Sitar Maestro Ikhlaq

Ikhlaq Hussain offers sitar concerts and sitar lessons

About Us



Ikhlaq Hussain's roots in the Delhi Gharana (school) of classical music date back eight centuries to the legendry Sufi Saint Hazrat Amir Khusrao, the creator of the sitar and tabla in the early 13th century. While the Delhi Gharana is known for its prolific work in the field of tabla, rhythmic expression and composition, Ikhlaq's grandfather Ustad Ahmadi Khan was the first in the lineage to play the sarangi. Ikhlaq's father, the eminent late Ustad Imdad Hussain, devoted his musical life to playing the sitar. He was recommended for UNESCO's "National Living Treasure" for his life work in keeping the tradition of classical music and the Delhi Gharana alive in Pakistan. Ikhlaq's immediate family was relocated to Pakistan after the partition in 1947 and currently resides in Karachi.   Ustad Imdad Hussain has been recognized for his musical achievement in his lifetime by his government, as he was employed with Pakistan Radio (the stalwart of cultural preservation and dissemination) from the age of 16 until retirement, and was sent around the world as an ambassador of Pakistani culture and art. While he has trained numerous students, including his son Ikhlaq Hussain and his grandson Turab Ali, rigorously, there is still a part of the musical lineage that may be lost from one generation to the next, and a type of inevitable modification of style as time goes by and culture changes and "modernizes." Ustad Imdad Hussain's knowledge of the ancient system of music, which was originally valued equally for its alchemist as aesthetic properties, is possibly unparalleled by any living artists in Pakistan. 



  Ikhlaq's rigorous musical education was acquired from his father Ustad Imdad Hussain and subsequently from the sitar maestro Ustad Kabir Khan. Seeking out an expanded perspective of classical music, Ikhlaq proceeded on a scholarship from the Government of India to study with the renowned Pandit Ravi Shankar in New Delhi India in 1991.   His expressive playing has enthralled audiences in India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Europe, Canada and the United States. 

Ikhlaq's deeply spiritual music is played in the "Gayaki" style, emulating the human voice and passionately conveying the human soul's yearning for the divine  

Ikhlaq's personal mission is to promote South Asian classical music through teaching and performing. He believes that preserving and transferring his rich musical tradition and heritage will help to create and maintain peace at home and in the world. He was awarded permanent residency status in US on the basis of being an outstanding artist of international status. Since 2001, he has been residing in New York City.   

In November 2014, he complete the prestigious Artist–in-Residence at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA) at Shangri La, housed in the former estate of Doris Duke in Honolulu, Hawaii. During the Residency he performed at the Honolulu Museum of Art and at Playhouse Shangri La.   

He had two sold out solo performances at the Rubin Museum of Art in January 2015 and January 2016. His second CD Destiny was released there in 2015.   

In August 2015, he performed as part of the Heritage Sunday at the Lincoln Center OutofDoors organized by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. In June 2016, Ikhlaq performed at the Harlem Arts Festival.    

On September 11th 2016, Ikhlaq Hussain performed at the Storm King Art Center as part of Masters of Indian Music series presented by the World Music Institute.    

In November 4th, he gave the first ever sitar recital at the Harvard Club in New York City. It was the first time that Harvard Club’s Programming Committee decided to invite a non Western instrumentalist for a concert. His outstanding concert organized by LearnQuest Music Conference, Baithak series in Framingham, MA was a great success.    

On May 6th 2017, at the Asia Society’s Lahore Literary Festival, Ikhlaq was part of the session on Notes from the Raga with renowned Dr. Azra Raza and Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee for an interspersing music performance and discussion.   Ikhlaq was invited back for a solo performance to the Rubin Museum of Art for May 19th 2017.  

A preview of his solo performance can be seen at   His CDs "Destiny" and "Perfume of God" can be accessed from ITunes (only downloadable music) and CDbaby (CD and downloadable music).  

Previous Performances


  • Rubin Museum of Art, solo performance, sold out shows Oct 2018, May 2017, Jan 2016, Jan 2015
  • Hindu Temple of Delaware, solo   performance, May 2017
  • Asia Society,  Lahore Literary Festival, part of the session with Dr. Azra Raza and Dr. Sidddhartha Mukherjee on Notes from the Raga, May 2017
  • National Sawdust and Rubin Museum  part of the group Jog Blues, March 2017, May 2018,
  • LearnQuest Music      Conference, Baithak Series, Framingham, MA, November 2016
  • Harvard Club,      New York City, November 2016
  • World Music Institute and Storm King Art Center, September      2016
  • Harlem Arts Festival, solo performance, New York, June 2016
  • Heritage Sunday, Lincoln Center OutofDoors, NYC, August 2015
  • Greenwich House Music, part of the Caffe      Vivaldi at Renee Weiler Concert Series, NYC, April 2015
  • MAQAM FEST 2015: Annual Showcase for the Association of Perfoming Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, Co-Presented by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) and Alwan for the Arts, January 2015, New York
  • Sitar performance at the Honolulu Museum of Art, Artist in      Residence at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, November 2014
  • Sitar recital at Playhouse, Shangri La Hawai’i, Doris Duke      Foundation for Islamic Art, November      2014
  • Sitar Recital at the Summer Hall, Edinburgh, UK, November, 2013
  • Seasonal Sitar Recitals at the New York Insight Meditation Center 
  • The Music Room Concert Series, presented      by HarmoNYom, NYC, July 2013
  • Sitar performance at the Friends of      UNFPA Gala, Gotham Hall, NYC, October      2012
  • Locating the Sacred Festival, Queens Botanical Garden, NYC, September 2012
  • Kathak Sitar Jugalbandi performed at      Louisville Kentucky, July 2012
  • First public performance of the three      generations of sitar performers: Ustad Imdad Hussain (father), Ikhlaq      Hussain and Turab Ali (nephew) recorded by HUM TV in Karachi, Pakistan - April 2012 
  • Learnquest Classical Music Conference      at The Fine Arts Center, Regis College, Weston, MA – April 2012
  • Palace of the Arts, Budapest, Hungary – Szakcsi World Jazz Project, March 2012
  • Stony Brook University, New York – Fundraising for Sierra Leone – November 2011
  • Concordia College, New York – November 2011
  • Columbia University Lerner Hall Auditorium – Pakistani Flood Relief – March 2011
  • Alwan for the Arts New York - January 2011
  • Consulate General of Pakistan in NY -      Pakistani Flood Relief (International Rescue Committee) and Embassy of      Pakistan in Washington DC
  • Chhandayan Center for Indian Music – June      2010
  • Millenaris      Budapest Hungary – November 2009
  • Learnquest Classical Music Conference      at The Fine Arts Center, Regis College, Weston, MA – April 2009
  • Rubin Museum of Art, New York –      opening and series of regular performances – 2005
  • Concerts for Peace at Central Park New York, Harvard University and MIT      Cambridge MA – 2002
  • Consulate General of India in New York      – 1999
  • Pacific National College of Art,      Portland, OR – 1999
  • Numerous public and private concerts      in United States, Canada, UAE, India and Pakistan since 1990