Impact & Relevance: Aga Khan Music Initiative – Invoking the Senses to Awaken the Soul

Aga Khan Music Initiative

“I believe in the power of plurality, without which there is no possibility of exchange.”

– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
49th hereditary Imam of the Ismaili Muslims

The Aga Khan Music Initiative (AKMI) is an inter-regional music and arts education program with worldwide performance, outreach, mentoring, and artistic production activities.

The Initiative was launched by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan in 2000 to support talented musicians and music educators working to preserve, transmit, and further develop their musical heritage in contemporary forms.

Music Initiative began its work in Central Asia, subsequently expanding its cultural development activities to include artistic communities and audiences in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

AKMI designs and implements a country-specific set of activities for each country into which it invests and works to promote revitalization of cultural heritage both as a source of livelihood for musicians and as a means to strengthen pluralism in nations where it is challenged by social, political, and economic constraints.

The Music Initiative is a programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The Trust, in turn, serves as the cultural development agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the world’s largest private development networks, and the only one that prioritizes cultural development on a par with economic and social development in all of its projects and commitments.

Discover, Explore and Learn more via the Aga Khan Music Initiative

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali

Creative Collaborations

Aga Khan Music Initiative - International Performance and Outreach Activities Map
Aga Khan Music Initiative – International Performance and Outreach Activities Map

In 2003 AKMI -Central Asia (AKMICA) presented Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble in a nine-day concert tour of Central Asia featuring concerts and workshops in Bishkek, Almaty, and Dushanbe. The partnership was  extended to develop multimedia programmes for a new “Museum Initiative” in which works of visual art joined traditions of oral literature and world music through performances, exhibitions, and educational events in some of the world’s leading museums. Multimedia programmes have been presented at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts and, at the British Library in London, accompanying the exhibition “The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith.”

From the Ismailimail archives 2002-06-26: Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble performing at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Secretary of State Colin Powell and His Highness the Aga Khan are seated at right. - Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji
From the Ismailimail archives 2002-06-26:
Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble performing at the opening ceremony of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Secretary of State Colin Powell and His Highness the Aga Khan are seated at right. – Photo: AKDN/Zahur Ramji

AKMICA was also involved in a long-term collaboration with the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum and research complex of the United States, to create a ten-volume Anthology of Central Asian Music which has been released worldwide by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

The ten volumes feature musicians from Afghanistan, Badakhshan,  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.

Discover, Explore and Learn more via the Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

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