Quotes from Concerts

“A complete mastery over the instrument, pure raag structure and note sustenance are the great qualities of this artiste.”

“…a simply magnificent and extraordinary concert.”

“…he has risen from a mere curious foreigner interested in fathoming the secrets of the exotic East and its equally exotic musical fare, to being one of the foremost performers of the art.”

“Here was a master who had fully harnessed the power of the sarod – the finest of sarod players outside India – an American now living in Switzerland. After a standing ovation and an encore, Ken treated us to yet another enlightening and delightful raag. It was pure magic.”

“Ali Akbar’s skill in the hands of a foreigner – It was also especially remarkable that in his Koushi Kanara there was the presence of the pure Ali Akbar mood. His control over the rag was an indication of good learning. Likewise, the deep musical sentiment that was there in his vistara of the padas in the alap is the proof of a class artist.”

“Ken showed an authentic grasp over the subtleties of the Maihar gharana, sustaining the dhrupadi characteristics of the school. He played Chhayanat and established the imageries of the “raagrup” and then captured both the lively and sombre moods of the following item.”

He commenced his solo sarod playing with rag Madhuvanti in which he played alap, jod, jhala and gat, and kept the audience spellbound by exhibiting his command over the sarod and made the raga more sweet and delicious through his distinguished style…”

“The torch-bearer of Maihar gharana, Ken, in his presentation of Kaushi-Kanada, unravelled the nostalgic pathos of the raga through alap, jor, gat in trital, extensive meends, outstanding ghasits, gamak, rhythmic variations in both Masidkhani and drut gat along with jhala and clear tankari.”

“…when Zuckerman launched a duet with Estevan, the sarod and percussion reaffirmed a shining truth – music dissolves national borders in a way that treaties cannot.”

“Zuckermans’ inovative approach of playing uncommon taals and stroke improvisations are the special gifts of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan to him. Well done, Mr. Zuckerman: looking forward to hear your next concert in London. Thnaks to you and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, the maestro tabla player.” Kalavati, April 16th, 1996

“Ken has assimilated within himself the very soul of Ali Akbar’s artistry”

“…the music of the maestro flows in his veins…”

“The final effect that emerged was simply grand in its impact.”

“Both the alaaps and gaths were wonderfully played, clear, bold, correct and full of feeling. Bravo American sahib!”

Full Reviews from India 1997 – 2004

Two Instrumentalists on a Silver Morning

It was a Sunday. Getting out of the sleepy mood of winter Sunday morning, we were caught in the environment of melodies. This music conference was organized by “Rupak” (means silver), an institution of classical music…

There were two artists in this conference called by Rupak. One was Sri Dhrubajyoti Chakraborty on sitar, accompanied on tabla by Sri Bablu Pal. The other one was the American Mr. Ken Zuckerman, who played sarod, accompanied on tabla by noted artist Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri…

Later after the interval, who appeared on the stage was not an Indian. But his so facile and smooth capacity in performing Indian traditional music may not be found even amongst many Indians. Ken Zuckerman is a competent student of Ali Akbar Khan. Giving performances in several conferences around the countries of the world the name of Ken Zuckerman has become a shining appearance. At present he is the director of the Ali Akbar College in Switzerland. On that morning he played raag Nat Bhairo. The exact arrangements of ragas impressed the interested audience. The artist’s keen and faultless timing expression fascinated the audience. This foreign artist set a resulted example of 20 years long of devoted practice and learning of music. Of course his play became more appealing through Swapan Chaudhuri’s tabla accompaniment. He presented us a very enjoyable morning through and through by this wonderful duet performance. Certainly thanks go to “rupak” for this conference.

Calcutta, Aparna Mazumdar, January 1998 (more…)

Full Reviews from India 1985 – 1996

Indian Express
Bombay / January 16, 1992
Ken enthralls
Not since the late John Higgins, dubbed Bhagavathar for the virtuosity in Carnatic music, has a western exponent of Indian music so taken our music world by storm as Ken Zuckerman, whose sarod recitals have the unmistakable touch of a maestro. It is little wonder though, because 39-year-old Ken has been under the tutelage of Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, the sarod maestro, for over 20 years and presently heads the Ali Akbar College of Music in Basel, Switzerland. The Ustad himself calls Ken ‘one of my most gifted students’ and has accorded Ken the honour of performing with him on the same platform. The audience of Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre was a witness to Ken Zuckerman’s phenomenal handling of the sarod.
Ken started with reposeful alaaps in the mid-afternoon melody, Madhuvanti. From the innate delicacy of his touch, may his very attitude to Hindustani music, it was at once apparent that Ken has assimilated within himself the very ‘soul’ of Ali Akbar’s artistry. Playing with his head down and total concentration (like his Ustad) Ken conjured up the self-same improvisations in an unhurried development of the raga. There was a logical progression of the alap, jod, and jhala followed by a gat set to Teental in which he received understanding support from Aneesh Pradhan on tabla. He followed it up with a Pilu which was marked by imaginative passages reminiscent of the Maihar maestro. The sitarkhani gat was set to Addhataal.
The post-interval session was dominated by a hauntingly beautiful Durga – a raga which has unaccountably, receded into oblivion. Ken’s interpretation of Durga was a rare revelation with a gat set to Roopak and then coupled with a ‘sum-to-sum’ drut composition of Baba Allauddin Khan. Ken concluded his recital with a Mishra Mand which was highlighted by delicate phrasing off innovative swar-sangatis – then he gradually decelerated into a ‘fade out’, but the memory of his concert will endure. Credit equally goes to young Aneesh Pradhan who kept a low profile in his support on tabla. As or Ken, his sarod recital could well serve as a model for our contemporary exponents of the sarod: it was an admirable recreation of the intrinsic values one has cheishe in his Ustad’s sarod baaz – and happily free of present-day gimmickry.
Sumit Savur
Indian Express (more…)

  • Recordings

  • 2 Worlds Modal

    Ragas d'equinoxe

    Salon de Musique

    Nature of Ragas

    Modal Tapestry


    Live in Basel

    Lute Improvisations
    (soon available)