Ustad Nishat Khan

Category Instrumental | Tags Sitar



Ustad Nishat Khan hails from the illustrious Imdadkhani sitar gharana - named for his great-grandfather Imdad - alongside greats such as Ustad Shahid Parvez, Ustad Vilayat Khan, and Ustad Imrat Khan (his father and main teacher).

His ancestors gave shape to the modern sitar, customising the design and mastering gayaki ang (singing style), and he grew up immersed into music, skipping school to practice and staying up all night to analyse concerts he had seen that evening. He credits his grandmother with playing a pivotal role in his approach to training too.

Nishat has since taken his sitar into jazz, flamenco, and Gregorian chant, and worked with greats such as Philip Glass, Evelyn Glennie, and John McLaughlin, as well as continual classical touring. He is renowned for extraordinary speed, and younger listeners may have unwittingly heard him already - in 2009 he played sitar on Weezer’s Love is the Answer.


"We have a saying: ‘power without control is nothing, and control only comes when you submit to a discipline'. That is what I learned from my father."


—Also see Living Traditions: 21 articles for 21st-century Indian classical music, our new series exploring how music with ancient roots continues to innovate in a fast-paced, interconnected modern world. Expand your appreciation!


Darbar Arts & Heritage believes in the power of Indian classical music to stir, thrill, and inspire. To find out more, get the Darbar newsletter, explore our YouTube channel, or sign up to the Darbar Player to watch extended festival performances in pristine HD quality.


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Founded in 2006, Darbar Arts Culture Heritage Trust (Darbar) believes in the power of Indian classical arts to stir, thrill and inspire. Through digital connectivity, shared experiences and enrichment we ensure that one of the finest art forms reaches the widest possible audience.

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