Aashish Khan Debsharma (Hindi: आशिष खान देबशर्मा, Urdu: آشیش خان) (born 5 December 1939) is an Indian classical musician, known for his virtuosity on the sarod. He is also a recipient of Government of India's of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and Fellows of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland being a high-profile performer, composer, and conductor, he is also an adjunct professor of Indian classical music at the California Institute of Arts, in the United States.
Family and life:
Aashish Khan was born in 1939 at Maihar, a small princely state of British India. His mother the late Zubeida Begum was Ustad Ali Akbar Khan's first wife. He was initiated into North Indian classical music at the age of five by his grandfather, the legendary Acharya Baba Allauddin Khan Sahib, exponent of the Senia Beenkar and Senia Rababiya Gharana founded in the 16th Century by Mian Tansen, court musician to Emperor Akbar. Though the music school they represent is popularly known as "Senia Maihar Gharana". Also he has learned music under the guidance of his father, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and aunt, Smt. Annapurna Devi, presently the leading exponents of the "Senia Maihar Gharana," in the Beenkar and Rababiya Anga (style) bearing the Dhrupad style of vocal music. Aashish Khan is married and has two lovely children, a grown up daughter Nusrat Khan and a son, Faraz Khan. Presently Aashish Khan lives in Valencia, Los Angeles, California and maintains a busy schedule of teaching and performance between India and United States of America.
Aashish gave his first public performance at the age of 13, with his grandfather, on the All India Radio National Program along with Pandit Kanthe Maharaj on Tabla, in New Delhi. In that same year, 1953, he performed with his father and grandfather at the Tansen Music Conference, Calcutta. In 1961, he accompanied his father Ustad Ali Akbar Khan as a representative by the Government of India to the East West Music Encounter in Tokyo, Japan. In 1967 he played a Sarode duet with his father at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, for an audience of over 20,000 people and gained acclaim. Since then, he has performed throughout India and the world, not only with his father but also as a soloist in his own right. Besides his virtuosity as a traditional sarodist, for which he was recognized in 1996 with the "Best Sarode Player" award from the All India Critics Association of India, he is considered to be one of the most distinguished musicians of the Seniya Beenkar and Seniya Rababiya Gharana and a music teacher throughout India and the world.
Aashish had the privilage to play with such legendry masters and Gurus of percussion like Pandit Kanthe Maharaj, Usatad Ahmedjan Thirakwa, Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Pandit Shamta Prasad, Pandit Chatur Lal, Pandit Anokhey Lal Mishra, Ustad Keramatullah Khan, Pandit Hiru Ganguly, Pandit Janan Prakash Ghosh, Pandit Kanai Dutt, Pandit Mahapurush Mishra, Pandit Nanku Maharaj, Pandit Shankar Ghosh, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pandit Viku Vinayak, Fazal Quereshi, Pranesh Khan, Bikram Ghosh, Tanmoy Bose and many young and up coming Tabla players.
Aashish Khan pioneered the establishment of cross-cultural "World Music" Genre as a founder of "Shanti," an Indo-American Group (1969-70) and later of the fusion group "The Third Eye"(1978).
He was the first to write a Sarode concerto in Raag form in 1972.
Aashish Khan has collaborated with such diverse Western musicians as John Barham, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Charles Lloyd, John Handy, Alice Coltrane, George Brooks, Emil Richards, Dallas Smith, Don Pope, Jorge Strunz, Ardeshir Farah and the Philadelphia String Quartet.
"The Wonder Wall" with George Harrisson, "Young Master of the Sarode" and "California Concert" with Ustad Alla Rakha, "Sarode and Piano Jugalbandi" with John Barham and Zakir Hussain, "Shanti" with Neil Sidel, Frank Lupica, Steve Hael, Steve Leach, Zakir Hussain and Pranesh Khan, "Live at the Royal Festival Hall London" a Sarode Sitar duet with Indranil Bhattacharya, and Anindo Chatterjee, "Homage" with Anindo Chatterjee, "Inner Voyage" with Alan Bachman, George Grant, "Monsoon Ragas" with Zakir Hussain, "The Sound of the Mughal Court" with Pranesh Khan, "Jugalbandi" Sarode and Sarangi duet, with Sultan Khan and Zakir Hussain, "Peace and Joy" with Swapan Chaudhuri, on such labels as World Pacific, Atlantic Records, EMI, Warner Brothers, Electra and Chandadhara.
In 1989/90 Aashish was appointed to the prestigious post of Composer and Conductor for the National Orchestra, Vadya Vrinda of All India Radio, New Delhi, succeeding musical stalwarts as Pandit Ravi Shankar and Pandit Pannalal Ghosh.
