Tag Archives: sarod

Artist Profiles: Ali Akbar Khan

Ali Akbar Khan

Maestro Ali Akbar Khan was a master of the sarod and founder and teacher at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.

Born in 1922 in East Bengal (now Bangladesh), his family traced their gharana (ancestral tradition) to Mian Tansen, the 16th century musical marvel and court musician to Emperor Akbar. Ali Akbar Khan’s father, the late Padma Vibhusan Acharya Dr. Allauddin Khan, was acknowledged as a leading figure in North Indian music in the 20th century.

Ali Akbar Khan, also known as Khansahib, began his studies in music at the age of three. He studied vocal music from his father and drums from his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin. His father also trained him on several other instruments, but decided finally that had to concentrate on the sarod and on vocal.

For over twenty years, he trained and practiced 18 hours a day. After that, his father continued to teach Khansahib until he was over 100 years old, and left behind such a wealth of material that Khansahib feels he is still learning new things from it. Since his father’s death in 1972, Khansahib has continued his father’s tradition, that of the Sri Baba Allauddin Seni Gharana of Maihar and Rampur, India.

Ali Akbar Khan gave his first public performance in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) at age thirteen. In his early twenties, he made his first recording in Lucknow for the HMV label, and the following year, he became the court musician to the Maharaja of Jodhpur. He worked there for seven years until the Maharaja’s death. The state of Jodhpur bestowed upon him his first title, that of Ustad, or Master Musician. Many years later, he received the title of Hathi Saropao and Dowari Tajeem at the Jodhpur Palace’s Golden Jubilee Celebraton in 1993.

At the request of Yehudi Menuhin, Ali Akbar Khan first visited the United States in 1955. He made the first Western LP recording of Indian classical music, and the first television performance of Indian music, on Allistair Cooke’s Omnibus, sowing the seed for the wave of popularity of Indian music in the 1960’s.

Khansahib founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta, India, in 1956. Later, recognizing the extraordinary interest and abilities of his Western students, he began teaching in the United States in 1965. In 1967, he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music, which moved to Marin County, California, the following year.

Khansahib also opened a branch of his college in Basel, Switzerland, run by his disciple Ken Zuckerman, where he taught yearly during his world tours. Ali Akbar Khan toured extensively in Asia, Europe, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Khansahib composed and recorded music for films throughout his career. He composed extensively in India beginning with “Aandhiyan” by Chetan Anand (1953) and went on to create music for “House Holder” by Ivory/Merchant (their first film), “Khudita Pashan” (or “Hungry Stone”) for which he won the “Best Musician of the Year” award, “Devi” by Satyajit Ray, and, in America, “Little Buddha” by Bernardo Bertolucci.

1997 was a landmark year for Ali Akbar Khan. In February, he was the second recipient to receive the Asian Paints Shiromani Award – Hall of Fame, following filmmaker Satyajit Ray. He celebrated his 75th birthday in April and AACM’s 30th anniversary in June. In August, the Indian Embassy requested Khansahib to perform at the United Nations in New York and at Kennedy Center in Washington DCboth performances were in celebration of the 50th year of India’s Independence. In September, Ali Akbar Khan was chosen to receive the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was presented by Mrs. Hillary Clinton at a ceremony in the White House.

In 1998, Maestro Khan was honored with the National Heritage Fellowship, presented to him at the White House.

He had eight sons and four daughters from three marriages. Six of his children and one grandson became musicians: Aashish Khan Debsharma (sarod), Dhyanesh Khan (1941–1990; sarod), Ameena Perrera (sitar), Pranesh Khan (tabla), Rajesh Khan (sarod), Alam Khan (sarod), Manik Khan (sarod); and his grandson, Shiraz Ali Khan (sarod).

Ali Akbar Khan died on June 18, 2009.

Partial discography:

Ali Akbar Khan releases numerous recordings. The list below includes a small selection of recordings currently available.

