Visiting Research Scholars of ITC Sangeet Research Academy
   

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Visiting Researchers

The Academy, a one of its kind, provides direct access to masters in the field of Hindustani classical music, superlative audio archives and library, and an in house scientific research team. It is a mecca for researchers in this field and for several years now, ITC SRA has opened out to visiting researchers, who come to the Academy in the quest of deeper knowledge.

 
Aditi Deo
 

Aditi Deo holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA, and has been a student of Khayal vocals for several years. Her dissertation focuses on non-hereditary and non traditional practices in Khayal music, looking particularly at pedagogy in contemporary India. She has a keen interest in issues of music pedagogy, cultural institutions, the involvement of the private sector in public culture, media representations of music and musical cultures, among others. As part of her dissertation fieldwork, she conducted sustained ethnographic research at ITC SRA in 2007, examining its institutional adaptation of the traditional guru-shishya parampara. During this period, she primarily observed talim and riyaz sessions, and conducted interviews with gurus, scholars, and staff at SRA, and concerned officials in ITC.

Currently, she is conducting field research in India as a postdoctoral associate on the project: "Music, Digitization, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies," with Prof. Georgina Born at the University of Oxford, UK. Her interest is in the manners in which digital and media technologies are being used by (and as a corollary, transforming) folk musicians and their practices, as well as archival approaches to folk music.

 
Sumitra Ranganathan
 

Sumitra Ranganathan, Fulbright Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grantee Institutional affiliation in India: ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata

A student of north Indian classical music since 1989 and a Phd candidate at the Department of Music, University of California, Berkeley, USA, Sumitra studies Dhrupad singing with Bettiah gharana musicians Pt. Falguni Mitra and Pt. Indra Kishore Mishra. Holding Master of Science degrees in both physics and information science, Sumitra Ranganathan transitioned from a career as an e-commerce specialist in International Trade and Logistics to become a doctoral student in Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music, University of California, Berkeley, in 2007, advised by Prof. Bonnie C. Wade.

Focusing on musical practices with links to the 19th century court culture of Bettiah (Bihar, India), Sumitra’s thesis investigates the complex genealogy of aesthetic categories and values in Dhrupad, a genre of North Indian classical music. She examines how contemporary musicians of the Bettiah gharana with diverse histories of listening and practice develop musical judgment about Dhrupad as tradition in interaction with their musical environment. Drawing from a rich and rarely heard repertoire of over 1000 dhrupad compositions, Sumitra is researching the Bettiah gharana’s interpretation of the four Banis of Dhrupad, a complex and little understood aesthetic concept in Dhrupad performance. Her thesis examines alternatives to the literacy and literalism characterized by Western notions of the classical in music by exploring how musical judgment and ethics are shaped by links to heredity, place, pedagogy, and institutions.

Sumitra’s graduate work at UC Berkeley has been supported by a 12-month Fulbright Hayes Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowship (2010), a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellowship from the University of California (2007 – 2009) and a Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship from the U.S. Dept. of Education (2009). A Howard Mayer Brown Fellow of the American Musicological Society (2009), she also received an Anglo-California Foundation pre-dissertation grant from the Center of British Studies, UC Berkeley (2010).

 
Robin Sukhadia
 

Robin Sukhadia is a Fullbright scholar currently affiliated with ITC SRA. A Master in Fine Arts graduate of the World Music Program at the California Institute of the Arts, Robin has been studying tabla (classical north Indian drums) under Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri <http://www.swapanchaudhuri.com> at the California Institute of the Arts and the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California for the past eight years. His special focus on the musical traditions and rhythms of south Asia informs his approach to musical arrangement and composition on a wide range of concert, film, and album productions. For the past seven years, Robin has traveled internationally on behalf of Project Ahimsa <http://www.projectahimsa.org> , an organization committed to empowering impoverished youth through music education. He performs and teaches extensively, in both classical and contemporary contexts, and has developed innovative music education programs at the Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Machine Project in Los Angeles, the Sangati Center in San Francisco, and the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. In 2010, Robin was awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Award to expand his work with music education in India.

His research project specifically centers on examining the impact of music education and music therapy programs at 6 NGOs in Kolkata and Ahmedabad. In Kolkata, Robin is working closely with music therapists at the Rehabilitation Clinic for Children in Behala, Disha Foundation in the Monohorpukur slums, and at MENTAID, an organization that serves children and adults who are mentally challenged. Robin has also been working closely with the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad on a music project that brings Hindu and Muslim children affected by violence together through music and dance.

The scholars, faculty and library at SRA have played a critical role in Robin’s research and project implementations. During his time in Kolkata, Robin has been drawing upon the expertise and knowledge base of SRA to better understand how classical north Indian music and particularly tabla can be utilized in therapeutic settings. Through conferences and workshops, Robin is helping to raise awareness around the importance of music as a healing modality.

