Maestro Ali Akbar Khan's Centennial Concerts IST
A September Concert in Our Centennial Celebration!
We are so excited to welcome you to our sixth installment in our Centennial concert series, on behalf of the late Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. To celebrate his 100th birthday and his beautiful and lasting achievements on earth, we are honored to present our latest performance of the year on Saturday, September 17th at 7:00 pm (worldwide).
These online performances are a tribute to the life, teachings, and music of Maestro Khan, one of the greatest sarod players of our time.
For our September lineup, the evening will begin with a special performance on santoor by Sandip Chatterjee, with tabla accompaniment by Debjit Patitundi. Ending the night will be a vocal performance by the great Pandit Venkatesh Kumar, with accompaniment on tabla by Keshav Joshi, and on harmonium by Narendra Nayak.
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
Pandit M. Venkatesh Kumar is an Indian Hindustani classical vocalist. Born in Lakshmipura, in the Dharwad region of northern Karnataka, he is renowned for his vibrant, classical singing style.
In 1968, when Venkatesh was 12, he was taken by his uncle to the Veereshwara Punyashrama in Gadag (central Karnataka), run by Puttaraja Gawai—the religious saint and Hindustani musician. Venkatesh lived and studied at the ashram for the next 11 years. Under Gawai, Venkatesh learned Hindustani vocal in the Gwalior and Kirana gharana styles.
Venkatesh got his first break in 1993; 14 years after he left the ashram. He was invited by the great Pandit Bhimsen Joshi to perform at the Sawai Gandharya Sangeet Mahotsav in Pune that year. Since then, Venkatesh has featured in many National musical programs, and has been an “A” grade artist of All India Radio since 1988.
Venkatesh’s vast experience and deep-rooted commitment has made him a name to reckon with. He has performed at all major music festivals in India and abroad, has received multiple awards, and has several Devotional and Classical albums to his credit. Venkatesh currently teaches music at the Karnatak College of Music, Dharwad. He also received a post graduate degree in music from Gandharva Mahavidyalaya.
Born in 1980, Keshav Joshi started learning tabla at the age of eight from Shri R.M. More. After ten years old, he was fortunate to have guidance from the late Pandit Karveer Mallapur, as well as from Pandit Ishwarlal Mishra of the Banaras Gharana.
Both a fine soloist and accompanist, Keshav is a regular performer on All India Radio and Doordarshan, where he has been credited as a B high-graded artist. Keshav has performed in many prestigious music festivals in both India and abroad, and has accompanied many famous musicians—including Pandit Venkatesh Kumar, Pandit Jayateerth Mevundi, Vidushi Ashwini Bhide, Vidushi Arti Ankalikar Tikekar, Pandit Ajay Pohankar, Vidushi Kalpana Zokarkar, and many more.
An educator from Mangalore, harmonium player Narendra Nayak is a disciple of the late maestro Pt. Vasant Kanakapur, and Ustad Rafique Khan. At present, he is also taking guidance from Pt. Vyasmurthy Katti.
He has accompanied Arati Anklikar, Rajan-Sajan Mishra, Venkatesh Kumar, and Vinayak Torvi. Mr. Nayak is the Chairman of Expert Education Foundation, Mangalore.
Sandip Chatterjee, a disciple of Pandit Tarun Bhattacharya and vocal maestro Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, is a rich and accomplished Santoor player.
His collaboration, “Calcutta Express,” has been nominated as finalist in the Indo Acoustic Project’s “Best CD’s of 2006” award in the World Music category. Sandip’s abilities have been exhibited through his albums, which range up to 21 in number. His expertise has also been utilized by renowned music directors like A.R. Rahman, Jatin Lalit, Gulshan Kumar, Rabindra Jain, and Pt. V. Balsara.
Sandip has received several awards and laurels, such as the President of India Award, the Jadubhatta Award, the Sangeeth Ratna Award, and the Abhinaba Kala Sanman. He has performed extensively in many music festivals and concerts all around the globe—as well as lending himself to collaborations with many overseas musicians across genres such as Jazz, Rock, Contemporary, and Fusion.
Debjit Patitundi is a young tabla maestro. He took up the instrument at the age of four, learning first under his father, Amal Patitundi, and then from his father’s guru, Pandit Shankha Chaterjee. Their fruitful decade spent as guru-shishya (master-student) saw Debjit win various competitions—including All India Radio’s tabla competition in 2009—and appear frequently on national TV.
Debjit soon became one of All India Radio’s youngest “A” grade Hindustani percussionists, and recently has represented his country internationally, travelling to Spain as part of an Indian cultural delegation and making his London debut in 2018. Debjit currently receives advanced instruction from eclectic maestro Pandit Subhankar Banerjee.
About Maestro Ali Akbar Khan
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
About the AACM
The Ali Akbar College of Music was founded in 1967 by the legendary sarod Maestro Ali Akbar Khan, in Berkeley, California. The following year, it was relocated to Marin County—eventually landing in San Rafael, where it has remained.
During Ali Akbar Khan’s career, he often dreamed of being able to open a school of music; an institution where musicians and music lovers alike could exist together and be surrounded constantly by their shared interests. After opening his first school in Calcutta in 1956, Khansahib was drawn to California and the incredible interest he found when visiting the Bay Area. It was his father, the esteemed Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan, who instilled in Khansahib the importance of spreading and teaching this music to any and all who wish to learn. His influence was the basis for Khansahib’s vision and remains as the mission statement of the AACM.
More at aacm.org