All Press Releases for May 10, 2019

Brian Q. Silver, Ph.D., Presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who's Who

Dr. Silver has been endorsed by Marquis Who's Who as a leader in the music industry

    WASHINGTON, DC, May 10, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Marquis Who's Who, the world's premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Brian Q. Silver, Ph.D., with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Dr. Silver celebrates many years' experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

For more than 50 years, Dr. Silver has excelled in various areas of music and literature. In 1968 he was appointed Director of International Exchange Programs for the PanOrient Arts Foundation of Boston, and as an extension of that position, he has bequeathed a major portion of his comprehensive archive of books and recordings to the Brian Q. Silver Collection at the Edna Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard, housed together with the James A. Rubin Collection. Then, notably, in 1982 he founded International Music Associates, and continues to serve as Executive Director, working along with his wife, Shubha Sankaran, as Artistic Director of I.M.A. And since 2011, he has served on the Board of Directors at the Dhrupad Music Institute of America (, which has as its mission the propagation within the U.S. of Dhrupad music, the most ancient form of Indian classical music.

Having developed a number of musical interests prior to his involvement in Indian classical music, he performed (self-taught) Flamenco guitar in Denver in a duo with the late Vaughan Aandahl from 1958-1960, appearing in more than a dozen acts before an audience of several thousand at Red Rocks Amphiteatre for "Los Hijos de Coronado" (Sons of Coronado) honoring one hundred years of the Hispanic presence in Denver. In college from 1960-64 he performed folk music on the five-string banjo, as well as continuing his Flamenco performance, and co-hosted a weekly radio program, "Folksingers," on WHRB in Cambridge, MA in 1963-64.

Then, after earning his B.A. in English literature from Harvard in 1964, Dr. Silver received a Fulbright grant, which enabled him to fulfill his long-time dream of learning sitar in India. He was fortunate to find a most exceptional teacher in the late Ustad Ghulamhusain Khan in Ahmedabad, India. His significant progress was recognized with a second year of Fulbright support, during which time he added an intensive study of the Urdu language with the late Varis Husain Alavi, one of Urdu literature's major modern critics.

Having learned that graduate work was possible in foreign area studies, Dr. Silver enrolled in 1966 in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, where he was awarded an NDFL Grant to study Urdu from 1966-69. After completing his coursework and qualifying examinations for the Ph.D., Dr. Silver received a Ford Foreign Area Fellowship, under the auspices of the Social Sciences Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies, to pursue research in London and India on Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869), the most important Urdu poet. In London Dr. Silver had the good fortune to work under the late Ralph Russell, arguably the most influential modern scholar of Urdu, at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Subsequently he pursued further work in India at the University of Allahabad through 1971.

Then in 1971 Dr. Silver returned to the U.S. to teach Urdu, Indian Music, and South Asian studies, among other topics, at the University of Minnesota (1971-74) and Harvard University (1974-1983), where he was Associate Professor of Indo-Muslim Studies; he was also chair of several committees at both universities. After leaving Harvard, Silver moved into university administration, serving as Director of International House, Director of the International Office, and Assistant Dean for Study Abroad at Trinity College at Duke University. In 1986 he joined the Voice of America, where he served as Chief of the Urdu Service from 1986 to 2007, and as Ethnomusicologist and World Music Curator until 2012. He also taught a course in Indian music at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, in 1994. Rounding out his career in Urdu in 2014, Dr. Silver completed a book on the greatest Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib, published by Manohar in New Delhi as "The Noble Science of the Ghazal: The Urdu Poetry of Mirza Ghalib".

But it's safe to say that throughout his life Dr. Silver's passion has continued to be music in general, and Indian music in particular. After completing his initial studies on sitar—a process which had moved quite swiftly due to Dr. Silver's previous professional experience in guitar and banjo—he began to perform on, and teach, the sitar in the Chicago area, and subsequently in Minneapolis and Cambridge. He went on to undertake a range of extracurricular projects, including in 1986 the Curatorship for the New York Public Library, at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, of an exhibition in the Astor Gallery, entitled "India: the Performing Arts". In 1987 Dr. Silver was the music consultant for the Smithsonian's one-hour television film, "Islam." He has been consultant to a number of organizations, including the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries, and has arranged major U.S. tours for the late Ustad Ghulamhusain Khan, the late Ustad Bismillah Khan, the late Ustad Vilayat Khan, the late Ustad Imrat Khan and the late Ustad Asad Ali Khan, and has assisted the Gundecha Brothers ( with their many U.S. tours.

Subsequent to his marriage to fellow musician Shubha Sankaran in 1988, Dr. Silver and Ms. Sankaran began an extensive career in musical performances around the world, (with Dr. Silver playing the sitar, and Shubha Sankaran the surbahar), in concert and in radio and television broadcasts in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Dubai, Egypt, Morocco, Europe, Great Britain, Canada, Central and South America, and throughout the United States. In the summer of 2006, Dr. Silver composed and performed original incidental music for, and appeared as a performer in, the Washington Shakespeare Theatre's eight-week production of "Love's Labor's Lost" in the Landsburg Theatre in Washington; in a subsequent ten-day run at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon; and in a final series of performances in 2007 at the Carter-Barron Amphitheatre as part of Washington's "Shakespeare in the Park." As for Silver's contributions to film, in addition to his work for the Smithsonian's "Islam", he was the music consultant for, and performed sitar on, the soundtrack of "The Beauty of All Things", a documentary on the late major painter Hyman Bloom (, who throughout his life was Silver's spiritual and musical godfather.

In order to remain aware of changes in the scholarly field of ethnomusicology (the study of music in its cultural context), Dr. Silver maintains an active affiliation with the Society for Ethnomusicology, where over the years he has read a range of scholarly papers focusing on the music of South Asia, and has held offices in the New England chapter of S.E.M. For his professional accomplishments (in addition to the grants noted above), Dr. Silver has earned a Senior Research Fellowship from the American Institute of Indian Studies in 1982-83 to study South Asian music, and won acclaim for his role as Chief Music Consultant to the major National Public Radio ten-part series "World of Islam," which won the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Medal Best Documentary in 1985, and the Fellowship Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, also in 1985. He went on to be awarded the honorary title "Khan Sahib" (maestro) from the All Pakistan Music Conference in 1988—the first non-South Asian performer ever to be given that title—and received that organization's Gold Medal in 1990. Subsequently, under the auspices of the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Silver was awarded Artist Grants in 1991-92, 1996-97, and 2003-04.

Throughout his career, Dr. Silver has also been featured in numerous volumes of Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the East and Who's Who in American Education. Looking ahead, Dr. Silver intends to experience continued growth and success of his career while cementing his legacy as a performer, concert organizer, and scholar in his twin fields of ethnomusicology and South Asian Studies.

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In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who's Who community, Brian Q. Silver, Ph.D., has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit for more information about this honor.

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