Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami’s grandfather performed for Mahatma Gandhi. By the incredible coincidence that Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami’s colleague, Vivek Bakshi is the husband of Grandfather Gandhi author, Bethany Hegedus, Nizami had the opportunity to perform for Mahatma’s grandson, author Arun Gandhi. Grandson honored grandson and two astounding grandfathers were remembered.
A standing ovation performance by Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami and his son Faraz opened the Grandfather Gandhi event at the Texas Book Festival in October.
Later in the weekend, Vivek Bakshi and Bethany Hegedus welcomed Ustad and Faraz Nizami at their home for an extended performance for Arun Gandhi and his family.
Gallery Photos Photo © Sam Bond Photography
Ustad (Professor) Ghulam Farid Nizami is of the Senia Gharana tradition and is a descendant of Mian Tan Sen, court musician of 16th century Moghal Emperor Akbar the Great. He apprenticed with his father, Ustad Ishaq Nizami beginning at the age of 4 years. After his father’s death, he continued his studies with his elder brother Ustad Mohammad Akhtar Nizami as well as other esteemed Pakistani music maestros in sitar, vocals, tabla and harmonium. He received instruction in the tradition of Sufism from Khawaja Mohammad Moeen Khan Nizami and Haji Faiz Ahmed.
Ustad Nizami created and hosted several educational television shows on Pakistan TV that featured the traditional music of North Pakistan, and has made innumerable radio and television appearances. He has worked extensively with the Folklore Museum at Lok Virsa in Islamabad and performed widely for the Pakistani National Council for the Arts for over 25 years. He has performed for all Pakistani heads of State as well as for a long list of foreign dignitaries, including 3 US presidents, Saudi King Abdullah, Jordani King Hussein, Nelson Mandela, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana. In over 30 years of teaching at Pakistani educational and performing arts institutions, including 14 years at the Beacon House School, Nizami has helped to create a new generation of musicians. Among his students are the first professional female tabla and sitar players in Pakistan. In 2008 he came to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar and taught at The University of Texas in Austin from ‘08- ‘09.
Currently Nizami is performing in concerts in Texas and the United States and is a member of the Texas Commission of the Arts Touring Artist Roster. TCA provides grants to arts presenters, schools, libraries, theaters and other non-profits throughout Texas to help with the cost of bringing in artists from the community. To find out how to apply for a grant to bring Ustad Nizami to your community, contact www.arts.state.tx.us.
Nizami is also a member of the Mid America Arts Alliance Performing Artist Roster. Find out how to apply for a grant to bring him to your community in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska or Okahoma by visiting www.maaa.org.