Ajit Acharya Tabla
New England-based tabla artist Ajit Acharya began his training under the tutelage of Sri Sheshagiri Rao of Bangalore, India. He also studied extensively with Dr. Rajan Sachdeva, one of the most respected and prolific Indian music teachers in the midwest. His tabla apprenticeship continues today under the guidance of Pandit Samar Saha of the Benares gharana (or style) of tabla.
Ajit has performed all over the country as a soloist and accompanist with various genres including fusion, jazz and experimental music. As a passionate educator and proponent of Indian classical music, Ajit has given lecture-demonstrations and workshops at multiple colleges and universities. He continues to teach dedicated students of all ages throughout New England, the midwest and the west coast.
Bhuvana Ganesh Carnatic Music
Bhuvana Ganesh has received her initial carnatic music training from Smt. Vallabham Kalyana Sundaram from Bangalore, sister of veteran composer Sri Mayuram Viswanatha Sastry and other eminent teachers. Bhuvana holds a senior music exam certificate from the Karnataka Government Music Department.
Bhuvana has performed widely in different parts of the world - for Gayana Samaja, Indian Institute of World Culture, and the Gokhale Institute of Public Affairs in India; for the International Arts Festival and for T.V in Singapore; as part of a music exchange program in Australia; and for MITHAS, Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle (KHMC), Chinmaya Mission Boston, New England Kannada Koota, the Cancer Institute Foundation, and at various Indian temples in Massachusetts. She has been a sought after singer accompanying Bharathanatyam performances in both Singapore and Massachusetts and has given vocal support to numerous professional dance productions.
Bhuvana is the founder of Gaanavaaridhi School of Music and trains students at several locations in Massachusetts. She has been teaching for over 22 years and her students routinely perform at local temples, and participate and win prizes in classical music competitions. Bhuvana is also a faculty at the Learnquest Academy of Music.
Gaurishankar Chandrashekhar Mridangam
Gaurish Chandrashekhar is a student of Sri. K. Kalyanakrishnan, from the Tanjore Upendran school of mridangam. He had the opportunity to advance his mridangam skills under the able guidance of late Sri. Trichy Raghava Iyer, of the Bharathiya School of Music and Arts - Mumbai, India, and Kalaimamani Sri.Tiruvavur Bhaktavatsalam. He has over two decades of concert playing experience and has accompanied many leading visiting and local artists.
He has conducted lecture demonstrations at various music schools in the Boston area including the Berklee School of Music. He regularly provides percussion support for various Indian classical dance ensembles and arangetrams in the New England region. Gaurish has been teaching students, this fine art of percussion for over 15 years. His students have won awards for mridangam at the Cleveland Aradhana and CMANA competitions.
He plays other percussion instruments such as the dholak, congos, kanjira, morsing. He has collaborated and performed with various Jazz and Bluegrass artists in the Boston area. In 2009, he recorded mridangam and kanjira for the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Classical Companion web project to encourage young composers. In 2014, he was awarded a grant through Massachusetts Cultural Councils' - 'Keepers of Tradition' program as a Master artist.
Gopi Shanker Flute (Bansuri)
Gopi Shanker is a flautist trained in the Hindustani (North Indian) Classical tradition of playing the Bansuri, the bamboo flute of India. He received his initial training under Shri Pundalik Shenoy and Shri Satyam Rai. He then came under the tutelage of Guru Deepak Ram, who is a senior disciple of the legendary Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia of the Senia Maihar Gharana, to receive advanced training. Gopi is currently perfecting his art and the intricacies of raagdari under the guidance of Shri Puspen Dey, a senior disciple of the renowned sarod player, late Pt. Buddhadeb Dasgupta of the Senia Shahjahanpur gharana.
Gopi is a regular performer in the greater Boston area and has featured in numerous concerts at venues like the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Wellesley College, MITHAS, IAGB and other cultural and community events in Boston and in India. Outside the pure classical genre, Gopi has also performed with and recorded an album for the Boston-based band “Apaar Bangla”.
