Shujaat Husain Khan to fill new Patel Distinguished Professorship, to perform

Indian sitar virtuoso Shujaat Husain Khan to fill new Patel Distinguished Professorship, to perform on UGA campus

Athens, Ga. – Internationally recognized Indian musician and sitar virtuoso Shujaat Husain Khan will be on the University of Georgia campus Oct. 9-11 as the first Gordhan L. and Virginia B. “Jinx” Patel Distinguished Visiting Professor in Indian Musical Arts.

Khan, who has been playing the sitar since the age of three, will present a concert on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. in UGA’s Hodgson Concert Hall, followed by a reception open to the public at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. He will also teach master classes in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10, coordinated by Hodgson faculty member Jean Kidula.

Khan is the first musician to fill the new professorship, created to honor long-time UGA faculty member, dean of the Graduate School and former Vice President for Research Gordhan Patel and his wife, Jinx. Gordhan Patel retired from the university in 2005, but he and his wife have stayed active in university interests. His research focused on the molecular biology of chromosomal proteins.

“Having such a respected artist as Shujaat Khan on campus is a great honor, and one worthy of Gordhan and Jinx, whose contributions to this campus have been extraordinary,” said Garnett S. Stokes, dean of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, of which the Hodgson School of Music is a part.

Khan comes from an astounding family of sitar artists in Indian, stretching back many generations. He has performed at music festivals around the world for many years and developed his own unique style of playing Indian classical music. He has performed in such venues as the Royal Albert Hall in London and Royce Hall in Los Angeles and has been a featured soloist with symphony orchestras. As part of the Ghazal Ensemble, Khan was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004. He has recorded more than 60 albums on a variety of international labels and is the winner of numerous awards for his artistry.

“In our global campus today, understanding one another and our diversity of cultures and artistic lives has never been more vital,” said Dale Monson, director of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music. “Bringing an artist of the brilliance and reputation of Shujaat Khan to our campus will both enrich and educate our community, opening a window into this rich musical tradition. We are thrilled to have him visit.”

Gordhan Patel was born in Mozambique to Indian émigrés. He later studied in India and came to the U.S. to study at Washington University in St. Louis. He earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees there, and after serving for several years at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he came to the University of Georgia in 1967 as a member of the department of zoology (now cellular biology) department. His research was supported by the American Cancer Society, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and many other granting agencies.

Virginia “Jinx” Patel was born in West Virginia and earned her bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College) and her doctoral degree from Washington University. She and Gordhan Patel married in 1964, and she joined him at SUNY Buffalo and worked as a research associate in the biology department. When the family moved to Athens, she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the zoology department and then served as a research scientist in zoology and later in the department of genetics. In 1986, she became research director for Athens Research and Technology, a position she continues to hold.

The Patels have two daughters.

“When the board of the UGA Research Foundation resolved to endow a professorship with $500,000 funding in my name when I retired, I was extremely pleased and humbled,” said Gordhan Patel. “Jinx and I decided to place it in the musical arts because, although both of us are scientists, we feel the arts have enhanced the quality of our lives in Athens. We specifically chose Indian classical music because it is the oldest form of music with a tradition of several thousand years and is not represented significantly at American universities. So, we wanted UGA to be a leader in this form of music. We are also very pleased that a renowned musiciansuch as Mr. Khan will be giving the inaugural concert for this professorship.”

When the University of Georgia Research Foundation, with additional funding from family members, friends and colleagues, endowed the new visiting professorship, the Patels requested that it be in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music and more specifically in the field of Indian musical arts.

Khan is a native of Calcutta, and he is, in addition to being a noted sitar virtuoso, a singer of note.

“This celebration is a wonderful ribbon-cutting to the legacy that now opens in the Hodgson School of Music,” said Monson. “This event each year will honor Dr. Gordhan Patel for his many contributions and years of service devoted to UGA. It was the Patels’ desire to focus this endowment directly on the education of our students and community. This distinguished professorship will enrich and expand our educational vision, drawing us closer to an important world tradition.”

For more information on the event, call 706/542-3737. For more information on Khan, see his Web site at www.shujaatkhan.com/.