Performance Friday, November 12, 2010 | 8:30 PM

Ghazal Ensemble

Zankel Hall
Ghazal brings together the closely related traditions of Indian and Persian improvisation.


  • Ghazal Ensemble
    ·· Shujaat Husain Khan, Sitar and Vocals
    ·· Kayhan Kalhor, Kamancheh
    ·· Samir Chatterjee, Tabla


    Program is approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes, and will be performed without intermission.


  • Ghazal Ensemble

    The Ghazal Ensemble, founded in 1997 by Shujaat Husain Khan and Kayhan Kalhor, creates a musical bridge between Iran and India-two of the world's most expressive and distinctive traditions. The connections between these musical traditions stretch back thousands of years to the old Silk Road, where ideas of modal scales, rhythmic cycles, and melodies were exchanged. The ensemble takes its name from the term that refers to poetry in Persia and a sung poetry form in North India. The group has toured extensively and recorded four CDs, including Lost Songs of the Silk Road (Shanachie), which was named one of the "100 Greatest World Music Albums of All Time" on, and the Grammy-nominated The Rain (ECM). This program marks a rare New York appearance for the group.

    Shujaat Husain Khan

    Shujaat Husain Khan, a master sitarist, has become one of the leading Indian classical musicians of his generation. Son and disciple of the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, he belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana (school). He is the seventh in an unbroken line in a family that has produced many musical masters, including his grandfather Ustad Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan, and his great-great-grandfather Ustad Sahebdad Khan. He performs in the gayaki ang style, which is imitative of the subtleties of the human voice.

    Khan started playing sitar at the age of three and gave his first public performance at the age of six. Since then, he has appeared at all of the major music festivals in India and toured throughout Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe, playing at such prestigious venues as Royal Albert Hall in London and Congress Hall in Berlin. In 1997, he was a featured artist at The Music Festival of India at Carnegie Hall, and in 1999, he was the featured soloist with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Khan has more than 50 musical releases on various international labels, plus the successful Khandan video. He has received many honors, including the national Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Sammaan (2001), India's highest award for a classical musician under the age of 45. He has been a visiting professor at Dartington in the UK, the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of California (Los Angeles).

    Kayhan Kalhor

    Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancheh. Born in Tehran, Iran, he began his musical studies at the age of seven. He performed with the prestigious National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran, and the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center while still a teenager. Deeply devoted to the Iranian classical repertoire (radif), he was further inspired to study regional folkloric traditions, which added dimensions to his improvisations and acted as springboards for cross-cultural explorations. Since then, Kalhor has performed and recorded with Iran's greatest instrumentalists and singers, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri.

    Kalhor co-founded the Dastan, Ghazal, and Masters of Persian Music ensembles, and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre national de Lyon. He was the featured soloist on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth, a score on which he collaborated with Osvaldo Golijov. In 2004, Kalhor gave a solo recital at Carnegie Hall as part of American composer John Adams's In Your Ear series; later that year, he shared a double-bill at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival. Kalhor is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble and his works are heard on the ensemble's recordings. Three of his 13 albums have been nominated for Grammy Awards, and his 2008 Silent City CD (World Village) with Brooklyn Rider reached the top 20 on Billboard's world music chart. His most recent commission for the Cologne Philharmonic in Germany premiered in October 2009, and in July 2010 he collaborated with Romanian theater director Nona Ciobanu and Slovenian visual artist Peter Kosir in the multimedia show Hopscotch, The Silent City in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

    Samir Chatterjee

    Samir Chatterjee is a virtuoso tabla player who travels widely, performing as a soloist and with musicians from both Indian and Western musical traditions. He began his early studies with Bankim Ghosh, Balaram Mukherjee, Rathin Dhar, and Mohammad Salim, and later trained under the guidance of Amalesh Chatterjee and Shyamal Bose. He represents the Farrukhabad gharana (school) of tabla playing.

    Chatterjee has accompanied many of India's major musicians, including Ravi Shankar, Vilayat Khan, Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Nikhil Banerjee, Shivkumar Sharma, and Amjad Ali Khan. A catalyst in the fusion of Indian and non-Indian music, he has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Myra Melford, Steve Gorn, Bobby Sanabria, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and many other jazz, classical, and avant-garde musicians. Chatterjee is a member of the jazz trio SYNC with Ned Rothenberg and Jerome Harris, and Inner Diaspora with Mark Feldman and Eric Friedlander. He has also collaborated with Sufi-rock singer Salman Ahmad of Junoon. He performed at the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, and since June 2008 has worked relentlessly towards the musical revival of Afghanistan. Chatterjee has taught for more than 35 years, and is the founder-director of Chhandayan, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Indian music and culture. He is author of the comprehensive A Study of Tabla and Music of India.
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Ghazal Ensemble 
ECM Records

Presented by Carnegie Hall in partnership with World Music Institute.
This performance is part of World Views.