Ustad Asad Ali Khan (Hindi: असद अली खान, Urdu: اسد علی خاں) (born 1937) is an Indian rudra veena player. Khan performs the Dhrupad form of North Indian classical music. He was awarded one of India’s highest civilian honours, the Padma Bhushan in 2008.
Khan was born 1937 in Alwar, Rajasthan in the seventh generation of rudra veena players in his family. His ancestors were royal musicians in the courts of Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, and Jaipur, Rajasthan in the 18th century. His great-grandfather Rajab Ali Khan was head of the court musicians in Jaipur and owned a village land holding. His grandfather Musharraf Khan (died 1909) was court musician in Alwar, and performed in London in 1886. Khan’s father Sadiq Ali Khan worked as a musician for the Alwar court and for the Nawab of Rampur for 35 years. Khan grew up in a musical surrounding and was taught the Beenkar gharana (stylistic school of rudra veena playing) of Jaipur and vocals for fifteen years.
Khan is one of a few active musicians who play the rudra veena and the last surviving master of one of the four schools of dhrupad, the Khandar school. He has performed in many countries, including Australia, the United States, Afghanistan, and Italy and several other European countries, and conducted music courses in the United States. Khan worked at All India Radio, taught the sitar in the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts at the University of Delhi for 17 years, and continued to train students privately after his retirement. Students of Khan who perform include his son Zaki Haider and Bikramjeet Das of Kolkata. Khan has criticized the lack of willingness among Indians to study the rudra veena and has more foreign than Indian students. He is involved in preserving the playing of the instrument, which he believes to be created by the deity Shiva, and performed for SPIC MACAY, promoting Indian classical music to young Indians.
Khan received several national awards, including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1977 and the civilian honor Padma Bhushan in 2008, which was awarded by Indian President Pratibha Patil. He was described as the best living rudra veena player in India and resides in Delhi.
Deepak Raja speaks to Asad Ali Khan
Video with an introduction on Ustad Asad Ali Khan in Hindi followed by a performance of Raga Asavari.