The immensely gifted Ustad Rashid Khan is one of the leading torch bearers of Hindustani classical vocal music. He has been eulogised as embodying the future of Indian vocal music. The sheer magic of his voice is known to jolt first time listeners into musical awareness!
The young Rashid initially showed little or no interest in music. But his tutelage under his illustrious granduncle, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, changed the course of his life and made Rashid what he is today.
After his Ganda Bandhan ceremony when he was six years old, the pursuit of music and musical training became the way of his life. Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, one the greatest maestros of the illustrious Rampur Sahaswan Gharana, intuitively perceived the latent potential of his grandson. The maestro decided to nurture Rashid's musical sensitivity by imparting musical education to him in the traditional Guru Shishya Parampara- first in his home and thereafter at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy.
Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan was a strict disciplinarian. He would insist on sur sadhana and make Rashid practise one note of the scale for hours on end. A whole day would be spent on practising just a single note.
Rashid would detest these boring lessons. But there was no escape from them. The long and arduous training has made Rashid Khan a perfect exponent of the Rampur Sahaswan gharana. The gharana, which owes its allegiance to the Senia gharanas, has a sparkling lineage of classical vocalists like the Ustads-Wazir Khan, Bahadur Hussain Khan, Fida Hussain Khan, Mushtaque Hussain Khan, Enayat Hussain Khan and of course, Nissar Hussain Khan.
Rashid gave his first musical performance at the age of eleven. In the very next year, 1978, he performed at the ITC Sangeet Sammelan at Delhi. He stayed on with ITC-SRA for a period of 21 years. He was first a scholar under the tutelage of his grandfather, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, until the latter's demise in 1993. He then became a 'scholar musician'. Finally, from 1994 to 1998, he was a guru and a part of the teaching faculty at the Academy.
He went on to become a Top Grade artiste for All India Radio. He has been regularly performing in reputed music conferences in India and all over the world. Indeed, Rashid has been winning accolades for all the aspects of his musical performance - voice, phrasing, virtuosity and sensitivity. He has excelled himself in every facet of khayal singing, be it in alaap, slow or fast tempo bandishes, bolbant or taan. He has also been exercising absolute control over sur and taal. A performance of his usually ends with a taraana on popular demand.
He is loyal and proud of belonging to the Rampur Sahaswan Gharana. But Rashid has always been prepared to learn and incorporate the best from other gharanas into his renditions. Many feel that it is this receptive attitude to music which lends a personal touch to his renditions of various ragas with just the right kind of improvisation. Above all, Rashid has, in abundant measure, that rare quality called Taseer - the indescribable ability to create a genuine impact on listeners. This ability has endeared Rashid to connoisseurs and laymen alike, and made him a great favourite of Indian Classical music lovers.
Rashid Khan's growth from a child prodigy to a maestro has indeed been remarkable. Connoisseurs have always been wonder-struck by the fine balance between his technical virtuosity and his aesthetic creativity, as also by his sense of symmetry and logic in musical effects. The depth of his rich and sonorous voice - remarkable for its grave tonal reserve and stamina - reverberates among music lovers and his legion of fans throughout India and across the world.