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Preserving and Accessing the Ali Akbar Khan Collection

The goal of the Ali Akbar Khan Foundation, in conjunction with AACM, is to set-up a public library that will include Khansahib’s collection of materials for the purpose of musical study, enjoyment, and to further the life and love of this gharana. It was the desire of Khansahib and a current focus of the staff and students of AACM to have a library established as part of the AACM.
In 2007, we began work on one of our most exciting library projects to date; the archiving and preservation of 7,000 hours of audio recordings of Khansahib’s classes and concerts to be accessed at the library on our AACM campus. We were very fortunate to have received an initial grant of $150,000 from the James Irvine Foundation to partially fund this project for a 2 year period. We have also received a very generous award of $10,000 from the Rex Foundation, $10,000 from the Tides Foundation, $5,000 from the LEF Foundation, most recently $15,000 from the NEA, and $42,000 from individual donations totaling $232,000. Our budget for this phase of the library is $375,000. We are still $143,000 short of our goal, but more than halfway there.

Work completed:

Professional archivist, Claeora Styron, completed a survey of the collection in 2003. We have also completed the main database as well as other interconnected databases. Many areas of the collection have been digitized. The following list consists of components that have been preserved:

  • 12,000 pages of handwritten musical compositions from Baba Allauddin Khan’s (Ali Akbar Khan’s father) hand-written notebooks have been scanned and printed
  • 3,000 pages of Baba Allauddin Khan’s hand-written notebooks have been translated from Bengali to English
  • Over 2,000 photos have been digitized
  • 1,200 Reviews and articles dated between 1960-2001 have been digitized, referenced and copied
  • 8,000 pages of notations from Ali Akbar Khan’s classes have been scanned and entered into a database
  • 200 concerts have been digitized and entered into a database
  • 3,305 audio cassette class tapes were transferred into wav files
  • 3,430 audio cassette tapes were finalized
  • 3,131 CD’s were created as back-up copies for the library
  • 335 DVD’s were created as further back-up
  • 2,313 audio cassette tapes were referenced in the database
  • 1,387 were entered in the database with their corresponding notation if available

Work that needs to be completed:

  • Converting 800 concerts from reel-to-reel, cassette, and DAT to wave files along with the necessary meta data
  • Converting 1,200+ class audio tapes from reel-to-reel and cassette to wave files along with the necessary meta data
  • Converting 80 concert videos from VHS, Beta and Sony 8mm to DVD
  • Converting 870 class videos from VHS to DVD
  • Digitizing 6,000 pages of class notation
  • Referencing 2000 photos
  • Entering the data from all of the digitized materials into the databases for access

For questions or more information about the library work please contact Mary Khan at

AACM thanks the following organizations for their generous support: