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Hidayat Inayat-Khan | Autobiography
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My great-grandfather Maula Bakhsh founded the first Academy of Music in India in the 19th century, and also invented the music notation system carrying his name. From his union with the Princess of Mysore (Dynasty of Tipu Sultan) a royal daughter called Khatidja became the mother of Prof. Inayat Khan of Baroda, born in 1882.

Prof. Inayat Khan, my father, was the greatest musician in India of his time, and was ennobled by the Nizam of Hydrabad with the special title Tansen, the highest distinction in music ever granted by that holy king. My father wrote several books, among which Minca-I-Musicar, the first treatice on Indian music; he was the first Indian musician to introduce Indian music in the West in an historical concert given on 9th April 1911 in the Hindu Temple of San Francisco.
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In 1913 Lucien Guitry organised Prof. Inayat Khan‘s first concert in Paris, where Claude Debussy was also inspired by the charm of Indian music. He learned to play the Vina. Later, my father met Scriabin in Moscow, to whom he handed several Indian melodies. One of them, Dance of the Sword was taken by the Russian composer for his symphony, which was to be performed under the title Mystères‘, but, due to the Russian Revolution never came to completion.

It was again in Moscow, where my father met the son of Sergey Tolstoi. Jointly they planned, with the help of the Russian composer Vladimir Pohl, the performance of a musical theatre.

In 1922 my father created the International Sufi Movement, a movement of Unity of Religious ideals, a philosophical school with various cultural activities.

My mother Ora-Ray Baker-Inayat-Khan was born in 1882 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Her ancestors were of French (Claude Bernard) and bavarian origin (Family Kemp). My mother‘s aunt was the famous Mary Baker-Eddy, who founded the Christian Science Church in the USA.

I was born in 1917 in London. My parents moved with their four children to Suresnes in the proximity of Paris. As a child I learned Indian music from my father and was raised in an atmosphere of poetry and music.

At the age of seven I had my first encounter with Western music in a concert which was given by Mischa Elman in the Salle Pleyel in Paris. This experierence inspired me to study the violin. Later I had the privilege to study music at the École Normale de Musique in Paris, an extraordinary musical place, lead by Thibaud, Cortot and Casals.

My teacher in composition was Nadia Boulanger. My violin teacher was the famous American, Bernard Sinsheimer. My teacher in orchestra playing was Diran Alexanian, creator of the well-known Cello-method, inspired by Casals. Charles Munch taught orchestra conducting.

My music could be best described as a crosspoint between Eastern monophony and Western polyphony, in which the Western harmonic structures are respected and the secret perfume of Indian ragas have their space. This music illustrates my father‘s great ideals of Love, Harmony and Beauty.

In the years 1930-1935 as a young man I had the unique chance to hear the greatest musicians of their time, like Zigheti, Kreisler, Huberman, Heiftz, Enesco and Menuhin. I studied quartet playing with Shandor Roth, a member of the Hungarian Lener Quartet.

Later I conducted the orchestra of Dieulefit close to Montelimar, and 1952 was a violonist in Dutch orchestras, first in Utrecht and then in the orchestra of Haarlem in Holland. Then followed a period in which I conducted the orchestra in Heemstede. This inspired me to compose myself.

My first symphonic composition Suite Symphonique opus 7, was first performed in 1955 in a Dutch radio programme by the orchestra of s’Hertogenbosch, which I conducted myself. This work is a Requiem, dedicated to my sister Noorunissa, also known as “Madeleine “ (GC)-(CG).

La Monotonia opus 13, a composition for strings (Excerpt from the Suite Symphonique opus 7), I conducted in 1968 in the Philips Hall with the Brabants Orchestra in Holland.

A ballet composition for orchestra Ballet Rituel, opus 37, was performed first in 1952 on the Dutch radio NCTV, played by the Dutch Philharmonic Radio orchestra under the baton of Jean Fournet. This composition is dedicated to a great Indian Ruler.

My third large symphonic composition, Zikar Symphony, opus 26, with organ-obligato, was performed in 1957 in the Salle Pleyel in Paris with the Orchestra Pasdeloup, conducted by Georges Prêtre.

The Poème en Fa, opus 5, for orchestra and piano-obligato (inspired by a melody of my father) found its premiere in 1959 in America with the orchester of Babylon, NY, and Christos Vrionides as a conductor. This composition is dedicated to my father.

At the occasion of the centenary for Mahatma Gandhi, on November 21st 1969, my Gandhi Symphony (opus 25) was performed in a special concert in Holland, organised by UNESCO. This work was, among other occasions, broadcast in 1971 by The Voice of America and the United Nations Radio in the USA and later recorded in a worldwide broadcast Carmen Dragon Show by the US Armed Forces Radio Stations.

The large symphonic composition, Message Symphony, opus 30, with organ obligato, had its premiere in 1969 in Munich with the Philharmonic Radio orchestra, Henri Arends conducted. This composition is inspired by the philosophy of my father.

The Virginia Symphonic Poem opus 44, is based on old Amercian folk tunes and was performed first in 1971 in the Fine Arts Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.A, under the baton of William Yarborough. This composition is dedicated to my mother.

The Concerto for Strings opus 48 was performed in 2003 by a Quintet-Ensemble in Novosibirsk, Siberia under the conductor Stanislaw Ovtchinnikow.

The Royal Legend Symphonic Poem opus 46, composed in 2005, is going to have its Premiere on May 5th, 2007, performed by the Symphonieorchester Munich-Zorneding under the baton of Andreas Pascal Heinzmann.

A secret rhythmical Code is the source of inspiration.

Footnote:

Inayat Khan was descended from a centuries long Sufi royal lineage. Hidayat Inayat-Khan celebrated the life of his ancestor, Tipu Sultan, in his final major composition, the Royal Legend Symphonic Poem which had it’s world premier in Munich in June 2007 and North American premier in North Vancouver, Canada, October 26, 2007 in a concert of Hidayat’s work presented by the Sufi Movement in Canada to celebrate his ninetieth birthday.
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Andreas Heintzman conducting the MOSC Orchestra for the North American premiere of The Royal Legend symphony
available online; Symphonic Works Murshid Hidayat-Khan… the music of the Sufi Message
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Message Symphony 42' 41"
La Monotonia 9' 50"
Virginia Symphonic Poem 14' 57"
Zikar Symphony 18' 21"
Gandhi Symphony 18' 49"