The Ali Akbar College of Music was founded in 1967 by the legendary sarod Maestro Ali Akbar
Khan, in Berkeley, California. The following year, it was relocated to Marin County—eventually
landing in San Rafael, where it has remained.
During Ali Akbar Khan’s career, he often dreamed of being able to open a school of music; an
institution where musicians and music lovers alike could exist together and be surrounded
constantly by their shared interests. After opening his first school in Calcutta in 1956, Khansahib
was drawn to California and the incredible interest he found when visiting the Bay Area.
It was his father, the esteemed Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan, who instilled in Khansahib the
importance of spreading and teaching this music to any and all who wish to learn. His influence
was the basis for Khansahib’s vision and remains as the mission statement of the AACM.
Today, the AACM offers education in the classical music of North India at the highest
professional level. Our primary instructors have studied with Khansahib for many years, and
teach alongside our renowned tabla master, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. At the AACM, students
learn the necessary musical skills, knowledge and understanding to contribute significantly to
their musical life. Our international student body ranges from beginner to accomplished
professional, and we are deeply committed to providing our students with opportunities to
progress as both practitioners and performers.
Our instructors specialize in teaching sarod, sitar, violin, and tabla, but at the AACM students
learn on the instrument of their choice—whether that is Indian or non-Indian. All students are
also encouraged to learn vocal music, to assist in their understanding of raga (melody). Cross-
training in raga and tala (percussion) are encouraged as well, though typically the student will
specialize in only one of the two. Cello, guitar, flute, and any other instrument is welcomed in
our classes. Our classes are offered in group and private settings, both in person and online, and
we will assist you in finding what works best for you upon enrollment.
The AACM facilities include several practice rooms, classrooms, and a concert hall, as well as
full access to our Ali Akbar Khan Library—a free and invaluable learning resource, dedicated to
the preservation of Khansahib’s life works. Residential facilities are not available at the AACM
at this time, but housing is available in the area. Please contact the AACM Office for more
information on finding comfortable and music friendly lodging.
Ensuring the continuation and study of this ancient tradition is of the upmost importance to us at
the AACM. It is with Maestro Ali Akbar Khan’s vision in mind, and the vision of his father
before him, that we welcome all students with open arms.
The AACM is located about 10 miles north of San Francisco in beautiful San Rafael and is easily
accessible by car or public transportation. For detailed map and directions click here.