Press Release
NEW YORK, November 5, 2018
Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan
performs at IAAC Diwali Concert in New York City
Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan performs at IAAC Diwali Concert in New York City
From left to right: Anubrata Chatterjee, Amaan Ali Bangash, Amjad Ali Khan, Ayaan Ali Bangash, Amit Kavthekar
From left to right: Anubrata Chatterjee, Amaan Ali Bangash, Amjad Ali Khan,
Ayaan Ali Bangash, Amit Kavthekar
From left to right: Amaan Ali Bangash, Amjad Ali Khan, Ayaan Ali Bangash
From left to right: Amaan Ali Bangash, Amjad Ali Khan, Ayaan Ali Bangash
The Indo-American Arts Council presented Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan’s concert ‘Musical Celebration of Lights and Life’ on November 3, at Symphony Space, New York City. The event opened to packed crowds and was attended by leading members of the Indian diaspora from the arts and culture, entertainment, sports, finance, medicine fields among others.

Khan Saheb, as he is popularly known, performed along with his sons, Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash. The theme of the concert was Diwali, the festival of lights. In addition, celebrations continued for #GandhiAt150 with the maestro playing a few songs popularized by Mahatma Gandhi.

The evening started with an address by IAAC board member Anurag Harsh, who thanked the patrons and IAAC members for supporting Indian arts. Chairman Dr. Nirmal Mattoo spoke of his long association with Amjad ji. This was followed by the lamp lighting ceremony to kick off the Diwali concert. The stage itself was lit with diyas and flowers for a very festive look.

The concert was in 3 sections with Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash performing in the first set. They played Raag Jhinjhoti in 2 compositions with 91/2 beats and 16 beats.

The second set brought Khan Saheb to the stage. Commending IAAC for their service, he also spoke about his association with New York City, coming here as a young boy in 1963. “Music has connected the world and is the common expression of every human being” he said. It being Diwali, he decided on melodies played at the time of roshni, melodies that have the happiness of light and also sadness of entering a different world. He started with Raag Shyama Gauri with 14 beats time cycle.

The next piece played was Raag Saraswati, which is a rare raga, having no record of this raga on sarod and hence is difficult, technically. Another composition was Raag Durga. Both are named after goddesses and are so different musically but they come with a beautiful message.

Accompanying the Maestro on the stage were Anubrata Chatterjee, son and disciple of Pandit Anindo Chatterjee and Amit Kavthekar, disciple of Alla Rakha Khan Saheb and Ustad Zakir Hussain. Khan Saheb noted that most of the songs are based on language whether folk music, Dhrupad, Dhamar, Thumri etc. In the 13th century sufi saint Hazrat Amir Khusrau created the qawwali with many new instruments, new raagas. He created a new style of singing called tarana that doesn’t deal with language so he created a language of music, of syllables. Khan Saheb having composed many taranas, sang one at the concert in Raag Bahar. His next piece was Raag Malkauns composition in Jhaptal 10 beats time cycle with a taarana of different kind.

In conclusion of his solo, he played the devotional songs which were also favorites of Mahatma Gandhi, Vaishnava Jana To and Ram Dhun.

In the third set, joining him on stage were his older son Amaan Ali Bangash and younger son Ayaan Ali Bangash. They played Raag Desh, a composition in a beautiful melody and the bengali song by Tagore Ekla Chalo Re. Amjad ji spoke to the audience, explaining the necessity to file his nails on stage, as there are grooves in his nails, after each item. Sarod cannot be played with fingertips and the musician needs to press with the edge of the fingernails to bring out the resonance, to bring out the human emotions.

Khan Saheb also spoke of Tagore, who was a great poet and also a great composer. The maestro had the honor of playing with the great singer Suchitra Mitra and had made an album of 10 songs of Tagore. Most of Tagore’s songs were based on Indian classical Ragas but Tagore took liberty with them. Only a genius can do that and only another genius such as Amjad Ali Khan Saheb can play as melodiously as he did this evening.

Ending the event, host Anurag Harsh, whom the maestro had praised earlier in the evening, wished the audience a very happy Diwali.The event was followed by dinner and VIP reception.

