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Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan to teach at Stanford University

October 21
02:09 2011

Amjad Ali Khan

NEW JERSEY: Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, who has shared his rich experience in Indian classical music in classes across the West, will now teach at the prestigious Stanford University.

The music doyen will be part of a three-month program on music that will have lessons in Sarod at the Ivy League institute in California. The program will have lessons in Sarod as well.

Khan told PTI that he will be in residence in Stanford, California during Spring Semester from April 2 through June 12, 2012 to teach a course titled “Indian Classical Music: A Way of Life”.

In the course to be conducted at the Department of Music, Khan will teach students and musicians to perform and appreciate Indian classical music and will share with them his own experiences as a classical musician in the traditional system of music discipleship.

The course has been designed to welcome students of all instruments and from any musical tradition.

The 66-year-old was previously honorary visiting professor of music at several universities.

“My teaching is not just about Sarod but about making European and American musicians feel the sound of music. There is a world beyond writing and reading and one has to feel, realize and experience music of any kind,” he said.

“I want them to feel music in my class and know what music is. How the sound becomes music is the subject of research”.

The maestro has taught in many countries of the West – from a one month course in York University, London where he taught Indian classical music to European musicians, to Stony Brook University in New York, Washington University in Seattle, and the University of New Mexico. “Khan Saheb brought a new lyricism and depth to the Sarod.

He has enchanted audiences with his interpretations of traditional and newly composed ragas, as well with his cross- cultural music projects,” Anna Schultz, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Stanford University told PTI over phone.

Khan said the science of music is quite advanced now, more so in India where it is more than 5,000 years old.

There were originally only seven notes and they evolved into a family of 12 notes altogether, he points out.

“We are in 21st century world now full of scientific advancements. We see I-pads, I-phones and why no one could invent 13th note in music?” he wondered.

He said it took time for Americans to understand and appreciate the sound of Sarod because it was not heard in concerts as frequently as Sitar.

“America has now realized slowly and gradually the sound of Sarod. It has come to be accepted to the level of Sitar. People are now realizing the depth and sound of Sarod.

With due respects to senior Sitar players, if The Beatles had not supported Sitarists, Sitar would only have known as much as Sarod. Sitar gradually got the fancy of the people since 1960s,” he said.

“At that time I was busy performing in India and never felt the need to promote Sarod abroad”.

Khan and his sons – Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan – are now touring the United States and have performed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Indianapolis in Indiana, Dayton in Ohio, Bloomington in Indiana, New York and going to Nashville in Tennessee and Huntsville in Alabama.

In New York, he along with his sons performed at the prestigious Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan at an event sponsored by incredible India and Indo-American Arts Council.

Khan has cut a concerto album called Samaagam with his chamber compositions performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. It was recorded in a church in Edinburgh, England.

Khan and his sons have also collaborated with famous American folk singer Carrie Newcomer. -PTI

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