Ali Akbar Khan, maestro of
Indian Classical Music, passed away at the age of 88 in California, USA. Despite his matured death, his absence will
always be felt by his millions of fans, both in the East and the West.
violinist Yehudi Menuhin as 'the greatest musician in the world,' Khan had many
firsts to his credit in taking Indian classical music to the west. He was
admired by both eastern and western musicians for his brilliant
compositions and his mastery of the 25-string instrument.
illustrious son of Ustad Alauddin Khan was the first to cut a long play record
of Indian classical music in the U.S. and to give a sarod recital on American
The Ustad was
also the first Indian musician to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
in 1991. He was nominated by the Grammy Awards five times between 1970 and 1998.
Born on April
14, 1922 in Shibpur village of Comilla district, now in Bangladesh, Khan took
up music at the age of 3, learning vocal music from his father and percussion
from his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin.
trained him in several other instruments too, but he decided to concentrate on
sarod and vocals.
Khan gave his
first public performance in Allahabad at the age of 13 and made his first
gramophone recording in Lucknow when he was in his early 20s. He became the
court musician of the Maharaja of Jodhpur and continued for seven years until
his patron's death. The state of Jodhpur bestowed upon him the title 'Ustad.'
At the request of Menuhin, Khan visited the U.S. in 1955 and performed at the
Museum of Modern Art in New York.
He founded the
Ali Akbar College of Music in Kolkata in 1956. In 1965, he began teaching in
the U.S. and later opened a branch of his college there and in Switzerland.
during the Bangladesh Liberation War, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan organized a concert in New
York to raise money for millions of Bengali who took refuge in India fleeing
the atrocities of the then Pakistani Army.
program, his cousin Mubarak Hossain Khan, a former Director General of
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, pays his profound respects and deep tributes
to the greatest sarod player of all time.