Ali Akbar Khan Endowment in Classical Indian Music,

University of California, Santa Cruz

The Ali Akbar Khan Endowment is in honor of the famed Classical Indian Music maestro Baba Ali Akbar Khan, considered by many to be one of the greatest living instrumentalists. In 1991, he was awarded the prestigious MacArthur foundation grant acknowledging his contribution to music. He has also received two Grammy nominations, the "President of India Award," "Padma Bhushan" and "Padma Vibhushan", the "Kalidas Sannian" from the Madhya Pradesh Academy of Music and Fine Arts in India and an honorary Doctorate degree in the Arts from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. In 1997, Ali Akbar Khan was chosen to receive the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. The numerous awards and honorary doctorates he has received in India and abroad are only a footnote to his superb music, which speaks for itself. In his own words, the most valuable award he has ever received is the title his father gave him - "Swar Samrat" (Emperor of Melody).

Born in Bangladesh village of Shibpur in 1922. Trained in music by his famous father, the late Ustad Baba Allauddin Khansahib, acknowledged as one of the greatest musicians known in Indian history. Allaudin Khansahib had a phenomenal stature as a musician and a teacher earned him deep respect and reverence in the country . His depth of musical experience included the command of over two hundred different instruments as well as knowledge of Western music' . Ali Akbar's rigorous musical apprenticeship began at the age of three under his father. Allauddin Khan taught his young son vocal music and a variety of Western and Indian instruments. His uncle, Aftabuddin Khansahib, taught him the drums. Later, his father asked him to focus on one single instrument - the sarode. With this decision began an intense and austere musical training that lasted over twenty years.

At the age of thirteen, Ali Akbar Khansahib gave his first professional performance at an important music festival at the All India Music Conference in Allahabad. Shortly thereafter, he received wider exposure through the medium of All India Radio, which at that time was the most significant way in which a musician could be brought in touch with the general public. In his early twenties, he became the court musician for the Maharaja of Jodhpur. In 1955, Yehudi Menuhin requested Khansahib to visit the United States where he performed at the Museum of Modem Art. At that time, he made the first Western LP recording and the first U.S. television performance of Indian classical music on Allistair Cooke's "Omnibus,"

Since then he has toured extensively in Asia, Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. In this way, a musical career evolved that today stands above all categorizations of art, music, nation, or culture.

This Endowment is a gift of the Friends of Ali Akbar Khan

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