The IAAC supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. We work cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. Our focus is to help artists and art organizations in North America as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work here. The IAAC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. For information or to become a member, visit www.iaac.us.
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Phone: 212 951 7395
Email: admin@IAAC.us Web: www.IAAC.us
For Hi-Res pictures with captions, please contact Suman Gollamudi on (646) 907-8022 or suman.gn@iaac.us
NEW YORK, October 18, 2018
A Musical Celebration of Lights and Life with Maestro Amjad Ali Khan, November 3,  7:30 pm.
The Indo-American Arts Council announces the Music of Lights and Life Concert on November 3 2018 7:30PM at the magnificent Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Symphony Space. Maestro Amjad Ali Khan will be joined by Amaan Ali Bangash and Ayaan Ali Bangash on the Sarod. Accompanying them will be Amit Kavthekar and Anubrata Chatterjee on the Tabla.
Maestro Amjad Ali Khan needs no introduction with NYTimes calling him “The most charismatic performer of Indian Ragas….”  and The Guardian declaring him to be “the finest living exponent of the sarod” . He is India’s most celebrated classical musician and an undisputed master of the Sarod, a stringed instrument used in classical Indian music. He is the seventh generation of musicians playing the same instrument, being heir to a long and distinguished musical lineage. He gave his first performance at age six and has since performed his own compositions with the finest orchestras and ensembles in venues around the world, including an acclaimed performance at the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Norway.  The Grammy-nominated musician has won many prestigious awards including the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum, UNICEF’s National Ambassadorship, and India’s prestigious awards, the Padma Vibhushan and the Sangeet Natak Academi award for music.
Based on his belief that music transcends all, he has broadened the appeal of Indian music and its spirit throughout the world, transcending race, region and generation. In the current political climate, there is even more reason to find commonality and feel inclusive. Human emotions are universal and are the common thread binding us as a community. Khan affirms “Since my childhood, I always wanted my instrument, the Sarod to be able to express the entire range of human emotions…to Sing, Shout, Whisper and cry. All the emotions! It has been a long journey so far and by the benevolence of the heavens, the Sarod has become far more expressive than it was 35 years ago.” 
Khan is an exponent of a tradition that dates back many years. But Khan is no prisoner to tradition: he composes his own ragas and seeks out western musicians for collaboration. He says "It is hard for an Indian classical musician to mention the Ragas or the Taals (rhythmic cycles) before hand because the decisions are made very near to the concert date, perhaps on the day of the concert itself! Since we don’t have a written score, it also has something to do with the accommodation of moods and emotions of an artist on that day.  I treat every Raga like a living entity. A mere scale is not a Raga. A scale is more like a skeleton. Even though the literal meaning of a Raga is Improvisation within a set framework of ascending and descending notes, I feel a Raga has to be invoked.“
“Maestro Amjad Ali Khan is a living legend and a national treasure of Indian music. We are fortunate to have him perform a bespoke repertoire for us on Diwali along with his two illustrious sons Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash. Their 57 strings will together make the festival of lights even more special this year for the Indian diaspora.” - Anurag Harsh, Board of Directors, IAAC.
Here is a snippet from the review of their recent performance “All the performers were very gifted and talented musicians who masterfully brought out the voices and souls of their instruments. With their music, they transformed daily life into an extraordinary experience…I felt engaged, invigorated, alive, excited and at the same time very calm…Maybe the best way to describe sarod music is to quote the young man who sat next to me at the concert: ‘Listening to this music is like reaching Nirvana.' ”
Khan believes that “there are only two types of music.  One is pure sound (which is the purest form) other kind of music is based on the literature, text, lyrics, story etc.  There is an old saying “language creates barriers”.   Through pure sound of the instruments or voice one cannot lie or abuse a person. Music has to be felt and experience. I personally admire and respect the beautiful poetry or the messages of the great Saints.  But I live in the world of sound.  It is only through sound that I feel the presence of (God) the Supreme Being."
Khan has had a long association with New York. In his own words, “ New York holds a very special place in my heart and my association with this city goes back nearly fifty five years. Today, I feel so happy to see the awareness and love that Indian music has generated over the period of time, especially in this part of the world.”
On Nov 3, the concert will be in three segments where they will present both evening and night ragas celebrating the Festival of Lights. The first half will feature Khan's Sarod Solo. Post intermission, there will be a Sarod Duet by Amaan Ali Bangash  and Ayaan Ali Bangash. The last segment will be a Sarod Trio, where he will be assisted by two Sarods. This segment is an example of a living tradition that has been passed on from father to son for generations. Khan will take turns and interact with both the young artists. They will perform a Raga in this segment from the south Indian system of classical music. Incidentally, India is the only country that has two systems of classical music i.e. of the north and of the south.
“It is our honor to host Maestro Amjad Ali Khan and his sons at IAAC. They have orchestrated a very uplifting and energizing concert for us on Diwali bringing Ragas from both the North as well as South Indian traditions of Indian music” - Dr Nirmal Mattoo, Chairman of the Board, IAAC
Nov 3 2018 7:30PM
Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space
Upper Level, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
7:30PM Address by IAAC Chair
8:00PM Concert Performance Start
10:00PM Concert Performance Ends
10:30PM Reception Dinner  
Press is invited to interview the artists during the pre and post reception at Symphony Space. Must RSVP to suman.gn@iaac.us. Press check-in by 7PM.
Tickets are available on the Symphony Space website at http://bit.ly/AAKConcert and also on the IAAC website at iaac.us
VIP tickets are available over phone by calling (646) 907-8022.
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Event hashtags #AAKConcert #IAAC
The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit secular arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of the arts and artists whose heritage lies in the Indian subcontinent in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. For information please visit www.iaac.us
For more information about this press release or for poster and Hi-Res pictures with captions, please contact Suman Gollamudi on (646) 907-8022 or suman.gn@iaac.us
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