Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan dead (Lead)

June 19th, 2009 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 19 (IANS) Legendary sarod player Ali Akbar Khan died Friday at his residence in San Anselmo in California following renal failure. He was 87.
The Hindustani classical music exponent died around 10.30 a.m. India time, his secretary Ashish Roy told IANS here.

He is survived by 11 children from his three marriages.

Born on April 14, 1922, in Comilla in present day Bangladesh, Ali Akbar Khan was the son of legendary musician Ustad Allauddin Khan of the famous Maihar Gharana.

He was awarded India’s prestigious civilian honours of Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Indian classical music.

Tejendra Narayan Majumdar, a disciple of Ali Akbar Khan, said legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin once heard the sarod maestro perform and remarked that he was the best instrumentalist of all time.

Mourning his teacher’s loss, Majumdar said: “Such a musician is born once in 1,000 years. His death is a great loss to the music world.”

Ali Akbar Khan had also scored music for a number of Bengali films, including “Jhinder Bandi” and “Devi”. He ran the Ali Akbar College of Music in California and Switzerland.

Speaking to IANS in New Delhi, Kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj, a close friend of Ali Akbar Khan, said the musician had been ailing for a long time and was on dialysis before his death.

“He was like an older brother in the community of artists which played regularly in Delhi and Lucknow in the 1940s and 1950s. I used to call him ‘bhaiya’ and while in Delhi we met frequently and performed together in several soirees,” said Birju Maharaj.

“Ali Akbar Khan was the supreme artist in the world of sarod and the void left by his death can never be filled,” he added.

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