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Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Biography

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is one of the finest classical musicians in the country. Born in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh in 1945, Amjad Ali Khan traces his lineage to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of music. He is a sixth-generation Sarod player in his family, which originally came to India from Afghanistan.

His forefathers had brought the Rabab from Afghanistan which has transformed into the Sarod of today. He picked up the Sarod from his father Haafiz Ali Khan, who was musician in the royal family of Gwalior.

Young Amjad Khan gave his first solo recital in 1958. He simplified his sarod by removing some strings and has developed an unique style of playing the instrument. This Sarod maestro founded the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Society in 1997. Amjad Ali Khan has performed in concerts and festivals around the globe, which include festivals like the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide and New Plymouth, Taranaki in New Zealand, WOMAD Rivermead Festival in UK, Edinburgh Music Festival, World Beat Festival in Brisbane, International Poets Festival in Rome, Shiraz Festival, UNESCO, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Adelaide Music Festival and many others.

He has received honorary doctorates from the Universities of York, England, Delhi University and the Deshikottam from the Vishva Bharti University in Shantiniketan. In addition, he received the “Commander of the order of Arts and letters” from the French Government and the 15th Fukuoka Asian Culture Grand Prize in 2004 in Japan. Apart from countless newspaper and magazine articles on him, two books have also been published on him, The World of Amjad Ali Khan in 1995 and Abba-God’s Greatest Gift To Us by his sons, Amaan and Ayaan in 2002. His two sons, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan are excellent Sarod players in their own right. His wife Subhalakshmi Khan is a well-known Bharatnatyam dancer.

He has received many awards and honours during his lifetime. He was awarded the International Music Forum Award by UNESCO in 1970, the Padmashree in 1975, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award in 1989, the Tansen Award in 1989 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991.