"My biggest achievement is that I have been able to establish my own identity as Shujaat Khan amongst my audience across the world. They enjoy me for what I am and not because I come from a family of great musicians."
Shujaat Husain Khan to 'The Global Indian'
Shujaat Husain Khan is one of the greatest North Indian classical musicians of his generation. He belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana of the sitar and his style of playing sitar, known as the gayaki ang, is imitative of the subtleties of the human voice.
Shujaat Khan's musical pedigree extends seven generations. He is the son and disciple of the great sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan. His grandfather, Ustad Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather, Ustad Imdad Khan, and his great-great-grandfather, Ustad Sahebdad Khan, were all leading artists of their respective generations.
Khan's musical career began at the age of three when he began practicing on a specially made small sitar. By the age of six, he was recognized as a child prodigy and began formal performances.
Shujaat has performed at all of the prestigious music festivals in India and has toured extensively through the world. Captivating audiences with his unique style of sitar play, his exceptional voice, and his intuitive and spontaneous approach to rhythm.
It is difficult to condense an illustrious lifetime to a few lines, but I shall make an attempt...
In 1999, Khan performed as a soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and in 2007, he was the featured artist at musical concerts celebrating India's 50th anniversary of independence at Carnegie Hall in New York, Paramount Theatre in Seattle, and Meyers Symphony Theater in Dallas.
Khan was also the sole artist representing India in a special performance at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in Geneva commemorating India's independence the same year.
Alongside his many notable performances, Khan has been a regularly featured artist at distinguished concert halls including The Royal Albert Hall in London, The Royce Hall in Los Angeles, and The Congress Hall in Berlin.
Always a keen student of music itself, Shujaat enjoys collaborating with other gifted artists.
'The Rain', his album featuring the Indo-Persian Ghazal ensemble, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004 for "Best Traditional World Music Album".
In January 2000, the Boston Herald listed Khan's concert, along with luminaries like Seiji Ozawa and Luciano Pavarotti, as one of the top 25 upcoming cultural events for the year.
Amongst the many awards and other tokens of international recognition he has received, Khan's 'Lost Songs of the Silk Road' was recognized on Amazon.com's "The 100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time" list in August of 2009.
In 2010, he worked with Asha Bhosle- a legend in her own right- resulting in the release of 'Naina Lagai Ke'.
The two performed at sell out concerts at The Royal Festival Hall in London, and at concerts in Birmingham and Leicester. Their album was selected as a "Top Ten Best New Album Release" by the editor of Songlines Magazine and was featured in the magazine's exclusive "Top of the World CD" in 2011.
Shujaat has been invited as a visiting professor at the Dartington School of Music in England, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
In 2015, he made music with Zakir Husain for the ensemble cast cinema 'The second best Exotic Marigold Hotel', and in 2020, enjoyed his guest performance as Ustad Malik Khan in Mira Nair's 'A Suitable Boy'.
He has more than a hundred CD releases on a variety of international labels, as well as a video called KHANDAN