Artists of the Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensemble With Homayoun Sakhi, Salar Nader, and Special Guest Wu Man


NEW YORK, November 2, 2017 — Three members of the Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensemble, Homayoun Sakhi, Salar Nader, and Wu Man, give a special performance at Asia Society. (1 hr., 7 min.) SHOW MORE

The Aga Khan Music Initiative Ensemble is a collective of master musicians who create music inspired by their own deep roots in the cultural heritage of the Middle East and Mediterranean Basin, South Asia, Central Asia, West Africa, and China. This special performance features three master musicians from the ensemble: Homayoun Sakhi, master performer of the Afghan rubâb; Salar Nader, virtuosic tabla player; and Wu Man, world-renowned pipa player. These three unparalleled musicians link countries and continents, and present and past, through their explorations of diverse forms of classical, folk, and contemporary concert music.

Homayoun Sakhi, Afghan rubâb
Homayoun Sakhi is the outstanding Afghan rubâb player of his generation, a brilliant virtuoso endowed with a charismatic musical presence and personality. During Afghanistan's long years of armed conflict, when music was heavily controlled, censored, repressed, and, finally, totally banned, the classical rubâb style to which Homayoun has devoted his career not only survived but reached new creative heights. Homayoun’s artistry demonstrates how an imaginative musician working within a traditional musical idiom can enrich and expand its expressive power while respecting the taste and sensibility passed down from master musicians of the past. Moreover, Homayoun’s personal story illustrates the extraordinarily challenging conditions under which he and his fellow Afghan musicians have pursued their art.

Born in Kabul into one of Afghanistan’s leading musical families, Sakhi is the heir to a musical lineage that began in the 1860s, when the ruler of Kabul, Amir Sher Ali Khan, brought a number of classically trained musicians from India to perform at his court. From the age of ten, Sakhi studied rubâb with his father, Ghulam Sakhi, in the traditional form of apprenticeship known as ustâd-shâgird (Persian: “master-apprentice”). Sakhi and his family fled Afghanistan in 1992 for Peshawar, Pakistan, which became a place of refuge for Afghans from the political chaos and violence that followed the 1979 Soviet invasion. In 2001, Sakhi emigrated to Fremont, California — which claims the largest concentration of Afghans in the United States — and brought with him the sophisticated and original rubâb style that he developed. He quickly established himself as a leader of the local musical community in Fremont, where he opened a school to teach Afghan music to children, recorded popular Afghan songs, and became a sought-after performer.

Salar Nader, tabla
Salar Nader is one of the most sought-after young percussionists of his generation. He was born in Hamburg, Germany, to Afghan parents forced to flee their home during the Russian-Afghan war. Nader was just five years old when his family settled in the San Francisco, Bay Area. At age seven, he began studying with the legendary tabla virtuoso Ustad Zakir Hussain. He began classical training early, first concentrating on the spoken rhythmic language of North Indian percussion, tabla bols. “It was like learning a new language,” he recalled. “I spoke Farsi at home, English outside, Tabla at night with my lesson book.” Since 2007 Nader has been an official Aga Khan Music initiative artist and tours frequently with several of AKMI’s projects which include, “Rainbow” featuring the world-renowned Kronos Quartet, “In the Footsteps of Babur” with Rahul Sharma, and “The Art of Rubab and Tabla” with Homayoun Sakhi. While Nader is a regular performer at AKMI he is also a teacher, visiting schools worldwide for lecture demonstrations and teaching.

Wu Man, pipa
Recognized as the world’s premier pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Grammy Award-nominated musician Wu Man has carved out a career as a soloist, educator and composer giving her lute-like instrument — (which has a history of over 2,000 years in China) — a new role in both traditional and contemporary music. Having been brought up in the Pudong School of pipa playing, Wu Man is now recognized as an outstanding exponent of the traditional repertoire as well as a leading interpreter of contemporary pipa music by today’s most prominent composers. Wu Man’s efforts were recognized when she was named Musical America’s 2013 Instrumentalist of the Year, the first time this prestigious award has been bestowed on a player of a non-Western instrument. Wu Man performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere of Zhao Jiping’s Concerto for Pipa and Orchestra, the U.S. premiere of the piece with the Santa Rosa Symphony, and went on to perform the concerto with the Buffalo, Fresno, and Louisiana philharmonic orchestras, and the Hartford and Illinois symphonies. She was a featured performer with the Kronos Quartet at their 40th Anniversary Celebration concert at Carnegie Hall and performed solo recitals at Cal Performances and at Wigmore Hall in the United Kingdom. She also continues to tour with the Silk Road Ensemble and serve as part of the ensemble’s leadership team. Born in Hangzhou, China, Wu Man became the first recipient of a master’s degree in pipa at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Wu Man moved to the U.S. in 1990 and currently resides in California.

This program is part of Asia Society's ongoing initiative Creative Voices of Muslim Asia.

This performance is presented in collaboration with the Aga Khan Music Initiative.

Event Details

Thu 02 Nov 2017
8 - 9:30 p.m.

Asia Society 725 Park Avenue New York, NY 10021

Buy Tickets
$30 members; $35 students/seniors; $40 nonmembers
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