Born in Kolkata on 21st March, 1939, Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan, the acknowledged premier Shehnai specialist of Eastern India, comes from a family of renowned shehnai exponents from Banaras. His grandfather, the late Ustad Wazir Ali Khan was the first to demonstrate Hindustani Classical Music on the Shehnai in London and was felicitated in 1910 by Pandit Motilal Nehru. Ali Ahmad received his training from his maternal uncle, the late Ustad Nazir Hussain Khan and his paternal uncle, the late Ustad Imdad Hussain Khan of the Banaras Gharana. He also took training in vocal music from the late Pandit Tansen Pandey of the Senia Gharana.
The soft, subtle and sweet tones that he presents so melodiously, coupled with an immaculate portrayal of the raga and nuances of vocal music perfected through years of talim and relentless riyaz are the hallmarks of his playing. His first performance was held in All Bengal Music Conference in 1956. He has performed extensively all over the world since and has featured in several All India Radio National Programmes and Akashvani Sangeet Sammelans. He played at the inauguration ceremony of Doordarshan in 1973 and has also played their well known signature tune which was composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar.
He has also participated in trios and jugalbandis with Ustad Munawar Ali Khan, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Pandit V.G.Jog and Pandit V.Balsara and with German pianist and composer, Mr Peter Michael Hamel. Tabla players who have accompanied him include maestros from the past such Pandit Samta Prasad , Ustad Affaq Hussian Khan, Ustad Karamattullah Khan, Pandit KishanMaharaj as well as reputed names from the present day such as Bickram Ghosh,Ustad Zakir Hussain and many more.
A Top graded artiste of All India Radio, Ustad Ali Ahmad Hussain Khan, has over the span of his career, received a multitude of awards. Prominent among those are the All Bengal Music Conference Award, Gavati Devi Music award, Tansen Samaroh Gold Medal, the ITC Award and the Bishwa Banga Sammelan Award to mention as few. Ustadji has been extensively recognized by premier cultural organizations in India and abroad for his superlative contribution to Indian music. Ustadji is a Guru with ITC SRA.
Following is an excerpt of his performance at ITC SRA, where he was accompanied by Pandit A.G. Banerjee on tabla.