Amjad Ali Khan
"One of the 20th century’s greatest masters of the Sarod…"
"the finest living exponent of the sarod"
"this is a player at the height of his inventive powers and currently unequalled"
BBC Music Magazine
Amjad Ali Khan is one of the undisputed masters of the music world. Born to sarod maestro Haafiz Ali Khan, he is the sixth generation in the legendary line of the Senia Bangash School. Since giving his first performance at the age of six, he has played for audiences worldwide, bringing a new and yet timeless interpretation to the repertoire, whilst being widely credited with reinventing the technique of playing the sarod.
Over the course of a distinguished career spanning more than six decades, Amjad Ali Khan has won numerous accolades including a Grammy nomination, the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum, Unicef's National Ambassadorship and the Fukuoka Cultural grand prize.
Amjad Ali Khan has made regular appearances at Carnegie Hall New York, Royal Albert Hall and Royal Festival Hall London, Sydney Opera House Australia, Suntory Hall Tokyo, Esplanade Singapore, Kennedy Center Washington and Symphony Center Chicago. He has performed at festivals worldwide including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, WOMAD, World Beat Festival, Enescu Festival Bucharest, and the BBC Proms as well as for prestigious organizations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, World Arts Summit and for the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony in Oslo in 2014.
Samaagam, his first sarod concerto, has been performed by the Britten Sinfonia, Orchestre National d'lle de France, Orchestre d'Auvergne, Philharmonia Orchestra, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Amjad Ali Khan’s passion for bringing the sarod to new audiences has seen him give numerous residencies as well as being appointed as Visiting Professor at several universities, including Stanford University, University of New Mexico, York University and Jacob’s School of Music.
Amjad Ali Khan is a Gold Medal Winner at the Global Music Awards for his outstanding contribution to the global music industry and excellence in the classical music sphere. This honour was bestowed on the trailblazing trio of Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash in recognition of their “Peace Worshipers” album which was released in July 2017 by Affetto Records and distributed by Naxos.
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Royal Festival Hall
London, 31 April 2019
Sustained brilliance and punctuated by rare moments of thrilling intensity...Khan’s talent seems to be shared between his sons, one adopting his speed, the other his delicacy. The elder of the two, Amaan Ali Bangash, strums his instrument fast and rattles out repetitive phrases like a machine gun; the younger son, Ayaan Ali Bangash, delivers a series of sighing riffs and pitch-bending curlicues. One of the highlights of the show comes at the end, when all three sarod players play together, accompanied by the two percussionists (including the remarkable tabla player Vijay Ghate). They trade phrases like blues musicians, one playing an eight-beat riff, the others replicating it note-for-note, with increasing intensity and featuring furious percussion accompaniment from Ghate and mridangam virtuoso Sridar Parthasarathy. It’s an ending that truly hits the audience for six.
John Lewis, The Guardian ****
WOMADelaide, March 2019
Quiet moments that shone with subtle intensity... the shimmer of Amjad Ali Khan's sarod set against the quivering strings of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Jessica Nicholas, Canberra Times
The huge centre stage was filled to capacity as the Sarod trio were joined by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to present the stunning and acclaimed concerto for Sarod, Samaagam.
The violins of the orchestra droned softly as the three Sarod maestros took turns taking short, brittle solos as the tabla measured time. It felt like a journey through a desert as the bright attack of the Sarod cut through the shifting landscape drawn by the orchestra, as the insistent tabla marked our journey's steps.
The concerto is quite a restrained piece but soon gave way to brighter colours as the orchestra lifted and fell like waves or the fluttering of flags in the wind, the conductor carefully watching the trio of Sarod players as they improvised freely amongst the themes offered by reed and horn, string and bow
Broadway World, Barry Lenny
Selected praise for Amjad Ali Khan
One of the delights of Indian classical music is that it can be such an easy-going affair… [Amjad Ali Khan is] rightly regarded [as] the finest living exponent of the sarod… It was a masterful set.
Robin Denselow, The Guardian
[Amjad Ali Khan] gave each melodic phrase an individual character with an expert use of dynamics. And in the improvisations, he was creating his own original shapes. He placed important notes between beats; he used trembling-pitch ornamentation, but not too much; his phrases began mildly, became distended, and dove into silence... Once you hear his sons, you fully appreciate Mr. Khan’s power. His sons are both excellent musicians, who play with power and precision and can light up an audience with fast passages.
The New York Times
[Amjad Ali Khan] is at the height of his inventive powers and currently unequalled.
BBC Music Magazine
It was like watching an Indian classical answer to Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker crashing through their favourite Robert Johnson covers at the Cream revival earlier this month. Amjad Ali Khan may be a master of the sarod rather than the guitar, but once he had built up to the crescendo of his solo set - improvising furiously around the melody line with repeated, rapid-fire playing and then letting his equally frantic tabla player take over - it was easy to see why great Indian music can be as exciting as classic blues and rock.
Amjad Ali Khan is the master of the Sarod. Smaller than a sitar, it has 19 strings. Accompanied by his two sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash, on similar instruments, they created a 57-string three-man symphony orchestra.
Amjad Ali Khan's playing here is outstanding.
In the Art of Sarod playing echoes the human voice… Amjad Ali Khan's were the right hands to be doing these things.
The New York Times
In the case of a musician like Amjad Ali Khan, who has arrived at the top grade of artistry, the years to come, theoretically speaking, ought to be ones that will take him to unscaled heights. At fifty, he reigns supreme in the field of Sarod
Amjad Ali Khan, One of the great names in Indian Classical music, reached a wide audience as a star of the last year's Indian prom.
BBC Music Magazine
Amjad Ali Khan casts a kind of charm on audiences, sending out ripples of excitement
The New York Times
Amjad Ali Khan […] .a renowned Sarod player.
Amjad Ali Khan, who, for many, is god-like in his dramatic powers on the Sarod, delivered his music with the emotional voltage of the blues, and a flexible instrument line that was almost vocal in its expressiveness.
The Edinburgh Herald
Imagine a violin virtuoso like Itzhak Perlman also being a direct descendant of Stradivarius, and you can come close to the stature of Indian Sarod master Amjad Ali Khan. Khan is a spiritual, expressive musician, a technically brilliant and inventive player.
The 65-year-old sarod virtuoso is a superstar in India, revered for his expressive, vocalized playing on that lute-like instrument… Amjad Ali Khan’s playing explained why everyone was there: not just to study the exotic harmonies and complex rhythms of an ancient musical tradition, but to experience string music that spoke directly to the heart…. In his hands, the sarod’s 25 strings produced a rich palette of overtones, further mimicking the complex tone colors and expressive range of the human voice… Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan are the seventh generation of sarod virtuosos from this remarkable family, and they are already putting their own stamp on the instrument.
Chris Waddington, The Times Picayune