Traditional Music of India (Prestige)
Legacy: 16th-18th Century Music from India, with Asha Bosle (Ammp Records)
Emperor of Melody
Ragas (Fantasy Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 1 (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 2 (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 3 (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 4 (Ammp Records)
Alap – a Sarod Solo (Ammp Records)
Signature Series, Vol. 5: Rag Darbari Kanada (Ammp Records)
Rough Guide To Ali Akbar Khan (World Music Network)
Morning Visions (Ammp Records)
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan – Sarod (Saregama)
Garden of Dreams (Triloka)


Artist Profiles: Rajeev Taranath

Rajeev Taranath

Rajeev Taranath is one of the leading performers of the sarod today. A distinguished disciple of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, he was first trained as a child in Hindustani vocal music by his father and other eminent musicians and was a concert and radio artist before he was twenty. Rajeev Taranath performs internationally and is currently on the faculty at the California Institute for the Arts in Los Angeles, where he teaches Hindustani classical music. He is the recipient of the Indian government’s highest award in the arts, the Sangeet Natak Award for 1999-2000 for outstanding achievement in the field of Hindustani Instrumental music.

He was the subject of a documentary made for the television in Eden, Yemen, titled “Finnan Min-Al- Hind” (“Artist from India”). He has also composed music for several nationally and internationally honored Indian films.

Taranath has been associated with music in Indian films for the past decade or more. His introduction to film music was in the 1950s, when he played music composed by his teacher for some Bengali films. He has directed the music for the following films: Kadavu, Paper Boats, Pookuveyil, Kanchanaseeta, Pallavi, and Samskara.


Swar Kalyan (Navras, 2012)
Manan “Meditation”: Ragas Bihag and Bhairavi (2008)
Harmony: Sindhu Bhairavi Raagmala (2007)
Raga Kafi: Some Facets (2007)
Rasarang (Golden Horn Records, 2004)
Reflections Around Noon: Ragas Todi and Kafi (Audiorec, 2003)
The Call of Love, The Art of Persian and Indian Improvisations (2002)
Daybreak and a Candle End (2002)
Over the Moon (Navras, 2002)
Rag Nat Bhairo, Rag Kaushi Bhairavi, Bhairavi (1995)
Over the Moon : Raga Chandranandan (1993)
Raga Ahir Bhairav/Raga Charukeshi (India Archives, 1991)
The Magnificence of Yaman Kalyan (1987)
In the Master’s Tradition: Rag Basant Mukhari, Rag Kirwani (1987)


Artist Profiles: K. Sridhar

K. Sridhar

Two music traditions co-exist in India, that of the North (Hindustani) and of the South (Carnatic). They share the same basic systems but differ greatly in the instruments used, by the Ragas played, and by the concept of musical expression. It is very rare for musicians to master both traditions; Sridhar has done so.

Krishnamurti Sridhar was, from very early childhood, initiated into the Carnatic (southern Indian) music tradition by his mother, a descendant of twelve generations of musicians including Narasimha Bhagavater, a master of Carnatic music in Tanjore. From the age of five Sridhar was the student of Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar of the Dagar School, the foremost master of the rudra veena and specialist in the traditionally classical and devotional Dhrupad Dhamar style of the North.

The sarod is an instrument of great complexity and few musicians choose to play it. Sridhar’s study of Hundustani music was long, rigorous and disciplined, in the old style of learning. There are no pupils learning this way now in India.

At the age of 14 Sridhar became the youngest member of Ravi Shankar’s orchestral group. At 25 he was granted the honorary title “Sur Mani” (Sky Jewel) at the famous festival of Kal-Ke-Kalakar in Bombay.

Sridhar started touring out of India in 1982. He has given hundreds of concerts throughout Europe, the Near and Far East. He has conducted seminars in Indian music and has forged exciting links with musicians of various disciplines, jazz, flamenco, Arabic, African, Iranian and European classical.

He has made several recordings and has composed numerous soundtracks for films including “Meher Baba, the Awakener” and the “Franco Indian Documentary” which received the “Jean Vigo Award.” In his recording, “Arab Path to India,” Sridhar explored the profound connection between Persia and India’s musical roots.

For the past ten years, Sridhar has traveled the world performing in such diverse locales as Canada, the United States of America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Israel, Scandinavia, France, Germany Holland, Spain and Italy. He has played at several WOMAD concerts in Britain and abroad and has been featured on Irish, British, French Television and American Public Radio.

Currently Sridhar divides his time between India, Europe, and the USA continuing to perform and teach.


