Vilayat Khan was part of a line of sitar players with his his grandfather, Imdad Khan (1848-1920) and his father Enayat Khan (1894-1938) both famous players and his brothers & sons also sitars players.
The maestro was a pioneer in his field of Indian Classical music and was also a composer of music for films. He wrote music for celebrated Bengali director Satyajit Ray's film 'Jalsaghar' and also for the Merchant Ivory film 'The Guru'.
His ambitions as a player were always immense and he was one of the first players to take his music overseas. He lived in both India and the USA and it was in New York that he played his last concert in the country in September 2003. He was also scheduled to return to the US later this year.