Ustad Imrat Khan

The Gharana

Ustad Inayat Khan - The Father and Guru

Born in 1894 in Uttar Pradesh Ustad Inayat Khan was the beloved father and Guru of Ustad Imrat Khan and Vilayat Khan. In the early 20th Century Ustad Inayat Khan moved his family to what is now their home in Calcutta. He was sponsored by many of the rich Indian families to play and help spread Indian culture in a country that was beginning its struggle for independence from the Raj. Calcutta was developing into the seat of art and culture in India and this is the city in which he chose to develop his gharana.

Ustad Inayat Khan was a master of Sitar and Surbahar. He developed the gayaki ang in sitar which his father had developed for the surbahar and his sons would further develop as a trademark of their gharana. He gave a new dimension to crafting and manufacture of the sitar and his structural modifications of the instrument are still used in the instruments of today whilst his musical contributions are standardised practice for today's musicians. The flair with which he played made him the greatest musician of his generation and his legendary recordings illustrate and record the contributions he made to music. Inayat Khan was a great ambassador for Indian classical music in India. He popularised the sitar and made it accessible for the general population. This was a time when many of the famous Indian music festivals were started. His music was the soul of India in those times of change and he had a great and unrivalled following throughout the country. This contribution to popular arts and culture can be illustrated by his friendship with Rabindranath Tagore, the legendary writer, artist and poet. Together these two giants of culture put poetry to music to bring it alive in some of the most famous Indian folk songs and anthems. Each inspired the other to take the arts of India to dizzying new heights.

Ustad Inayat Khan dedicated his life to music; He played, taught and lived with an equal passion to strengthen the name of his gharana and the profile of classical music in his country.