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Mushtaq Ali Khan

Musician (Sitar)

Born: June 20, 1911, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Died: July 21, 1989, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Awards: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindustani Music – Instrumental (Sitar) (1968)

Mushtaq Ali Khan was an Indian sitar, surbahar (and pakhawaj) player. His father Ashiq Ali Khan was a renowned sitar player. He was recognized as the foremost representative of the Senia gharana of sitar playing in the mid-20th century.

Mushtaq Ali Khan started his training at the age of 6. He learned from his father, Ashiq Ali Khan. At first a court musician at Jaunpur, he left the court to pursue an independent career. He started playing for the All India Radio in 1929 and performed at the 1931 Sangeet Sammelan in Allahabad. For all of the 1940s and most of the 1950s, he was considered the most prominent sitar player in India, following the demise of Enayat Khan of the Etawah Gharana, and prior to the rise of Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan in the mid-1950s.

In 1968, he won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. Being a purist, Khan-Saheb refused to adopt the innovations introduced by Ravi Shankar on one hand and Vilayat Khan on the other, which led to a gradual decline in his popularity.

He died on 21 July 1989.

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