“He belongs to an illustrious line of musicians that stretches back seven generations…the real thing!”
Nishat Khan is a sitar virtuoso and composer with an impeccable international reputation, regarded as one of the towering performers of the pre-eminent instrument of Indian classical music.
Khan has graced the most prestigious concert venues across the globe including Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center in New York, and in 2013 at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the BBC Proms where he premiered “The Gate of the Moon (Sitar Concerto No 1)” in collaboration with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and David Atherton. In 2016 he performed at London’s Barbican Centre.
His long and distinguished career began at the age of seven and by sixteen he was performing ragas at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with Ravi Shankar in front row attendance. With a sitar-playing lineage that goes back to the court of the Mughal emperor, his father and mentor Ustad Imrat Khan has been a constant inspiration. Many regard him as the fastest sitar-playing maestro alive; his shows can last hours, always spellbinding and hypnotic with incredible emotional charge.
In recent years he has delved into scoring Bollywood films and the visual arts world, melding and building musical ideas alongside British visual artist Anish Kapoor. He has toured India with violinist Vanessa Mae and across Europe with the king of flamenco guitar, the late and great Paco Peña. Never afraid to step into the unknown, he has experimented and diversified into musical strands of Gregorian chant, western classical music and abstract jazz sharing live and recordings projects with artists like John McLaughlin, Philip Glass, Evelyn Glennie and Django Bates.
“Infinite and imaginative variety.”
Yet it’s the North Indian classical idiom and Khan’s gift of improvisation and technique that has earned him a royal reputation as a true master of craft.
In 2016, broadcaster Cerys Matthews interviewed him for a BBC World Service series dedicated to early musical pioneers to latter-day luminaries. Khan spends his time between his home in Beverly Hills in the States and his spiritual and family home of Kolkata.