Once a captain of a merchant vessel, Ustad Azizul Islam took to playing flute from his childhood. Born in Rajbari in 1945 where his father worked at the time, Captain Islam actually hails from Brahmanbaria, the very district that is also the birthplace of the late Sur Samrat Ustad Alauddin Khan.
Captain Islam had his first ‘talim’ or lessons briefly from late Priyada Ranjan Sengupata of Arya Sangeet Samity, Chittagong, followed by teaching from vocalist Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan, who used to reside at Chittagong.
While leading a hazardous life of a sailor, at times he faced some obstacles to fulfil his dream as an artist. His life as a sailor put a barrier on him to remain under the guidance of any Ustad but the creative urge inside helped him a lot to emerge as amaster and to practice fervently. His life on the sea, on the other hand, provided him enough seclusion and time to sharpen his skill at fluteplaying. He used to spend his time on the ship mostly listening to the records of the flute maestro, late Pannalal Ghosh and other famous classical musicians. After leaving sea in 1973, he had the privilege of becoming the disciple of late Ustad Bahadur Khan, the famous Sarod player, to acquire the knowledge of performing style of Seni Gharana. Then he received lessons from two famous flutes, Late Pt. Devendra Murdeshwar and Pt. VG Karnad, both disciples of late Pt. Pannalal Ghosh. It is Pt. VG Karnad’s guidance and lessons that have him considerably in his musical life.
The main inspiration behind Captain Islam’s lovely flute playing, of course, come from the sea. Its immense blue coupled with the lonely days he had as a sailor has not only filled his soul with yearning for the unbounded beauty of nature but has also set in a deep tenor in his flute tunes. Listening to Ustad Aziz’s flute renderings one will be reminded of what the Persian poet Rumi once said that a flute in its tune actually cries for uniting with the mother bamboo from which it came. His tune also evoke what Tagore once wanted to understand as when he said that his only secret world is known to nobody but to his flute. Ustad Islam’s flute transports us into the deeper reaches of the heart.
Ustad Azizul Islam's flute performances have been held in a wide number of places in Bangladesh, India, Europe and Australia and even where had drawn rousing reception. He was accorded honours and gold medals by various organizations for his memorable performance. His salo flute recital programs were organized in Kolkata by Sangeet Research Academy, Saptasur, Salt lake music festival and in the Habitat Centre of Delhi as the first Bangladeshi artist. He also participated in programs organized by Rotary clubs of Salt Lake and also Rotary club of Kalighat in Kolkata. Shelter Promotion Council in Delhi, all these earned him wide applause, popularity and respect from the audiences of the Indian subcontinent. Internationally reputed Indian Tabla player Ustad Sabir Khan, Pandit Samar Saha and Pandit Subhen Chatterjee accompanied him in number of programs held in Chittagong, Dhaka, Kolkata and Delhi.
Capt. Islam had the rare privilege to perform "Jugal Bandi" with the great Violin Maestro Pandit V.G. Jog [ Padma Bhusan ] in Kolkata and also at Dhaka, which were highly appreciated by house full of audiences.
On Pahela Baishakh, 1406 [ 14th April 1999 ], Bengali new year, a day lone program at D.C. Hill park, Chittagong was inaugurated by Capt. Islam in the early hours by his " Thumri Bhairavi " on flute which kept thousand of audiences spellbound. He also performed in music programs organized by Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, National Press Club, Sangeet Prasar Goshti, Bengal Foundation, Hindol, Sangeet Bhaban, Institute of Architects Dhaka, in memory of Badrul Islam [ younger brother of Azizul Islam ] organized by Economic Accociation, University of Chittagong and many other cultural organizations.
Monthly SARGAM, a widely circulated only monthly music magazine of Bangladesh, organized a program at Dhaka on 21st April 2001 where he was honored with the totle of USTAD in presence of houseful audience of music lovers.
Many Rotary Clubs in Bangladesh namely Rotary Clubs of Agrabad, Islamabad, Srimangal, Sonargaon, Dhaka, Dhaka North East, Jahangirnagar Dhaka, Metropolitan Dhaka and Rangamati organized his solo flute program and honored him. Rotary International District 3280 also organized his solo program at Dhaka. He was specially honored by Rotary Club of Metropolitan Chittagong, Rotary club of Kalighat Kolkata, Shelter promotion Council [ Monish Kairala Memorial Award ] Delhi, National Museum Dhaka and Bangladesh Surveyors Association, Chittagong. A regular performer of Radio Bangladesh and Television Ustad Azizul Islam also had the rare privilege to be on the air through " Voice of Planet ", a U.S.Television Channel.
He was awared Gold Medal and Crest jointly by Rotary Club of Metropolitan Dhaka and Ashfaque-Najma Foundation for his contribution in the music sphere. He was also recognized by the Rotary International Dist. 3280 for his extraordinary talent in music.
He has the unique distinction of participating in Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Australia where he presented the Indian Classical Music before of the Australian Audiences. There he is the first Artist among the artists of the subcontinent to perform in this prestigious venue which is also graced by the classical artists of the most prestigious musical conference of India, Dover lane Music Conference he got the rare opportunity to participate in the inaugural ceremony in the golden jubilee year of that festival, where he kept the audience spell bound with his sonorous renderings. He also performed in Melba Hall, Melbourne, Australia and Bangladesh Language and Cultural Foundation, Singapore. His presentation there attracted large audience and earned him big applause's.
In addition to his music and business, Capt. Islam is also connected with various social activities. He is an active Rotarian, PHF and also was the President of Rotary Club of Islamabad RI Dist.3280
He passed Matric from Govt. Muslim High School Chittagong, Intermediate from Chittagong College & then joined Marine Academy, Ctg, to join Sea. He was among the first batch of Marine Academy Cadets.
Capt. Azizul Islam is happily married to Dr. Anjuman Ara Islam, an eminent Child Specialist of Chittagong and is the proud father of two daughters, Amina Islam and Durdana Islam.