Ustad Asad Ali Khan is one of the few active masters of the Rudra Veena (or Been) today. He represents the beenkar gharana of Jaipur. He is also the last surviving exponent of the Khandarbani - one of the four traditional schools (banis) of dhrupad .
His family traditions go back seven generations into the 18th century when his ancestors were royal musicians in the princely court of Jaipur. His great grandfather Ustad Rajab Ali Khan and his grandfather Ustad Musharraf Khan were famous been players in the court of Alwar. In the early decades of this century, his father Ustad Sadik Ali Khan moved to the court at Rampur. It was here that Asad Ali Khan began his training under his father. The training was rigorous, with Asad Ali Khan practising for upto 14 hours a day. This lasted for 15 years.
Today, Ustad Asad Ali Khan is an undisputed master of his instrument, the Been. He has perfect command over its exacting technique and his virtuosity on this instrument is unparalleled. He is noted for the purity of his style as well as the mood of profound contemplation evoked by his music. Ustadji displays a refined and sublime spirit that he has developed through an unstinting devotion to the music.
Ustad Asad Ali Khan has perfomed in many countries all over the world. He also teaches music at the University of Delhi in India and has conducted courses in the US of A. He also has several music recordings to his name. He is a top grade artist at the All India Radio and his programs are broadcast regularly.
His music has been well recognized and he has recieved several awards and honors. He has the Veena Visharad - the highest possible degree for music - from the Benaras Hindu University and the Sangeet Shiromani Award from the Lalit Kala Academy of Kanpur. In 1985, he received the Sangeet Natak Academi Award, which is the most distinguished accolade for a musician in India. He also won the Tiruna Dhrupad Award, Kashi in 1988 and Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, Delhi in 1989. One of his most recent accolades was the Tansen Award in 1994.