Hema Iyengar Bharatanatyam
Born to a middle class family in India, Hema Iyengar is passionate about classical dance and feels that dance is an expression of inner feeling. She started learning dance at the age of 4 in Pune, India under the tutelage of various gurus like Radha Moorthy, Suchetha Chapekar and Madurai Muralidharan and has in turn been spreading her art for the last 15 years. She continues to enhance her knowledge even today by learning under various gurus. Her passion for dance continues to be showcased through her teaching and choreographies.
Hema teaches a mix of Bharatanatyam style : Vazhavoor, KalaShetra and Tanjore. This style is more feminine, emphasizing laasya (dance by Parvathi) over tandavam (dance by lord Shiva). Because of which this style of dance is best suited for performing emotive pieces and dance dramas. In 2006, Hema founded the NrityaAnjali School of Dance and has been giving group and private lessons for youngsters and adults. Classes are held in the metrowest area, Sudbury and North Attleboro. Hema’s students have been performing and competing at various local events such as Vision Aid, IAGB, ISW, NETS, Big Help, NEMA ,Swaraag etc.
Jai Kishan Bollywood Fusion
Jaikishan, is a professional dancer and an extremely talented dance choreographer. His dance school Jai Ho Dance, founded 3 years ago, is well known for its versatile styles of dance and his students ranging from ages 8+ have won a number of prizes in various dance competitions in the New England area.
Jaikishan himself has been an avid stage performer from a very young age and his passion for dance drives him to achieve excellence in all dance styles like hip/hop, contemporary, jazz, and Bollywood. In India, Jai has represented his company across various inter corporate dance competitions and he has also had a chance to take part in a dance based reality show.
Jayashree Mohapatra is a renowned Odissi dancer, choreographer and teacher in North America. She started her dance career at an early age in Kalavikas Kendra in Odisha, India. She soon became an accomplished dancer under the guidance of Padmashree Late Sri Kelu Charan Mohapatra and Late Shri Raghunath Dutta, both of who were credited for their contribution to popularizing the classical Odissi dance. Jayashree acquired “Nritya Bhusan” master’s degree in Odissi dance and also received a fellowship from the Sangeet Natak Academy. Jayashree received an award for her excellent performance from former President of India Mr. Neelam Sanjeev Reddy and also received the much coveted Kalashree award presented by the Odisha Society of America for her outstanding contribution in Odissi.
Jayashree Mohapatra opened Noopur Dance Academy in Canada in 1989 and 10 years later moved to US where she continued her journey to promote Odia tradition and culture through her dance.
Voice, Piano, Song Writing, Saxophone, Clarinet, Music Theory, Harmony and Ear Training
Jimi Zimmardi Voice, Piano, Song Writing, Saxophone, Clarinet, Music Theory, Harmony and Ear Training
With a nationally known reputation as a Pop Music Producer, Stage Performer and Instructor with over 35 years of Teaching Experience and 45 years of Performing Professionally, Jimi Zimmardi has taken his experience to connect with each student from their first lesson by using a customized personal approach. As a Graduate from New England Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music as a Contemporary improvisation Major in Voice and Woodwinds, Jimi has found a Teaching formula that involves making personal connections with each student as they develop themselves musically.
Jimi has many years of experience teaching young students at various MA schools serving as Lead Voice Faculty. As a Licensed Vocal Therapist and Voice Rehabilitation Specialist with a Certification from McClosky Institute of Voice, Jimi’s knowledge of the Voice has helped him achieve success with Nationally known Recording Artists. Jimi uses an approach that focuses on Technique, Lots of Jamming and Improvisation and Personal Style Development and simply having fun with Music.
Matthew Zachary Johnson Piano, Voice
Matthew has taught piano, singing, music theory, ear training, and songwriting for nearly two decades. His students have ranged in age from 3 years, through K-12 and college age students, through adult learners including senior citizens. For young children, Johnson uses the Suzuki method which emphasizes hearing and playing coordination first, and music note reading later. For singing, he looks to the traditional Italian "bel canto" ("beautiful singing") method, which cultivates a clear and relaxed, natural voice.
