NEW DELHI: Classical music stalwart Ustad Imrat Khan, who dedicated his life to propagating the sitar and the surbahar worldwide, has died in the US after a brief illness, his son said Friday. He was 83.
He breathed his last on Thursday in a hospital in St Louis, his home for over two decades, after a stroke, his son Nishat Khan told PTI.
“He had developed pneumonia. He was in hospital for a week. He had a stroke last night. He had not been keeping well for the last few months,” Nishat, a sitarist of repute himself, said before leaving for the US.
The funeral will take place on Saturday, he said.
Imrat Khan, who famously turned down the Padma Shri last year saying the recognition had come too late and diminished his achievements, belonged to the illustrious Etawa gharana, or the Imdadkhani Gharana, named after his grandfather Ustad Imdad Khan.
His elder brother was Ustad Vilayat Khan.
The gharana, one of the oldest in India with a musical legacy of over 400 years, traces its roots to Agra. The family later moved to Etawa before finally settling down in Kolkata with Ustad Inayat Khan, Imrat Khan’s father.
The family is credited with developing the musical instrument surbahar, a stringed instrument that is sometimes called the “bass sitar”.
Imrat Khan toured the world with his music and performed at the Cannes Film Festival in 1970 for a Merchant-Ivory partnership. He was also a regular at various music festivals in India.