Ali Akbar Khan dead

Started by satzz69, Jun 20, 2009, 01:37 AM

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Kolkata: Sarod maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan died in San Francisco in the US today after a prolonged kidney ailment, according to a family friend here. Eighty-eight-year-old Khan died at his music centre at 10 am IST, Rabin Pal, the secretary of sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar, said. He is survived by wife Mary, three sons and a daughter.


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Pal, a family friend of the maestro, said he was informed of Khan's death by the ustad's family in San Francisco. Khan's secretary in Kolkata, Ashish Roy, said the maestro was on dialysis and had been ailing for over four years. His condition had deteriorated in the last four months.

A recipient of the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan, Khan had been a colossus in the world of Indian classical music for the last five decades. He became court musician for the maharaja of Jodhpur and continued for seven years, till his patron's death. The state of Jodhpur bestowed on him his title of "ustad".

At the request of violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin, Khan visited the United States
in 1955 and performed at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

He founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Kolkata in 1956. In 1965, he began teaching in USA, later opening a branch of his college there, and in Switzerland. In 1997, Khan performed at a programme in the United Nations to celebrate the 50th year of India's independence.

He also composed music for films, creating the musical score for Chetan Anand's Aandhiyan (1953), Merchant-Ivory productions' The Householder, Tapan Sinha's Khudita Pashan, Satyajit Ray's Devi and Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha.

Khan married thrice. His son, Ustad Aashis Khan, is a sarod artiste of repute. The maestro once said: "For us, as a family, music is like food. When you need it, you don't have to explain why, because it is the basis of life."

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