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Indian classical master Amjad Ali Khan returns to IU for Jacobs School residency

Bloomington, Indiana, United States

Amjad Ali Khan, India's foremost classical musician, will visit Indiana University Bloomington through Oct. 22 as an artist-in-residence. His return is the result of a partnership between the Jacobs School of Music and the Madhusudan and Kiran C. Dhar India Studies Program in IU's School of Global and International Studies.Khan is a Grammy nominee and a master of the sarod, a stringed instrument similar to the lute.

"We are thrilled to have Indian classical musician and sarod master Amjad Ali Khan in residence at the Jacobs School of Music this fall," said Gwyn Richards, the school's dean. "It is extraordinary that our students will have the opportunity to learn from and perform with this world-renowned musician who will provide them with experience with a musical form that spans centuries. Jacobs students -- performers, composers and improvisers -- will benefit immeasurably."

During his residency at the Jacobs School, which starts today, Khan will serve as an adjunct professor of Indian classical music. He will teach "Fundamentals of Indian Classical Music," which will be open to graduate students and upper-level undergraduate students in the Jacobs School.

The course will be highly interactive, and students will learn the fundamental concepts of Indian classical music through time-honored traditional methods. Topics will include the forms of raga (melodic modes) and taal (rhythmic patterns) and how the practice of composition continually helps to preserve both tradition and musical technique.

"I am delighted that Ustad Amjad Ali Khan will be returning to Bloomington to teach Indian classical music after a very successful 'mini-residency' at the Dhar India Studies Program in September 2013," said Michael Dodson, director of the program. "(His) eight-week stay in Bloomington will not only enrich the musical education of students at Jacobs but also contribute to the international character and cosmopolitan learning environment of Indiana University."

In addition to giving guest lectures in the Music in General Studies Program at the Jacobs School, Khan will perform with a Jacobs student orchestra at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 in Auer Hall. He also will perform with his son Ayaan Ali Bangash, another sarod master, at noon Sept. 12 in the atrium of the Global and International Studies Building. Both concerts are free and open to the public.

As part of the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, Bangash will perform at 7:45 p.m. Sept. 17 in Bloomington's First Christian Church. Bangash's concert and Khan's time in Bloomington are supported by IU's Office of the Provost and Office of the Vice President for International Affairs in addition to the Jacobs School of Music and the Dhar India Studies Program.

"Ustad Amjad Ali Khan is a living legend of Indian classical music and a humanist par excellence," Dodson said. "His philosophy of music and musical education -- that music, no matter how 'exotic' it may appear, is a universal language that can bring people together -- is now more relevant than ever. I'm thrilled that he and his family will be here."

Coming from a long line of musicians, Khan has performed on the sarod since the age of 6. He was taught by his father, who was the fifth generation in the Bangash family lineage known as the Senia Bangash School of Music. Khan has performed internationally since the 1960s, including major music festivals and prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center, Royal Albert Hall, the Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall.

Khan counts numerous collaborations among his many recordings. He and his sons performed with Bloomington's Carrie Newcomer on her 2011 album "Everything Is Everywhere." His sons also performed at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Concert for Malala Yousafzai.

Khan has received numerous honors, including the Indian government's Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award for his outstanding contributions toward promotion of communal harmony, national integration and peace. He also has received lifetime achievement awards from the Delhi government and New Delhi Television Limited’s Indian of the Year Awards, the UNESCO Gandhi Medal, the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum, UNICEF's National Ambassadorship and India's highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan.

"As we use flowers in worship, welcoming, honoring, departure and celebration no matter what our race, origin, religion or language, we similarly arrange musical notes into 'bouquets,' or compositions, which display all our human feelings and emotions," Khan said. "In instrumental music there is no language barrier between the performer and the listener, so it transcends all barriers. Through music I would like to connect the world."

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