Arshad Ali, the grandson of the legendary sarangi maestro late Padmashree Ustad Shakoor Khan, joined ITC-SRA in 1990, at the age of six as a child prodigy, becoming the first and only scholar of that age in the Academy.
Born in the family of the principal Kirana Gharana musicians, he was brought to Kolkata from Delhi, his hometown, by his maternal uncles, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan and Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan from whom he has been receiving extensive taleem since over two decades. His first ever performance was at the age of six at ITC SRA, where he sang in front of stalwarts like Pandit Vijay Kichlu, Ustad Sultan Khan, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Ustad Zakir Hussain, Dr. Girija Devi, Pandit A. Kanan and Pandit V.G. Jog amongst others. As a child, he was recognized as one of the most celebrated “Little Ustads” of our country.
In the year 1993, at the age of nine, he was described as “the biggest sensation of Sawai Gandharva Sammelan” following his performance on a special invitation from Bharat-Ratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi on the occasion of his 75th birthday celebrations. Winner of the Jadu Bhatta Puraskar in 2002, the Bharatiya Sanskriti Samsad Best Vocalist Award in 2010 and the ‘Best Young Talent of the Year’ by Rasa and Melting Pot Productions in 2011, Arshad has performed in many prestigious festivals in India and abroad. These include Bhatkhande Sangeet Sammelan, Lucknow, Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan, Jalandhar Sangeet Natak Akademy’s ‘Sangit Pratibha’ at Patna, Gharana Sammelan, Mumbai, Sawai Gandharva, Pune, Saptak Music Festival and Karavalli Festival, Mangalore, Doverlane Music Conference, Kolkata and Bengal Foundation Music Conference, Bangladesh. He has also performed at numerous ITC Sangeet Sammelans across the country.
His international tours taking him all over USA, Canada, Europe and the Middle East and Singapore have been outstanding successes. He has performed at the Theatre de la Ville in Paris, the Trophen Theatre in Amsterdam, the Indo-Persian Festival of Music at Marseille, the Mawazine Festival in Morocco, Raag Mala in California and many more.
Arshad is the recipient of the Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2015 from Sangeet Natak Akademi and the Sur Jyotsana National Award 2013 from Lokmat , Maharashtra. A solo album of his, 'Murchhana' was released in Bangladesh in 2002, and he has had several CD releases in India, namely 'Multani', 'Immortal', 'Sparkling Kirana' and 'Eternity', since, by reputed labels such as HMV Saregama and Orion Entertainment. Arshad has also been involved with a lot of collaborative work in Indian Classical music. He has recorded with the internationally reputed Violin Brothers, Dev Shankar Roy and Jyoti Shankar Roy. He has also performed with sitarist, Chote Rehmat Khan and renowned flautist Rupak Kulkarni and many others.
In July 2009, he became a musician-scholar of ITC Sangeet Research Academy and as of June 2012, Arshad, leaving his scholarship days behind him, has become a Musician Tutor of the Academy, where he is training students in Hindustani Classical music.