Nadanjali (Auvidis, 1990)
Arab Path to India (WOMAD Select, 1996)
Ragas Madhukauns and Piloo (Amigo Musik, 1999)
Ocean of Sound (Eight Gates Music, 1999)
Arabandi (Naada Records, 1999)
Ocean of Sound, Vol. 2 (Eight Gates Music, 2001)
Live in Frankfurt 82 (Country and Eastern, 2007)
Rare Ragas and Talas (Naada Yoga Productions, 2008)
Food for the Soul (Naada Yoga Productions, 2008)
Swaranjali (Naada Yoga Productions, 2008)
Ocean of Peace 2012, (Naada Yoga Productions, 2012)


Live at Duke (Eight Gates Music, 2006)
Rassanjali (Naada Yoga Productions, 2010)


Artist Profiles: Buddhadev Das Gupta

Buddhadev Dasgupta

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta was a virtuoso performer who created a uniquely modern style rooted in a profound knowledge and feeling for raga music. He will be remembered along with giants such as Vilayat Khan, Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan for defining instrumental music in North India after independence.

Buddhadev was born in Bihar in 1933. For an extended period of thirty-eight years, he undertook a monumental regimen of practice and study under the illustrious Acharya Radhika Mohan Maitra, a celebrated performer and teacher. Radhika Mohan Maitra was known not only for his brilliance of technique but also for his scrupulous attention to correct and logical exposition of ragas as well as for his vast repertoire of ragas and compositions. These qualities were passed to his foremost student Buddhadev Dasgupta.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta’s style represented a modern synthesis of the rababiya and beenkar styles. This synthesis manifested itself in his brilliant combination of complex right hand picking patterns with fluid left hand movement. Buddhadevji’s baaj, however, was not a mere synthesis of these two idioms but a thrustful, avant-garde approach that gave him a totally new dimension to sarod playing and to Indian instrumental music in general. A hallmark of the music of Buddhadev Dasgupta is the architecture of his formal organization. Grand large scale structures are eveloped through systematic exposition of traditional forms.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta is perhaps unmatched in the variety and complexity of his taans (rapid melodic sequences that convey the contours of a raga). Long flowing melodic lines are masterfully constructed from smaller phrases which are concise formulations of the essential grammar of the raga. Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta is also well known for his intense cultivation of laykari. Rhythmic patterns of striking beauty and force are an essential part of his playing.

Dasgupta recorded for several major record labels, including HMV, Nimbus and Columbia. As as scholar and a musician, he contributed to Nimbus Records’ four-volume “Raga Guide”, and to “Alap” a book and ten-volume introduction to Hindustani Music published by Times Music. Panditji was on the panel of experts of All India Radio, Vishwa Bharati University, Rabindra Bharati University, Allahabad University, Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Sangeet Research Academy, the Rotterdam Conservatorium of Music, and the Den Haag Conservatory. Buddhadev was a “Top Grade” artist of AlR, and revered in musical communities as a connoisseur’s musician.

A recipient of many awards, Buddhadev Dasgupta was decorated with such coveted honours as the Shiromani Award (1992), Sangeet Bhaskar of the Pracheen Kala Kendra (1995), and most importantly, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1993). He was also an active and successful teacher, and a number of his disciples have made an impressive mark with music-lovers.

Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta died on January 15, 2018.

Partial discography:



Artist Profiles: Avijit Ghosh

Avijit Ghosh
Born on November 30th, 1974 in Kolkata, Avijit Ghosh was introduced to Indian Classical Music under the influence of his maternal uncle sitar player Pt. Ranjan Ganguly.

Avijit started learning Sarod in 1990 under the guidance of Dhyanesh Khan, son of the legendary master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan of Maihar Gharana; and also learned from Ustad Ashish Khan and Pandit Tejendra Mazumdar.

Avijit earned the first position in the All India Radio competition in 1996 and also received President’s Gold Medal. He is a regular B-high artist of AIR and TV. He holds a first class M.A. in instrumental music of the Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.

He has also received a gold medal at the University exams. The Salt Lake Cultural Association gave him the coveted Jadubhatta Puraskar in 1998.

Avijit’s major performances include Sutanuti Parishad AIR Award Ceremony at Allahabad, several music circles in Kolkata, Aurobindo Ashram (Delhi), Habitat World (Delhi), and Bangladesh TV.

On May 8th, 2007, Avijit received his Phd in Instrumental Music Sarod from Rabindra Bharati University Kolkata.