 
Guy L. Beck
 

Guy L. Beck has spent over six years in India studying and researching Indian music. Born in a musical family, he studied piano as a youth in America. In 1976, he began his first training in Hindustani vocal music from Sangeetacharya Sri Sailen Banerjee of the Tansen Music College, Kolkata. He also took lessons from Sri Ashish Goswami of Patiala Gharana. In 1977 and 1992, he performed in the All-India Tansen Sangit Sammelan, and in 1993 was featured on a special program of Door Darshan hosted by Pandit Kumar Mukherjee. Under a Fulbright Grant, he spent a year (1992-1993) studying and documenting temple music in Vrindaban and the Braj area. In July 1993 he began training under Pandit Arun Bhaduri of SRA, and continued under him for several years. A serious interest in the Agra Gharana has now placed him as a US Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellow (2010) working on this tradition under the supervision of Pandit Vijay Kichlu, with assistance from SRA. He has been taking lessons from Pandit Kichlu for the past three years. Beck holds a Ph.D. in South Asian Religion and an M.A. in Musicology from Syracuse University, USA. His first book, Sonic Theology: Hinduism and Sacred Sound (1993), won wide acclaim from scholars for its presentation of the theoretical dimensions of sacred sound (Nada-Brahman) in Hinduism. He recent works include Sacred Sound: Experiencing Music in World Religions (2006), and a forthcoming book on music and ritual in Hindu tradition. He has released two CD’s of Indian music, Sacred Raga (1999) and Sanjher Pradip (2004), and continues to perform and give lecture/demonstrations at American universities. In 2001, Dr. Beck was a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (UK), and is presently associated with Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Guy Beck has a long-standing relation with SRA, beginning in 1978 when he attended the grand opening, and then joined in the General Class. However, visa issues prevented him from continuing his training at that time. He revisited in 1988, and again in 1992-1993, when he started receiving training from Pandit Arun Bhaduri. He returned for more training for several months in 2004. In the Spring of 2008, he affiliated with SRA under a Senior Performing Arts Fellowship given by AIIS (American Insitutute of Indian Studies). At this time he studied with Pandit Bhaduri, but also started training in the Agra Gharana. Currently, for six months in 2010, Beck is associated with SRA under a US Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Fellowship, working on the Agra Gharana under the guidance and training of Pandit Vijay Kichlu, Founding Director of SRA and present Director of the Sangeet Ashram. The faculty and staff of SRA has graciously provided all of their resources for this project and Beck is very appreciative of their support.

 
Amie Maciszewski
 

Based in Austin, Texas, Amie Maciszewski is a sitarist, scholar, and Hindustani music educator who seeks to create and inhabit spaces where the performing and visual arts, knowledge, and human rights weave together as narrative threads of the same story. She initially trained at Santiniketan, India, in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, under the late Prof. Suresh Misra, where she earned B.Mus.and M.Mus. degrees. Disciple of sarode maestro Aashish Khan and Padmabhushan Girija Devi since the early 1990s, Amie has performed throughout North America, in India, Europe, and Japan, and has taught in North America since 1986. She has received numerous awards and grants for her scholarship and education/outreach through performance, ensemble directing, and documentary filmmaking. She earned the Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at University of Texas at Austin and has taught both applied music and academic courses on the faculties of the Universities of Texas, Alberta (where she served as Director of the Indian Music Ensemble in 2006, as well as of the community fusion ensemble Naad-Avaz in 2001-02), and Pittsburgh. She has performed at several venues in Kolkata, India, among them the prestigious Sangeet Research Academy. Several of her articles documenting her research with women musicians and socially marginalized musicians in India have been published in journals and books.

She has been active in the Austin music scene as solo performer, ensemble leader and member, instructor, and workshop facilitator. Her Sangeet Millennium Ensemble, founded in 2006 in Austin, is a collective of Indian, jazz, and other world musicians who together create New World Music.

In addition to music scholarship and performance, Amie sees ethnographic filmmaking as an important aspect of her mission to re-present the music and culture she studies, makes, and lives in an accessible manner. Her first film, Our Stories, Our Songs: North Indian Women’s Musical Autobiographies, premiered on Austin Community Access Channel on International Women’s Day 2000 and has screened at numerous venues in the US, Canada, and India. In 2004, she produced Guria, Gossip, and Globalization (GGG), a point-of-view documentary that provides a glimpse of present-day courtesan musicians in several locations in North India. GGG premiered at the 2004 Dallas South Asian Film Festival and received their Special Jury Award. That year, Amie took GGG and her sitar performance on tour in the US northeast and southwest to benefit the musicians in the film. She has since directed a documentary short, Chandni’s Choice (2006), a look at the life of a teenager in a musical matrilineage in North India and has a work-in-progress documentary short, Stages and Seduction, a look at North Indian courtesans performing on different “stages,” : the urban and semirural courtesans’ salons and the festival stage sponsored by the grassroots Indian nonprofit organization Guria.

 
Olha Kolomyyets
 

Ukrainian ethnomusicologist, Olha Kolomyyets is a lecturer at the Franko National University in Lviv. Faculty of Culture and Arts, currently teaching subjects like Ukrainian musical folklore, World music and the Music of the Orient. Her special interests are Traditional Rites in family life in Ukrainian folk music, Hindustani classical music (vocal genres, especially khayal) and comparative analyses between Ukrainian and world traditional culture. A recipient of numerous scholarships, she has conducted intensive research, participated in many conferences and has had several papers published on her range of subjects.

Introduced to the Kirana style of Hindustani Classical Music by a friend in Ukraine, Olha spent 17 days at our Academy in August 2009, researching various aspects of the Kirana gharana, under Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. Her quest was to describe the gharana itself, its origin and roots; investigate the contribution of the historical figures of the gharana as well as modern musicians; and finally, to analyze the origin and development of the genre, its position among other genres of vocal varieties of Hindustani music and its musical characteristics. Her research is the first of its kind in Ukraine.

During her stay here, she had the opportunity to listen to ITC SRA’s immense archives and take taalim (training) from Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. She also conducted in-depth interviews with the Ustad to facilitate her study. Thus, she acquired both theoretical and practical knowledge, the latter being a valuable add-on, which helped her go deeper into her research.

Over and above the call of her research, Olha was able to observe and be a part of a day in the life of a practicing musician. This was the highlight of her research trip to ITC SRA – to witness the relationship between guru and shishya, to observe all facets of their professional and personal relationship – a most interesting experience.

 
 
 

 

 

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