A Scintillating Performance by Ustad Nishat Khan
By Shaista Khan
The Ustad Nishat Khan Concert held at The La Mirada Theater, CA, surpassed the expectations of the audience.
It was presented by Anekant Community Center, Swar & Hark Vasa and supported by: Jain Center of Southern California, IASH and Vedic Temple.
Nishat Khan transcends musical barriers with his provocative expression and spellbinding technical mastery. The son and disciple of Ustad Imrat Khan, Nishat has been dazzling audiences since the age of seven, commanding the instrument with ease and precision, plucking the strings as if plucking the emotions of one’s heart. The explosive passion of his music envelops the mind and the soul in blissful harmony. Such was the enrapturement of his audience, demonstrating seven generations and a 400-year old tradition of India's most renowned musical family.
The evening commenced with raag desh followed by raag darbar played in the Moghul courts of Akhbar, and ending with a 700-year-old raag of Amir Khusro.
Maestro Khan's virtuosity has been compared to such luminaries as Jimi Hendrix, and J.S. Bach because of the ingenious and deeply personal interpretation of his rich musical heritage. He has diversified from North Indian classical idiom to pieces of Gregorian chant, Western classical music, abstract jazz, and Flamenco working with composers such as John McLaughlin, Philip Glass, Paco Pena, Evelyn Glennie, and Django Bates.
He has performed at major venues internationally, including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, and the Royal Albert Hall in London. In January 2004, the President of Croatia received Maestro Khan in Zagreb, where he performed "Meeting of Angels" with Gregorian chant. Later that year, he was invited to perform alongside Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin and others at the Crossroads Festival in Dallas, Texas. Most recently, in summer 2007 he toured across India in a fiery fusion with violinist Vanessa Mae. In 2008 he will tour Europe with his pioneering project "Spirit & Passion" featuring Flamenco guitar great Paco Pena, and in the fall he will perform a solo concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
In April 2002, Maestro Khan received an award for his inspiration and dedication to humanity from a foundation linked to the United Nations (past recipients included Sting and Nelson Mandela). In August 2002, he was invited to perform at the Japanese Parliament DIET in Tokyo where his concert marked the 50th Anniversary of Indo-Japanese diplomatic relations. He received an award for his dedication and musical excellence from the Pacific Asia Museum in Los Angeles in October 2004. In 2005 he was honored with a US Congressional Award for Contribution to Culture and Community. Nishat Khan is dedicated to preserving and teaching his family's musical tradition; he has taught at UCLA and many other prestigious universities, and he routinely conducts masters classes internationally.
The Ustad was accompanied by his team of three musicians: Abhijit Banarjee (tabla), Shriram Brahmanandan (mridangam) and Emanuel Masonsong (tanpura).
The evening turned out to be blissfully entertaining, and standing true to Maestro Khan’s exclamation, that the audience may never have experienced such.
Some historical portions were replicated from Ustad Nishat Khan, enchanting journey in 5 millenniums.”