December 2019

Dear Members and Friends,

Thank you for your ongoing interest in the health and vitality of the AACM. The Ali Akbar College of Music continues to be a place to learn and to explore the rich world of Indian classical music. As we reach the conclusion of our 51st year of teaching, it is a time for us to reflect on goals we have achieved, as well as those we are still striving towards.

In his time, Khansahib was constantly thinking of new ways to present classes, as well as bringing new teachers in to help strengthen those subjects that were already being offered. He also felt it was important to the future of Indian music to showcase a diverse group of performing artists, both at the college and in concert halls around the Bay Area. His goal was to expand the practice of this music, while still staying true to the tradition. We have sought to continue in his footsteps, and will endeavor to do so for years to come.

This past year has been a busy one for both the college as a whole, as well as for our beloved Tabla Master, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Swapanji was the recipient of both the Padma Shri Award (bestowed by the government of India) and an Honorary Doctorate (given by the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata). We are extremely honored that Swapanji continues to make the college his home base, and that he has dedicated himself to fulfilling the wishes of Khansahib: carrying on the work and legacy of the AACM.

This year the college has welcomed Ranjana Ghatak to our faculty. Ranjana is a student of the vocalist Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, and is teaching beginning vocal classes and private lessons at both the AACM and our San Francisco annex. The annex has proved to be a positive addition to the college. The transit system to Marin has always been challenging and has prohibited those without vehicles from studying with us; by hosting classes in San Francisco, students in the East Bay—as well as in the city—are more easily able to study. We are also seeing an increase in families with children taking the San Francisco classes.

In April we presented the 10th annual birthday tribute to Ali Akbar Khan. The event took place in the Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, which was the home to many of the AACM’s concerts in the 1970′s and 80′s. Khansahib performed some of his most memorable concerts in OFC, so the nostalgia was quite palpable for many of the concert goers who had attended those historical performances. Alongside this wonderful event, we continued to present monthly concerts at the college throughout the year. We are encouraged by the interest in Indian classical music being shown by our audience members, and are hopeful that this trend will continue to grow.

Finally, we have begun work on the Swapan Chaudhuri Library—a comprehensive archive of work which will eventually be hosted on our campus alongside the Ali Akbar Khan Library. These two exquisite pillars of knowledge will be an unparalleled resource for the continuation of North Indian classical music. All of these developments are occurring in addition to our main classes, the foundation of our school, which continue on as they have for the past 51 years.

I would like to take this time to encourage you to continue supporting the work we do at the college. I know there are many important causes in the world, and there is much that needs to be done with our limited resources, but I sincerely believe the AACM is an important institution; one that offers the community a beacon of light that is truly beneficial to the welfare of our society. Please consider us when making your end-of-the-year contributions.

With my warm wishes,

Mary Khan
Director of AACM / Library Manager

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