Matthew serves on the faculty of the College of Performing Arts at The New School University, and is the music program director of the Montessori-based T.E.C. Schools, “Think, Explore, Create”. He is the composer of The Boston Tea Party Opera, which premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival, and which Curtainup.com dubbed “opera with a conscience”. Johnson's book "Emotion in Life & Music," about the mystery of what it means for music to be emotional, debuted as Amazon's #1 hot new release in aesthetics and has a 5-star customer rating.
Moumita Banerjee Kathak
Moumita Banerjee is very passionate about Kathak dance and started learning Kathak dance (in Jaipur Gharana) at the age of 3 under Smt. Susmita Chakroborty in Calcutta. She is fervent about dance and finds joy and freedom in expressing herself creatively through music and movement. She earned her Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.) degree from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), one of the largest and prestigious universities in India. She was awarded a Gold Medal for securing first position in the University. She also completed the Prabhakar degree (similar to Bachelors degree in Kathak dance) and Senior Diploma in Kathak with distinction from Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad, India. She received her Master of Performing Arts (MPA) degree in Kathak dance (Lucknow Gharana) from Bhatkhande Music Institute Deemed University, Lucknow. During her MPA she developed an expertise in different areas of Kathak dance such as stage performance, proficiency, and Aesthetics. She has learned under legendary gurus like Prof. Kumkum Dhar, Prof. Bina Singh and Prof. Ranjana Srivastava.
She also completed workshop training with Pandit Birju Maharaj, leading exponent of Lucknow Gaharana of Kathak and Ashimbandhu Bhattacharjee. She has been a performer for over 10 years, performing and choreographing in India and in the USA (Florida, Texas and Massachusetts) at various organizations and festivals. With prior teaching experience in India and in Texas, Moumita is glad to share her dance experience with children and adults who love this as much as she does.
Nivetha Ravichandran Bollywood Dance
Nivetha is a versatile dancer and has been dancing for over 10 years. She began formal training at the age of 5 learning Bharatanatyam dance. Dancing to her is life and is the best form of exercise when combined with great music. Her teaching philosophy involves having a class filled with happiness, energy, motivation and involvement because she believes dancing is one of the greatest stressbusters. In her classes, Nivetha makes a connection with each student and maintains a highly motivated and fun class making sure students enjoy the sessions and fall in love with dance. As an instructor, she also includes warm up and cool down elements into her routine to ensure flexibility.
Nivetha has been actively involved in and has performed at various cultural programs in different styles of dance - Bollywood free style, Bhangra, HipHop. She has conducted dance workshops and classes for adults and kids for over 5 years.
Paresh Motiwala Speech and Debate Club
Paresh Motiwala and his wife, Bhavana run Circles of Growth, an organization that teaches children the art and science of public speaking, debating, group discussions, event planning, leadership, and some Indian languages. He has taught over 300 students over the last 5 years. He runs his classes in Sharon, Providence, Burlington and Littleton/Acton area. Paresh has worked with children and youth around the globe.
For the last two decades, Paresh has spent time in speaking engagements at over a hundred events and is a very well respected speaker, especially in Technical world. He has also presented a three hour solo session on Indian Architecture at Harvard University. Paresh has also been the official Beauty Pageant speech coach for the Miss and Mrs. India pageants in New England.
Paresh is a well-known and respected member of the New England area for over 20 years. He has been Principal, Director, and teacher at Shishubharati (a school of languages and culture of India) for over ten years. Paresh has volunteered at countless cultural and non-profit organizations including IMANE, Harvard's Community Ethics Community, and Hindu Facilitator/Child Mentor for YouthLeadOnline.org and Sharon Pluralism Network. He has been a diversity chair, playwright, photographer and an award winning singer.
Phil Kaplan Guitar (Western and Hindustani Classical)
Phil Kaplan has been composing, performing, recording, and teaching, locally and internationally, since he graduated from the New England Conservatory in 1979. He has many full-length music albums of original material to his credit, as well as scores for film and theater.
While at the Conservatory he was introduced to the musical world of South Asia by master Sitarist and Educator Dr. Peter Row, from whom he took many lessons while pursuing his B.M. at the Conservatory and after graduating.
