Ustad Amjad Ali Khan’s illustrious career has lasted almost seven decades since his debut at the age of six. His Bangash lineage ancestors gave shape to the modern sarod, and he first learned it from his father Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan, going on to master both the slides of gayaki ang (singing style) and the rapid picking of tantrakari ang (instrumental style).
He made his US debut in 1963, and has since collaborated with choirs, jazz groups, and symphony orchestras alongside a constant schedule of classical performance. Over the years he has devoted himself to expanding the instrument’s physical capabilities: “From the time it was first invented the sarod has been modified...Even now, I am still redesigning and modifying, making the drum smaller or the bridge higher. I'm always looking for a different kind of resonance”.
Widely recognised as one of his instrument’s leading modern masters, Amjad sees his music as an attempt to create peace as well as beauty. He credits his father with opening his eyes to the universality of spiritual practice, and went on to play at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. He now tours to worldwide acclaim with his sarod-playing sons Amaan and Ayaan.
"If someone asks me for the meaning of Indian classical music, I say it lies in freedom and discipline. You should not try to understand it - the music should be felt and experienced."
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