Ustad Shujaat Khan stands at the head of a long line of master musicians and is today's leading proponent of the Imdadkhani gharana (tradition) of sitar playing. Seventh in a continuous thread of distinguished instrumentalists, Ustad Shujaat Khan's legacy includes many of the most venerable figures in Indian classical music: great-great grandfather Ustad Sahabdad Khan, great-grandfather Imdad Khan, grandfather Inayat Khan, and father Vilayat Khan. From Ustad Sahabdad Khan's important addition of the tarab (sympathetic strings) to the sitar, to Vilayat Khan's development of the gayaki ang (vocal playing style) and brilliant melding of technical, melodic, compositional, improvisational, and rhythmic artistry, Ustad Shujaat Khan's family legacy is undeniably impressive.
In line with the ancient concept of khandan, whereby a father's status is passed down to the first born male, Ustad Shujaat Khan was groomed for success by his father and guru, Vilayat Khan. At the age of three, Ustad Shujaat Khan began playing on a custom made mini-sitar under the expert tutelage of his father. By the age of six the child prodigy was giving highly successful public concerts. Since that time, Ustad Shujaat Khan has gone on to perform in the world's most important venues, Royal Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall among them. In accordance with the Imdadkhani Gharana founded by his great-grandfather and the gayaki ang innovated by his father, Ustad Shujaat Khan is celebrated for his elegant use of meend (glissando), lyrical sensibility, mastery of technique, and euphonious tone. Ustad Shujaat Khan was a visiting professor in the Ethnomusicology Department at UCLA. ~ John Vallier