Issued: 30 October 2008
Very few musicians rank as highly in classical Indian music as sarod master Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.
Throughout his illustrious career he has elevated the sarod to one of the most popular instruments in the Hindustani tradition through performances of classic ragas and original compositions.
In a rare visit to the UK, the virtuoso performs at Town Hall Birmingham on Sunday 23 November.
From his first public recital at the tender age of six years old, the living legend has gone on to receive the UNESCO award, the Indian civilian award Padma Vibhushan and honorary citizenship of three US cities amongst other accolades, whilst enjoying an international career spanning five decades.
“There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote.”
Amjad Ali Khan
From appearances in many of the world?s most prestigious concert halls, including Symphony Hall Birmingham, Vienna?s Konzerthaus and New York?s Carnegie Hall to performances at WOMAD, the BBC Proms and the Dalai Lama?s World Festival of Sacred Music, Khan has also collaborated with Ravi Shankar, Yehudi Menuhin and Charlie Byrd amongst others.
“Using nails rather than fingertips is just one of the complications of Khan’s approach to the notoriously challenging Indo-Persian instrument. Yet his performance conveyed ease and grace, not difficulty. Widely considered to be the greatest sarodist active today, Khan showed immense versatility as well as subtlety.”
The Washington Post, 2008
Amjad Ali Khan possesses charisma and invention born of a unique musical heritage. As a direct descendant of royal court players in Gwalior – a city known as the musical capital of India – the sixth generation maestro shares an incredible relationship with the very instrument his ancestors refined and developed. A great great great grandfather, Mohammad Hashmi Khan, was recorded as having travelled from Afghanistan with a rabab and modifying it in the mid-1700s.
His concert at Town Hall Birmingham is supported by sampad and is in association with Radio XL.
Notes to Editors
Since 1990, sampad has been a leading cultural organisation that has helped to establish South Asian arts within mainstream culture in Birmingham and across the U.K. Through production, promotion, performances, advocacy, education and outreach activity using diverse art forms originating from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, sampad nurtures and supports British Asian Arts and communities. For more information visit www.sampad.org.uk
Radio XL is the first 24 hour Asian Radio Station to broadcast in the main West Midlands conurbation. With its wide reach the station is available to a potential Asian audience in excess of 250,000 people from the 15+ age group. www.radioxl.net
Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and a thriving education/community department reaches a further 20,000 people of all ages.
Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).
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