Ali Akbar Khan is a master of the sarode (a 25-stringed Indian instrument) and is one of the most respected Indian classical musicians in the world. Kahn came to the United States in 1955, and in 1967 he founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Marin, California. Since then he has had a tremendous impact on music in the United States, and he continues to teach and perform across the country. Khan was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1991, received the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and was honored with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1997. The Asia Society honored him in 2001 with a special award for his cultural ambassadorship and contribution to intercultural understanding. He recently created the Ali Akbar Khan Foundation to fund the Baba Allauddin Institute, a library and archive to preserve, translate, and make available to future generations rare materials relating to Indian music.
Portrait photo courtesy Gautam Rajadhyaksha.