stage.

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