Sitar, a stringed instrument of the lute family that is popular in northern India, is a plucked instrument used mainly in Hindustani Classical Music . In appearance, the Sitar is similar to the Tanpura, except it has frets.

Maestro Ustad Usman Khan initiated Sitar classes at the Temple of Fine Arts in the 1990’s. Ustad Usman Khan comes from a lineage of Mysore court musicians who enjoyed royal patronage. Born in 1940, he is the eldest son of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan ­ the famous son of legendary Ustad Rehmat Khan; one of the Navaratnas in the Mysore Maharaja court. It was Ustad Rehmat Khan who modified the three stringed Sitar to the seven stringed version we have today. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, the disciple of the famous Beenkar Bande Ali Khan, was also the Head of the Karnataka University Faculty of Music. Usmanji, has performed internationally over several decades and has hailed wide recognition both in the Western and Asian countries. Usmanji serves as the honorary dean of the Sitar department at TFA.

Under Usmanji’s nurturing efforts to create musicians and teachers of this art form, many were blessed and one such person is Kumari Shweta Baskaran who serves in TFA as the teacher and our resident Sitarist.

At TFA, students are taught following the syllabus set by Usmanji himself which has been designed to understand and perfect the techniques of playing the Sitar. Students are provided varied opportunities to improve the techniques of playing and to perform in various kinds of performances, to continue to experience the joy of playing the Sitar.