Avijit wrote a book titled Origin and Development of The Sarod, published by Kalpaz Publications, New Delhi, 2012.


Rising Star of Sarod (Raga Music)
Young Master of the Sarode (Bihaan Music Kolkata)


Artist Profiles: Amjad Ali Khan

Amjad Ali Khan

Extraordinary New Dehli sarod player Amjad Ali Khan has established a reputation as one of the living legends of Indian classical instrumental music and is the sixth in an uninterrupted lineage of masters of the sarod. Amjad Ali Khan is rooted in the Senia Bangash school of music ~ responsible for keeping sarod alive for several hundred years.

His two sons and disciples Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash usually join him on stage.


North India: Instrumental Music of Medieval India (Ocora, 1994)
Ragas Bilaskhani Todi & Brindabani Sarang (Navras Records, 1994)
Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan with sons Amaan Ali Bangash & Ayaan Ali Bangash (Chhanda Dhara, 2001)
Music from the 13th Century (Navras Records, 2005)
Moksha (Real World Records, 2005)
Confluence (Navras Records, 2005)
My Inspirations (Navras Records, 2006)
Romancing The Rains (Navras Records, 2007)
Samaagam (World Village, 2011)
Masterworks From The NCPA Archives (Navras Records, 2012)
Amalgam (Affetto Records, 2016)
Indian Classical Ragas (Wigmore Hall Live, 2017)
Peace Worshipers (Affetto Recordings, 2017)


Artist Profiles: Alam Khan

Alam Khan

Sri Alam Khan, the son of Swara Samrat Ali Akbar Khan, studied sarod with his father since he was seven. At his first performance he accompanied his father at a recital in Portland, Oregon and received blessings from Swami Chetanananda.

His first public performance was in 1998 at the Spirit of India Festival that celebrated the Ali Akbar College’s 30th anniversary in the United States of America. He has since accompanied his father in India at the Jodhpur Palace for the King and Royal family, the prestigious Dover Lane Festival in Calcutta as well as several full-length performances in the United States.

In 2001, Alam and his father completed a rigorous tour where they performed in Europe and India. Alam accompanied his father in 2002-2003 on a three month tour of Europe and India where they performed to sold-out audiences. He also received a prestigious Individual Artists Grant from the Marin Arts Council in June, 2003.

In 2004, Alam began his solo career in the Bay Area and has continued to establish himself throughout the United States. He regularly accompanied his esteemed father in concerts as well as teaching at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael.


From Father to Son, with Ali Akbar Khan (AMMP, 2002)
Shades of Sarode (AMMP, 2011)
Vignettes, EP (2017)
Immersion (AMMP Records, 2018)


Mesmerizing Sarod

Alam Khan – Immersion (AMMP Records, 2018)

Alam Khan’s Immersion highlights the resonance and splendor of the sarod, a 25-string North Indian lute. San Francisco-based Alam is the son of the late sarod virtuoso Ali Akbar Khan.

Immersion includes 6 spellbinding pieces that showcase the talent of Alam Khan as a sarod performer. He’s joined by Indranil Mallick on tabla and Benjamin Araki on tanpura.

Buy Immersion


Sarod Titans Meet the Western Violin

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and Elmira Darvarova – Peace Worshipers


Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Bangash, Ayaan Ali Bangash and Elmira Darvarova – Peace Worshipers (Affetto Records AF1706, 2017)

Two of the world’s great musical traditions, Indian classical and western classical music come together in Peace Worshipers. The album features a family trio of sarod players led by one of the great masters of our time, Amjad Ali Khan and his equally talented sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. The three artists representing the Indian classical music tradition collaborate with superb American violinist Elmira Darvarova.

Interestingly, the three sarod players appear on separate tracks. That is, each track features only one sarod player so there are no sarod trio performances.

Most of the material is composed by Amjad Ali Khan, based on Indian ragas. Elmira Darvarova contributes one solo violin piece based on a Bulgarian folk song.

The quartet is joined by tabla maestro Anubrata Chatterjee.

The CD booklet contains reflections on the recording along with biographies of the musicians, photos and credits.



Peace Worshipers features masterfully-crafted virtuoso performances that showcase the beauty of Indian and western classical traditions as well as folk traditions.


Buy Peace Worshipers