Bengali: ??? ???? ??-??) is a South Asian classical musician of the Maihar gharana who plays the sarod.His performances worldwide have established the modern sarod idiom and contributed to greater awareness of Indian classical music. Ali Akbar Khan was born on April 14, 1922 in the village of Shibpur, Comilla, Bangladesh, to "Baba" Allauddin Khan and Madina Begum. Khan began his studies in vocal and instrumental music at the age of two under his father.
Ali Akbar Khan was born on April 14, 1922 in the village of Shibpur, Comilla, Bangladesh, to "Baba" Allauddin Khan and Madina Begum. Khan began his studies in vocal and instrumental music at the age of two under his father. He also studied drums from his uncle, Fakir Aftabuddin. Allauddin Khan trained him on several instruments, but decided finally that he must concentrate on the sarod. After years of rigorous training he gave his debut performance in his mid-teens. Khan became the court musician of the royal family of Jodhpur at the age of 22.
Khan performed all over India to great applause and rave critical acclaim, and also traveled the world extensively In 1956, Khan founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta, with the mission to teach and spread Indian classical music. Two years later, he founded another school of the same name in Berkeley, California; it moved to its present location in San Rafael, California in 1968. Khan has been based in the United States since the foundation of the San Rafael school, although he tours extensively. However, ill health in recent times has curtailed this somewhat. In 1985 he founded another branch of the Ali Akbar College of Music in Basel, Switzerland.
His long concert performances progress from the meditative (alap, jod) to the exhilarating (gat, jhala) in a highly structured build-up in the Senia beenkar style. He is also possibly the best living exponent of "sawal-jawab", a dialogue between two instruments (usually one melodic and one percussion). Of late, ill health has reduced the frequency of his concerts and affected his physical dexterity on his instrument, but his musical depth is still very much extant.
Khan has participated in a number of classic jugalbandi pairings, most notably with his fellow-student and former brother-in-law Ravi Shankar, the late Nikhil Banerjee and the violinist L. Subramaniam. A few recordings of some spectacular duets with Vilayat Khan also exist. He has also collaborated with many well-known Western musicians.
He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan. This followed a MacArthur Genius Grant in 1991. Khan has also received several Grammy nominations. However, he values the title of "Swar Samrat" (Emperor of Melody) given him by his father above all other honours.
Ustad Ali Akbar Khan died June 18, 2009.