AMJAD ALI KHAN Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


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Sarod ’samrat’, Amjad Ali Khan is one of the most distinguished maestro in the world of Indian classical music. Amjad Ali Khan, born on October 9th, 1945 at
Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, is the sixth-generation sarod player in his illustrious family. His ancestors of famous musicians, from the Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music,has the distinction of having developed and shaped the instrument ‘Sarod’ over several hundred years from the ancient Rabab (an Iran Folk Instrument). 


Amjad is the youngest son of Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan a musician to the royal family of Gwalior who has received musical tuition from descendants or followers of Miyan Tansen (c1520-1590), one of India’s most celebrated singers and court musician to the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Taught by his father, Amjad started playing the sarod at a very young age. He made an early debut giving his first solo recital at the age of 12 in 1958. From then on there was no looking back for the master. He had a special mastery and love for the instrument that he gave a new and yet timeless interpretation to it. Keeping to the tradition and yet being innovative, he created many enchanting new ragas of his own. He composed raga Priyadarshini and Kamalashree in memory of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Some of the other melodies composed by him are Kiran Ranjani, Haripriya Kanada, Shivanjali,  Shyam Shri, Suhag Bhairav, Lalit Dhwani, Amiri Todi, Jawahar Manjari, Bapukauns and so on and has cut many records and discs. He composed a piece for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yoshikazu Fukumora titled ‘Tribute to Hong Kong’,  with guitarist Charley Byrd, Violinist Igor Frolov, Suprano Glenda Simpson, Guitarist Barry Mason and UK Cellist Matthew Barley.


Ustad has achieved immense popularity in India as well as abroad. He has the distinction of being the first north Indian artist to have performed in honour of Thyagaraja at the saint musician’s Thiruvaiyur shrine. He has traveled widely and performed in several international music festivals in Pakistan, China, New Zealand, London, Rome, USA, Moscow, Germany, Japan etc. A regular performer at the famous halls such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, Santury Hall (First Indian performer), House of Commons, Theater Dela Ville, ESPLANADE in Singapore, Mozart Hall in Frankfurt, Chicago Symphony Center, St. James Palace and the Opera House in Australia, the master has received Hon’ry Citizenship to the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the city of Atlanta.


Amjad Ali Khan has won several titles and honours - the ‘Padmashree’ in 1975, the Sangeet Natak Academy award in1989, the Tansen Award in 1989, Sarod Samrat, UNESCO Award in 1970, Unicef’s National Ambassadorship, the Padma Bhushan in 1991, the International Music Forum Award etc. and Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of York, England, Delhi University, the Vishva Bharti (Deshikottam) in Shantiniketan and ‘Commander of the order of Arts and letters’ by the French Government. Two books written on him are the ‘World of Amjad Ali Khan’ (1995) and ‘Abba- God’s Greatest gift to us’ by his sons Amaan and Ayaan in 2002.


In 1977, he founded the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Society which organises music festivals in different parts of India. He has contributed  in propagating and creating music for children. In Gwalior, the family house where Amjad Ali Khan was born, has been converted into Sarod Ghar (the ‘Home of the Sarod’) a teaching centre and museum of his family and the sarod, with an impressive collection of instruments including his ancestor’s rababs.


Ustad lives with his wife Subbalakshmi and two sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. His sons Aman and Ayan are promising sarod players referred to as the ‘coming masters’. They are the seventh generation in the family to continue the Sarod tradition.


The great master remains devoted to Sarod and popularising his music throughout the world.