Review of the concert performed on 9/11/2016
Presented by the World Music Institute in collaboration with Storm King Art Center at the beautiful sculpture garden
"Virtuoso sitarist Ikhlaq Hussain's performance at the Storm King Art Center north of New York City on September 11th. was one of the very best -- if not *the* best -- of his New York performances I have ever attended. It is always wonderful to walk the grounds of the Art Center - a calming landscape that is almost monastic in it's purity and design. It is a place for contemplative thoughts. And yet, his music transformed it into a kind of Shangri-La. Twenty minutes into the raga I found myself with eyes closed, swaying blissfully to the music, riding the wings of the wind across the hills, not contemplative but enlivened, happy and with a heart filled with joy. Such is the effect of this man's music on mortal beings, and by no small fact that his lineage traces back to the creation of the sitar and tabla in the early 13th. century. History is very important, it instructs us and teaches us things we need to know. We should listen carefully to this man’s music, learn from it, and let it carry us away to a very important place in our heart. " – Jeffrey Starin
Ikhlaq Huassain Live
at the New York Insight Meditation Center
Testimonial from student Winston Thomas introduced his Ustadji during the concert of January 29th 2011
at the Alwant for the Arts
Saturday, January 29, 2011
16 Beaver Street (between Broad and Broadway), 4th floor, New York, NY 10004
"Thank you all for coming this evening, and for battling the leftover snow and frozen streets.
My very dear friend and teacher Ikhlaq Hussain or I usually call him "Ustadji" which is a term of respect used to address a teacher of great wisdom and knowledge. He asked me to address the audience tonight, and introduce him to all of you, and hopefully get you ready for his enchanting music.
I'm not one for giving great speeches but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to share a few words about this great man.
"I came to know Ustadji a year and an half ago, after many failed relationships with previous music teachers in the US. You see, it is very rare to find a music teacher wiling to pass on his knowledge to his students without caring about money first. Or at least that was my prior experience before finding Ustadji.
I remember going to India two years earlier disappointed and somewhat angry about spending so much time learning from very uncaring instructors that didn't feel investing in non-indian students worthwhile. So I immediately decided to go online and search for an available teacher in New York that would meet me and hopefully teach me the ways of Classical Indian music dating back thousands of years.
That's when I found Ikhlaq Hussain. Who was very nice over the phone and who invited me to come in for a chat and meeting session. My first impressions of him were very positive and warm as he didn't look down on me as a guy who knew less than him, but as a person searching for knowledge and hungry for music. He also offered me some tea and snacks as a cool way of breaking the ice and making me feel comfortable in his surroundings. And by the way, money was never brought up that first meeting, even for a second.
He noticed right away, how debilitated my playing was and how I couldn't even play two phrases of 16 notes in a row without suffering pain, makinga mistake, or going out of melody. For the next 2 months, we spent lots of time feeling sorry for me and my poorly learned techniques, extremely weak hands, and bad sense of melody structure. They became subjects of laughterfor both of us, but areas of motivation at the same time.
You see, I always thought I was a good musician until I met Ustadji. Indian Music requires a very different focus, discipline and dedication, and since I was never pushed so hard prior to meeting him, I just didn't know what being one with the music while playing it really was. So in the process, I learned to get rid of the ego and create good disciplined habits that will help me for the rest of my life. Studying Indian Music is a slow and painful process that results in heavenly inner wisdom which will last you a lifetime.
I can say today with pride and joy that I'm able to play an entire 45 minutes session without making a mistake or going out of melody all thanks to Ustadji's constant dedication to me. Our weekly sessions have become more than just music lessons, as we find ourselves sharing life stories, world problems, fashion trends and developments in technology.
If I had to describe my dear teacher to you, what would I say? Great human being. Devoted husband. Extremely honest and loving friend. Talented and caring teacher are not enough to describe Ikhlaq Hussain. His musical genius comes from a long lineage of great masters. I encourage all of you to google him afterwards and watch his performances, read his stories and judge for yourselves this great teacher and genius musician.
So without further ado, I'd like to introduce to you Ustad Ikhlaq Hussain and (table player's name)….."