Ustad Rais Khan

Ustad Rais Khan was born in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India in 1939. His family background descends through 30 generations of Indian culture. Ustad Rais Khan descends directly from court musicians of 15th Century Moghul Emperors, thus he belongs to one of the oldest and most renowned musical families, and is therefore the torch-bearer of a lineage that dates back to Haddu Khan and Hassu Khan. His father, Ustad Mohammed Khan started his son's "Taalim" (training) at the age of two and a half by presenting him a small coconut-shell sitar. The training was rigorous and at times the demands made on him were more than the young pupil could cope with, although his mother stood by him providing him with encouragement and all the facilities needed for his hours of practice. At the age of five he gave his first public performance at Sunderbai Hall in the presence of the then Governor, Sir Maharaja Singh. In 1955, he was selected from a huge list of competitors from all over the continent of India to represent the Indian nation at the International Youth Festival in Warsaw, where Ustad Rais Khan carried off the first prize and the gold medal for his virtuosity.

Since that time, he has been touring extensively throughout the world, delighting packed audiences of many thousands in many major capital cities. Ustad Rais Khan has a compelling presence and spontaneous link with all who have had the pleasure to experience his unique style and captivating performance.

His dynamic personality and genius have made him one of the most outstanding artists of our time. The fact that he is an accomplished vocalist accounts for much of his popularity. At the end of his recitals he often sings and demonstrates compositions, which thrills his listeners. Through these demonstrations, his audiences are able to see immediately how closely related vocal and instrumental music are.

His music is his life and his links with his audiences are his life-blood. In leisure moments, he has found time and skill to obtain a private pilot's license, to become a champion badminton player, to become a swimming champion, and to become wholly conversant in the world of Formula I racing cars. In social terms, he has been an asset in diplomatic circles throughout the world, where he has united a variety of different attitudes and persuasions by the profound message of his beautiful sound.

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