Utsav Lal, piano
Manik Khan, sarod
“Raga & Jazz pianist” Utsav Lal returns to Old First Concerts to present a unique Piano-Sarod jugalbandi duet concert of Indian Classical Music, along with sarod maestro Manik Khan, the youngest son of the legendary Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.
Pianist/composer Utsav Lal with his ingenious interpretations of Indian Classical Music on a Western instrument is recognized as the rarest of pianists with a stellar career over the last two decades. Performing at leading world venues and cultural festivals, Lal’s music captures the innate beauty and soul of Indian Classical Ragas, and The Irish Times describes Utsav Lal as “a fleet-fingered performer whose best moments can be both highly evocative and dazzling.” With unfailing clarity of technique and rhythmic virtuosity, Lal’s work which is deeply influenced by Dhrupad, under his guru Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar and a vast array of sources such as The Necks, Thelonious Monk, Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou has been lauded for its simplicity, depth and powerful intensity. His unique perspective into the rich legacy of Indian music coupled with advanced training in Jazz, Celtic music and Contemporary Improvisation has allowed him to work with a myriad of world-class artists. Performing and teaching around the world, Lal has challenged commonly understood ways of improvisation to develop his own unique voice and has several piano record releases, which include a historic world’s first album on the microtonal “Fluid Piano”. www.utsavlal.com.
Sarod maestro Manik Khan has been steeped in North Indian classical music since birth. The youngest son of the legendary maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, he grew up listening and learning from his father and continues to broaden his range by studying with his brother, Alam Khan, Director of instrumental music at the Ali Akbar College of Music. Having studied tabla under Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Manik formally trained with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan from the age of 13, accompanying and touring with him through his extensive and iconic performance career. Manik’s own solo career brought him to tour in India and perform extensively through the U.S. Today, he collaborates with musicians and various ensembles to present his father’s lineage of Hindustani classical music in ways that honor both the traditions and its remarkable history while helping to make it accessible to new audiences. This includes partnering with Bay Area schools to bring Indian Classical Music to youth orchestras, collaborating with the conductor Michael Morgan and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra, recording in mixed-mediums and live streaming. www.manikkhan.com
In this concert, Lal & Khan come together to seamlessly blend their experiences and explore North Indian classical music with nuance and depth. They will celebrate the legacy of Indian Classical Music through their own musical styles in a unified and singular creative vision.
“Lal continues to blend the improvisational mystique of Indian classical melodies, particularly Dhrupad-influenced raga interpretations, with the compositional framework of the piano” –Rolling Stone India
“Utsav Lal has found a relatively unexplored niche as a pianist within the world of Indian Classical music….the result is a young pianist with a meditative, patient, powerful approach to the piano.”-Jazz Speaks
“With much more focus on the subtler nuances of raga ornamentation, resonance and development, this is Indian Classical music as it has never been heard before.”-Serenade Magazine