A distinguished maestro in the field of playing Sarod, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is popularly known as the "Sarod Samrat". He is the sixth generation Sarod player in his renowned family. The credit of modifying the Sarod as a classical instrument goes to his ancestors of the Bangash lineage originating from Senia Bangash School of Music. The present day Sarod has been derived by modifying the ancient folk instrument of Iran known as Rabab. Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has come to this stage of life after much determination and hard work. Read his life history in this short biography of Amzad Ali Khan.
Amjad Ali Khan was born on 9th October, 1945 at a place called Gwalior
located in Madhya Pradesh. His father Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan was a
musician in the court of the royal family of Gwalior. He received
training from the descendants of Miyan Tansen, who is considered to be
the greatest musician of all times. Amjad Ali Khan was the youngest son
in his family. His first tutor was his father and he began playing at a
very young age. At the mere age of twelve years, Amjad Ali Khan gave his
first solo recital. The rest as they say is history. It was his love for
the instrument and passion for music that made him famous and recognized
as one of the greatest Sarod players.
Amjad Ali Khan has contributed immensely in the field of classical
music. He plays the Sarod with his finger nails instead of finger tips.
This gives a clear ringing sound and is also the most difficult
technique to apply on the Sarod. This innovative genius has composed
many ragas of his own like Kiran Ranjani, Haripriya Kanada, Shivanjali,
Shyam Shri, Suhag Bhairav, Lalit Dhwani, Amiri Todi, Jawahar Manjari and
Bapukauns. He has also acquired international acclaim by composing for
the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. It was titled "Tribute to
Hong Kong". The other musicians involved with this project were
guitarist Charley Byrd, Violinist Igor Frolov, Suprano Glenda Simpson,
Guitarist Barry Mason and UK Cellist Matthew Barley.
He has also given performances in Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall,
Royal Festival Hall, Kennedy Center, House of Commons, Singapore, Mozart
Hall in Frankfurt, Chicago Symphony Center, St. James Palace and the
Opera House in Australia. The talented musician has received Honorary
Citizenship to the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the
city of Atlanta. Amjad Ali Khan is the first north Indian artist to have
performed in honor of Saint Thyagaraja at the Thiruvaiyur shrine. He has
also been a recipient of many awards like Padmashree Award, Sangeet
Natak Academy Award, Tansen Award, UNESCO Award, UNICEF National
Ambassadorship, Padma Bhushan, International Music Forum Award, etc.
Amjad Ali Khan has two sons who are promising Sarod players. The legacy
shall live on.