Shamim Ahmed Khan

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Shamim Ahmed Khan
Birth nameShamim Ahmed Khan
Born(1938-09-10)10 September 1938[1]
Baroda, Gujarat, India
Died14 February 2012(2012-02-14) (aged 73)[1][2]
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
GenresHindustani classical
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
Years active1960–2012[1]

Shamim Ahmed Khan (10 September 1938 – 14 February 2012)[4] was a sitarist and composer, and notably, a student of Pandit Ravi Shankar. His solo recording debut was at the age of 29.[1] Shamim had performed in Carnegie Hall, at the Lincoln Center, at the Griffith Center,[5] among other concert halls. Although an exponent of Indian classical music, he was also associated with western musicians such as Buddy Rich,[6] and Paul Horn among others.


At an early age Shamim Ahmed was introduced to Hindustani classical music by his father, Ustad Ghulam Rasool Khan, a renowned music composer and vocalist of the musical Agra Gharana. However, after a bout of typhoid, Shamim Ahmed steered away from singing to turn towards his true passion for the sitar. In 1951, while studying at the Baroda Music College (now referred to as the Faculty of Performing Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Khan met Pandit Ravi Shankar at a music conference in Ahmedabad. The day was memorable for the young musician also on account of his grand uncle's first death anniversary; grand uncle Ustad Faiyaz Khan was an eminent classical vocalist. His father introduced him to Pandit Ravi Shankar, informing the maestro about his son's interest in music. A few years later, the young Shamim Ahmed once again met Pandit Ravi Shankar at a music competition organized by All India Radio, where he played the sitar for him.[citation needed] In later years, Shamim Ahmed characterized his teacher briefly, in three words, "discipline", "devotion", "compassion".[citation needed] Those who knew Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan, would consider him too as "humble" and "modest".[citation needed]

In December 1955, Pandit Ravi Shankar had formally invited Ustad Ghulam Rasool along with his son Shamim Ahmed, to visit his home in Delhi. During this visit, Shamim Ahmed was formally enunciated as a student[7] of the maestro, making him one of the early students of Ravi Shankar, at the time. A traditional formal thread ceremony had marked the occasion, binding the two men in a guru-shishya parampara i.e. 'teacher-student' relationship.

In 1958, he was a recipient of the Government of India music scholarship. In 1960, when Pandit Ravi Shankar moved to Mumbai (known as Bombay, at the time), Shamim Ahmed also moved to Mumbai to begin as a teacher at his guru's music institute, Kinnara School of Music.[8] When Panditji moved to California in 1967, it wasn't long, before he invited the young teacher to visit Los Angeles.

In 1967-1968, for the recording of Rich á la Rakha, Shamim Ahmed played the sitar alongside tabla maestro Ustad Alla Rakha, and with renowned jazz drummer Buddy Rich. Shamim Ahmed Khan's US solo recording debut was along with then young Zakir Hussain as tabla accompanist.


  1. ^ a b c d Hunt, Ken (7 March 2012). "Shamim Ahmed Khan: Sitar player taught by Shankar". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  2. ^ Royal Stokes, W. and Franckling, Ken (27 November 2012). "Deaths in 2012". Jazz Journalists Association (JAA). Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  3. ^ "India's Great Shamim Ahmed: Three Ragas". Smithsonian Folksway (A nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution). Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  4. ^ "Sitar maestro Shamim Ahmed Khan dies". Press Trust Of India | February 14, 2012 20:16 IST (Mumbai). Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  5. ^ RnM Team (15 February 2012). "Sitar maestro Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan passes away". Retrieved 2013-03-11.
  6. ^ Peter Lavezzoli (2007). The Dawn of Indian Music in the West, pp.106. Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. ISBN 0-82-642819-3
  7. ^ The Times of India (15 February 2012). "Sitar maestro Shamim Ahmed Khan passes away". The Times of India. Retrieved 2013-03-23.
  8. ^ Pawar, Yogesh (14 February 2012). "Sitar legend Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan passes away". DNA Retrieved 2013-03-23.