Maestro Ali Akbar Khan's Centennial Concerts PST
A Morning Concert – From 1987!
Friends, our Centennial Concert Series has been an incredible success and celebration, thanks to all of you! We are so excited to announce our November performance, which we know will bring us all some joy.
The eighth concert in our online series will be on Saturday, November 19, 2022, at 9:00 AM (worldwide), and will feature an incredible concert—from June 21, 1987.
This is a recorded performance of Maestro Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, which took place in the well-loved Julia Morgan Theater in Berkeley, CA. Julia Morgan was home to many concerts in the AACM’s history, and was a place that many of our older students and friends will remember fondly. We thought there was no better way to celebrate the immense life and work of Khansahib, than to feature his music itself.
The 1987 performance between Khansahib and Swapanji was a rare morning concert, beginning with raag Basant Mukhari, and finishing with raag Bhairavi Bhatiyar.
We hope that you’ll join us in reliving this moving piece of our community’s history, and enjoying a spectacular morning of music!
These performances are offered courtesy of Sound Photosynthesis and Alam Madina Music Productions, and are hosted by Khansahib’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
Maestro 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 aliakbarkhan.com
Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri is a phenomenon in the arena of Indian Classical Music. Musicians honor him as one of the most respected Tabla players, worthy of highest regard all over the world. Today a two-time Grammy nominee, it was Swapan’s beloved parents, through their own passion for music, who initiated his formal musical training and inspired him in the field of Tabla, paving the path that would eventually lead him to virtuosity.
Swapanji holds a pedigree of awards and accolades reserved for artists of only the highest caliber. He is a recipient of the prestigious Padma Shree Award and Sangeet Natak Academy Award from the Government of India, as well as the American Academy of Artists Award—accolades which are reserved only for those artists who have attained the highest level of artistry. He is also the recent recipient of a Doctorate of Letters from Rabindra Bharathi University in Kolkata, India. Swapanji has received the Excellence in Performing Arts Award from the Global Indian Congress in San Francisco, and has been nominated into the esteemed International Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame. In 2016, and again in 2019, Swapanji was awarded the Master/Apprentice Award from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts.
Swapan Chaudhuri started learning Tabla at the age of five. He bases his style on the intensive training he received from his Guru, the late Pandit Santosh Krishna Biswas of Kolkata—an eminent exponent of the Lucknow Gharana. He holds a Master’s Degree in Music and has been conferred honors for his distinguished contributions in the field of Tabla by various academic and musical institutions. In addition to academic degrees in music, Swapanji also holds a Master’s Degree in Economics from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri’s music is the spontaneous expression of his powerful emotions and his deep knowledge of Tabla. His ingenuity has ushered in a purely new style of Tabla playing. It is undoubtedly through his clarity and elegance of performance, both as an accompanist and as a soloist, that he has achieved such notoriety throughout the world as a true master of Tabla.
More at swapan.com
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