Kicking off the 2023 New Year!
We want to wish you all a very Happy New Year, and to say thank you for your continued support during this final stretch of our Centennial year of celebration!
To kick off 2023, we have an online concert for you that will take place on January 21st, 2023 at 7:00 PM (worldwide). This concert will be a throwback performance of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan from July 27th, 1987. The concert features Khansahib on sarod, with the incredible Zakir Hussain on tabla, at a venue many of us will remember—the well-loved St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley, CA.
These online performances are a tribute to the life, teachings, and music of Maestro Khan, one of the greatest sarod players of our time. This particular concert is offered courtesy of Sound Photosynthesis and Alam Madina Music Productions (AMMP).
These performances are hosted by Maestro Khan’s school, the Ali Akbar College of Music—a non-profit organization seeking to spread the teachings of this ancient tradition to any and all who wish to learn. For more information about upcoming events throughout this Centennial year, please visit aliakbarkhan.com.
Meet the Artists
Ali Akbar Khan (known more familiarly as Khansahib) was regarded as a “musician’s musician.” He was the master of the sarod (a 25-stringed, fretless instrument), in the Maihar gharana (ancestral tradition), and was known for his incredible breadth of artistry and knowledge. He was born in the village of Shibpur, in present-day Bangladesh on April 14th, 1922, and was raised by his father, Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan, and his mother, Madina Begum.
Khansahib began his studies with his father at the tender age of 3, learning vocal music. The classical music of North India is among the oldest continual musical traditions in the world, dating back thousands of years, and his father is acknowledged as one of the greatest figures in North Indian music of all time. Their family traces its gharana from Mian Tansen—a 16th century musical genius and court musician for Emperor Akbar—to Mohammed Wazir Khan, who was court musician of Rampur State and Baba Allauddin Khan’s guru. In olden times, this music was considered close to magic; there are many accounts of it healing the ailing, as well as starting fires and bringing rain. The music could be used as medicine, and for this reason it must be studied seriously and with intense dedication.
Khansahib would go on in life to be awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India, followed by the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest. In 1971 he performed at Madison Square Garden for the Concert for Bangladesh, along with Ravi Shankar, Alla Rakha, and Kamala Chakravarty; other musicians at the concert included George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr. Khansahib received the illustrious MacArthur Fellowship in 1991—the first Indian musician to be awarded the “genius grant.” In 1997, Khansahib received the National Endowment for the Arts’ prestigious National Heritage Fellowship; this is the United States’ highest honor in the traditional arts. He also received five Grammy nominations over the course of his life.
For more information about Khansahib’s incredible life and works, please visit aacm.org
Zakir Hussain is appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon and one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians. The foremost disciple of his father, the legendary Ustad Allarakha, Zakir was a child prodigy who began his professional career at the age of twelve, accompanying India’s greatest classical musicians and dancers and touring internationally with great success by the age of eighteen. His brilliant accompaniment, solo performance and genre-defying collaborations, including his pioneering work to develop a dialogue between North and South Indian musicians, have elevated the status of his instrument both in India and globally, bringing the tabla into a new dimension of renown and appreciation.
Widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement, Zakir’s contribution has been unique, with many historic and groundbreaking collaborations. As a composer, he has scored music for numerous feature films, major events and productions. He has composed three concertos, and his third, the first-ever concerto for tabla and orchestra, was premiered in India in September of 2015, by the Symphony Orchestra of India, premiered in Europe and the UK in 2016, and in the USA in April of 2017, by the National Symphony Orchestra at Kennedy Center. A Grammy award winner, Zakir is the recipient of countless awards and honors, including Padma Bhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the USA’s National Heritage Fellowship and Officier in France’s Order of Arts and Letters. In 2019, Zakir was named a Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellow and received two honorary doctorates, one from Berklee College of Music and the other from Indira Kala Sangit University in Khairagarh, India.
He is the founder and president of Moment Records, an independent record label presenting rare live concert recordings of Indian classical music and world music. Zakir was resident artistic director at SFJazz from 2013 until 2016 and was honored with SF Jazz’s Lifetime Achievement Award on January 18, 2017, in recognition of his “unparalleled contribution to the world of music.” In 2022 he was honored as the Kyoto Prize Laureate in Arts and Philosophy.
For more information, please visit zakirhussain.com