Training and early career
Khan was born in Calcutta into a family of musicians tracing its pedigree back for several generations, to the court musicians of the Mughal rulers. His father was Enayat Khan (1895–1938), recognised as a leading sitar and surbahar player of his time, as had been his grandfather, Imdad Khan (1848–1920), before him. His father died when Imrat was a child, so he was raised by his mother, Bashiran Begum and her father, singer Bande Hassan Khan. In 1944, the family moved with Vilayat Khan, Imrat's elder brother, to Bombay where both the brothers learned extensively from uncle Wahid Khan. In 1952 Vilayat and Imrat moved in together in Calcutta. They performed together for many years. From the 1960s onwards, Khan performed and recorded solo, playing both sitar and surbahar.
Solo career and legacy
For decades, Khan recorded extensively on both his instruments. His full performance practice started with a surbahar alap in dhrupad ang (embellished with more romantic touches), followed by a shorter alap on the sitar leading into gat in traditional Imdadkhani style. (Sitar players such as Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee added bass strings to their sitars to achieve at least some of the surbahar's lower range on a single instrument).
Khan toured in Europe, the Americas, and East and Southeast Asia. He spent a portion of each year teaching classical Indian music and instructing sitar students at Washington University in Saint Louis.
In 2017, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, however he refused to accept the award stating "It is too little and came little too late"; which also sparked a pandemonium among his students and members of the fraternity.
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