In 1991 Aashish travelled to South Africa on a concert tour organized by the Government of India and South Africa. He was the first Indian Musician to represent India as an ambassador of Indian culture and classical music.
Aashish has also represented India in the prestigious "Asian Fantasy Orchestra" (1998) along with other Asian musicians from countries like Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Korea and many more to contribute and share Indian music for the cause of "Inter Cultural Harmony" among Asian countries.
Aashish has also performed in the "Music for Peace" Concert, Montreal, Canada (2002), a fusion of Balkan and Indian Rhythms, supported by the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association of Human Values. In 2002 he has also received "The Fellowship Award" from The Illinois Arts Council, Chicago, USA for conserving and continuing the Indian Musical Heritage.
In the year 2003, along with performances around the world and his execution of passion as a Music Guru (teacher) he has also formed an Indo-Jazz group in New Orleans called "Shringar," to continue his contributions to "World Music" and harmony of Inter Cultural diversities.
In 2013 Aashish Khan formed the New Shanti in collaboration with his nephew, Shiraz Ali Khan's Indo-Jazz group, Indian Blue. They gave their debut concert in Bangalore at the Indiranagar Sangeeta Sabha.
As a Composer:
He has composed music for ballets, movies and worked with Uday Shankar. With Pandit Ravi Shankar, he has worked on many musical projects for both films and stage, including Satyajit Ray's Apur Sangsar, Parash Pathar, Jalsha Ghar, Goopi Gayen Bagaha Bayen and Sir Richard Attenborough's film Gandhi. He has also worked with Maurice Jarre on John Houston's film The Man Who Would Be King, Clint Eastwood's film Breezy and David Lean's A Passage to India, Ismile Merchant's Mystic Massure. He has composed the music for Tapan Sinha's films Aadmi aur Aurat and Joturgriha, for which he has received the "Best Film Score Award" by the Bengal Film Journalist's Association.
As a Teacher:
A teacher for many years and formerly on the faculties of the Ali Akbar College of Music in Calcutta, India (1956 to 1967) and San Rafael, California (1970), Ravi Shankar's Kinnara School of Indian Classical Music (1968), The University of Washington, Seattle (1969-70). In 1978 Aashish and his brother Pranesh Khan founded the "Allauddin Academy of Music and Performing Arts" in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Also taught at The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He teaches students throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and India while pursuing a busy career as a concert artist and composer.
Among his performing disciples are Shiraz Ali Khan (Nephew); Aditya Verma, Toronto, Canada (Sarode), Ranajit Sengupta, Calcutta, India (Sarode), , Amitava Majumdar, Calcutta, India (Sarode), Prasenjit Sengupta, Calcutta, India (Sarode), Somabanti Basu, Calcutta, India (Sarode), Amelia Maciszewski, Austin, Texas (Sitar), Dr. Seema Ganatra, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (Sitar), Satyam Rai, New York (Sarode), Mallar Bhattacharya, New York (Sarode), Dishari Chakraborty, Santoor (CCRT, Norway Oslo-Best Young Performer); Anun Lund (Rej Memorial Scholarships), Joydeep Mukherjee, Sarode (Illinois Arts Council Scholarship); Prasenjit Sengupta; Sarode (Scholarship to Young Artists - Human Resource Development Ministry, India); Debanjan Bhattacharya,sarode; Siddharta Bannerjee;Somabanti Basu, Sarode (CCRT) Scholarship, Atish Mukhopadhyay, Dwiptanil Bhattacharya, Diptendu Lahiri and many more have undergone rigorous training under Aashish's guidance and talim (learning) and have successfully won several scholarships and awards.
The Legendary composer R.D. Burman considered Aashish Khan to be one of his Gurus and mentors.
Aashish, a true believer and follower of the "Guru Shishya Parampara," an age old practice and one of the oldest methods of teaching Indian Classical Music in an oral, practical, theoritical and traditional manner has won the hearts and respect of many disciples and followers all over the world. In spite of pursuing a very busy career as an artist, a composer and a teacher, his true belief and objective lies in passing on an age old 16th Century Tradition and culture to generations to come.
In 2005 Aaashish Khan received the SANGEET NATAK ACADEMY from the PRESIDENT OF INDIA DR. A.P. KALAM, one of the highest awards for the Classical Traditional Music of India.
2007 he has been nominated for the GRAMMY AWARD for the Traditional Classical Music of India, under the WORLD MUSIC CATEGORY for his album, The Golden Strings of the Sarode.