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Well-known sitarist to perform at Lyon | Arts & Culture

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Well-known sitarist to perform at Lyon
Well-known sitarist to perform at Lyon

By Angelica Holmes, Student Writer

On Saturday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. Lyon College will host “An Evening of Classical Music of India” in the Bevens Music Room in Brown Chapel. Free of charge to the campus and Batesville community, the concert will feature Ustad Imrat Khan on the sitar, Ustad Shafaat Khan on the tabla and Belinda Tracey on the tambura.

Lyon mathematics professor Joseph Stover, who also plays the sitar, is enthusiastic about the concert.

“I will definitely attend the concert and can hardly contain my excitement!” Stover said. “Ustad Imrat Khan is a very well-known musician within the tradition of classical Hindustani music.”

With a career spanning more than half a century and more than two dozen recorded albums, Khan is inarguably one of the giants of Indian classical music. Besides Khan’s pure talent, listeners can look forward to a unique musical experience rich in history.

“Classical sitar music is deep on so many levels: physically, emotionally, and even spiritually,” Stover said. “I look forward to the journey of sound the concert will take us on. The rhythms and time signatures will vary, and so will all other qualities of the songs.”

The sitar, which many believe was created in the 14th century, is a stringed instrument played similarly to the guitar, with the right hand plucking and the left hand playing the frets.

“The sitar is an extremely versatile instrument, as versatile as the human voice, maybe more so,” Stover explained. “A skilled player is able to create a masterfully rich sonic-scape. For me personally, I feel a deeper connection with the sitar than any instrument I have ever played.”

Dr. Michael Oriatti, Assistant Professor of Music, who is organizing the event, explained a little about the musical style.

“The music will be chosen at the time of the concert, in tradition of Indian classical music,” Oriatti said. “The performers will choose music on certain ragas (Indian scales), based on the time of the day, season and so forth. Improvisation is a part of this music, as well.”

Stover hopes that the audience will take away a newfound appreciation for the sitar and Indian traditional music in general.

“I'd like listeners to take away an expanded awareness about the world of music available to them,” he said. “Ideally, I hope those present will have a deeply personal experience and feel a connection to the music played even if it seems quite foreign at first glance. I hope people will simply be amazed by the concert.”