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UGA to bring Grammy-winning tabla player Zakir Hussain to campus

Zakir Hussain (Credit: Jim McGuire)

Athens, Ga. – Internationally renowned tabla player Zakir Hussain, the 2014 Gordhan L. and Virginia B. “Jinx” Patel Distinguished Visiting Professor in Indian Musical Arts at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music, will present a special performance April 2 at 8 p.m. in Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall.

Widely regarded as a founding figure in the modern world music movement, Hussain is a two-time Grammy winner and recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship of the National Endowment for the Arts, America’s highest honor for traditional and folk artists.

“Zakir Hussain is arguably the best living tabla performer today, an incredible musician,” said Dale Monson, director of the Hodgson School. “To have such a legendary presence on our campus is both an honor and a privilege.”

Born to tabla performer Ustad Allarakha in 1951, Hussain was considered a prodigy and by age 12 was already performing on tour. He arrived in the U.S. in 1970, quickly gaining attention as one of the best tabla players in the world. Hussain’s 1991 album “Planet Drum,” co-created with Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart, won the first ever Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. Throughout his career, Hussain has collaborated with a variety of artists including George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Van Morrison, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Joe Henderson, Airto Moreira, Billy Cobham, Pharoah Sanders, Mark Morris, Rennie Harris and the Kodo drummers.

Hussain holds numerous awards from his native India and, in 2009, France’s Ministry of Culture and Communication named him a member in the Order of Arts and Letters. That same year, he presented four critically acclaimed sold-out concerts at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra premiered Hussain’s “Concerto for Four Soloists” in March 2011 at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

“He commands an enormous degree of respect throughout the world, for good reason,” Monson said. “Ever since the Patel Professorship was established, it has been an important goal of ours to bring Zakir Hussain to campus.”

Created in 2008, the Gordhan L. and Virginia B. “Jinx” Patel Distinguished Visiting Professorship in Indian Musical Arts was established to enrich the experience and education offered through the Hodgson School to the university and broader community. Those in the professorship give public performances, present lectures, teach courses and master classes, conduct workshops and seminars and engage in other outreach activities.

Tickets to Hussain’s performance are $25 for the general public and $5 for all students and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center box office, by calling 706-542-4400 or online at

For more information on the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, see