Amjad Ali Khan was only 6-years-old when he gave his first recital on the Sarod, a stringed instrument believed to be from Afghanistan, and there was no looking back after that.
Khan is the sixth generation of a family of musicians who have entertained many in their lifetimes and he has trained his sons in becoming the seventh.
His ancestral house in Gwalior, India, has been transformed into a museum where one can find the instruments of all of his ancestors and other famous classical musicians.
In an exclusive interview with ITV Gold, Khan explained how he had always wanted to sing through his instrument.
“In every era there were great Sarod players, but from my childhood I wanted to see something different through the Sarod. Generally people play the Sarod, they perform the Sarod, but I wanted to sing through the Sarod,” he said.
Khan then went onto describing the meaning of a raga.
“Another meaning of raga is melody; any melody which has a discipline of ascending and descending. So historically, in our country, with the help of mathematics these ragas were created,” he said, adding how he made a raga called ‘Bapu’ as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 125th birthday.
When asked if winning a Padma Bhushan limited his growth as a musician, Khan said, “I think every day is like a new life, I want to learn some more, I want to do something more.”
He then received an invitation to compose for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and went to Scotland, where he composed, recorded and performed a 45-minute piece for them.
The same piece he performed at the UN on October 24.
Khan told ITV Gold that he loves to perform with different orchestras and though many people call this fusion, he said that sometimes “fusion can be confusion.”
He also touched upon God and gun violence, exclaiming that it is not good for any country to let anyone be in charge of a gun.
Khan has performed in all 50 states of the United States; in fact, Massachusetts has declared April 20th as Amjed Ali Khan Day.
Khan recently wrote a book called “Masters on Masters,” which is his tribute to 12 musicians, who recently passed away, but left a legacy behind in introducing Indian Classical Music to the world.
Here is the full interview: