Artists Teachers and Affiliations
Ustad Kadar Khan
Ustad Kadar Khan, founder and director of the Kalavant Center for Music and Dance, arrived in the U.S. in 1988, and brought with him a rich tradition of Indian classical music, and the desire to propagate this music internationally. While in India during the early 1980’s, Ustad Kadar Khan recognized the growing need to preserve India’s great classial music traditions, and in 1982 he founded the Naad Niket Musical Academy in Ahmedabad, India. Under his direction, the academy nurtured several young talents who themselves have won awards in national competitions and have gone on to accompany some of India’s greatest musicians.
and has given numerous lecture/demonstrations in universities and other cultural institutions including: Columbia University, Wesleyan University, Manhattan School of Music, Harvard University, William Patterson College of New Jersey, University of Chicago, The World Music Institute, and the American Museum of Natural History.
Ustad (literally “master”) Kadar Khan was born in Rajasthan, India into a family of professional musicians. His ancestors, for generations, served as royal court musicians for the rulers of India. Kadar Khan began his musical training at age seven under the strict tutelage of his father and guru, Ustad Reheman Khan. It was Ustad Reheman Khan who passed on to Kadar Khan the four traditional styles of tabla playing: the Delhi, Ajarada, Lucknow, and Farukhabad gharanas, or “schools”.
Ustad Reheman Khan received the knowledge of these gharanas from his gurus, namely his father Chowdury Ajmeri Khan, a disciple of Ustad Nunhei Khan of the Delhi gharana, Ustad Masit Khan of the Farukhabad gharana, Ustad Azim Khan, father of the great Ustad Nizamuddin Khan, and the legendary Khalifa Ghulam Hussain Khan, master of the two Purab styles of tabla, Farukhabad and Lucknow, and representative of the repertoire of Ustad Munir Khan. It is the tabla repertoire of these great Ustads, including Ustad Jamal Khan (Hyderabad Sindh, Pakistan), Ustad Reheman Khan's elder brother, that Kadar Khan possesses and preserves.
Kadar Khan carries on these traditional styles in their most authentic forms while also creating new works and compositions rooted in the time-honoured techniques and performance conventions of tabla playing. Kadar Khan is one of the most charismatic performers of Indian classical music today, who within his music creates complex rhythmic structures and improvisations with an energy and style rarely seen in a traditional musician. Notably, his artistry is rare in that he plays not only with singers and instrumentalists; he is also a masterful accompanist of Indian classical dance and an accomplished performer of solo tabla playing. In 1985, Kadar Khan’s artistry was heard by an audience of millions when he performed as a featured soloist on All India Radio and Doordarshan Television’s concert series “National Highlights.” In 1998 he was a recipient of the American Academy of Artists Award. Throughout his career, he has accompanied artists such as Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia (flute), Pandit Brij Bhushan Kabra (guitar), Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (guitar), Ustad Sultan Khan (sarangi), Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan (sitar), Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan (vocal), Smt. Lakshmi Shankar (vocal) and many others.
Because of Ustad Kadar Khan's rich ancestral heritage, and notably the rich musical heritage of tabla he received from his father, Kadar Khan possesses an extraordinary wealth of knowledge on the history of traditional tabla, and the material, or compositions, that come out of this history. Kadar Khan wishes to share this knowledge with those people interested in going deep into traditional music. He will continue to perform publicly and teach his devoted students while living between Manhattan and his home in India.
Ustad Kadar Khan is available for lecture/demonstrations, master classes, and private study. He is also available for hire as an accompanist. For more information please contact the Kalavant Center.