He is currently under the tutelage of Sr. Puspen Dey of Calcutta, himself a senior disciple of Pt. Buddhadev Dasgupta, and who has guided and encouraged him in his endeavor to translate Hindustani classical music to his first and most beloved instrument, the electric guitar. Phil has, after several years’ worth of trial, error, and experimentation, has arrived at a customization of his instrument which emulates the sarod and the sarangi, his two favorite Indian stringed instruments.
Priya Asthana Bollywood Dance
Priya is a dancer and choreographer practicing and performing for over 10 years on various platforms in India, Virginia and the New England area. She has trained in Indian classical dance, Bharatanatyam for 7 years and in Kathak as well as learnt jazz dance and been on local performing troupes. She has been a Bollywood Cardio instructor and recently started her own dance venture ‘Bolly Beatzz’. It highlights and fuses various dance genres from around the world while teaching modern choreographies that motivate aspiring dancers to pursue their own passion. Priya has received accolades and recognition for her dance style and bring a fresh perspective to Bollywood Dance.
He has been programming with Python for more than 10 years, and he is keen to share all that he has learnt. Python is a very versatile language and is used to build anything from automation scripts to full blown web applications. It is much in demand now, especially for data analysis and machine learning applications.
In recent years, Rohit has also taken on teaching; he teaches two Python classes at the S.E.T. School in Ashland -- a Fundamentals class that covers the basics of Python, and an Intermediate class that builds on the Fundamentals class and goes deeper into the features of the language. Rohit also freelances and has been providing informal instruction to friends; he comes to the Center to formalize and impart a structured curriculum in Python to teenagers and adults.
Shilpa Aravind BharatanatyamShilpa Aravind is a bharatanatyam dancer from Bangalore. She was trained by Guru Indira Kadambi and learnt the pandanallur style of dance. Shilpa has been a dance practitioner for the last 25 years and has won many accolades and dance competitions in India. She now performs and teaches in the New England area.
Shreshthi Mehta Art & Painting
Shreshthi Mehta is an artist with a passion for teaching. She specializes in curriculum design and facilitation. Hailing from a family of teachers, Shreshthi has been working with young children and has designed workshops for child development since the age of 15. Shreshthi teaches art using basic techniques like drawing exercises for finger control and drawing using shapes. She has used different forms of mediums like oil, acrylic and water colors. She has also created artwork using crayons and oil pastels.
While teaching art, Shreshthi has created awareness about environmental protection amongst her students. She has conducted several art and craft workshops like pumpkin painting, Easter bunny decoration and more to raise funds for cancer research.
Shreshthi’s students have published their artwork in leading magazines. She hopes her teaching will inspire others in pursuing their passion.
Sue Funk Art/Painting
A New Jersey native, Sue Funk has lived in Massachusetts for over 20 years. Sue both produces art and also teaches it. A Massachusetts Certified Teacher, Sue has taught Drawing, Cartooning and creatively designed classes at various locations including the Bedford Council on Aging and Shrewsbury Montessori.
Sue feels strongly that it is her role as a teacher to enable her students to chart their angst/joy/opinions through their art experiences. How better to do this than to teach them how to accurately illustrate their thoughts and emotions - to alleviate, where possible, the frustration of not being able to realistically portray what they want to by giving them the proper instruction and tools to do so? By reinforcing the basic elements of design, observation skills, etc., so that each student can observe/create/invent or reinvent and honor each blank canvas with complete images that satisfy each artist as an individual. She is a proud member of the Cambridge Art Association, Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts and National Association of Women Artists, Inc.
Vandana Rao Hindustani Vocal
Vandana Rao has been a music enthusiast from a very young age and started her music training at the age of 8. She trained in Mumbai for over 8 years in the khayal style of Hindustani music under the tutelage of several gurus. After moving to the US, she renewed her training in music under Smt Sadhana Upadhyay at the LearnQuest Academy of Music in Waltham, Massachusetts, learning various styles of Hindustani music including khayal, and light folk. She trained under Warren Senders, a vocalist and composer in Indian and Western music, and more recently, she has been training in dhrupad style of Hindustani music from Pt. Ramakant Gundecha.
In 2014 Vandana started the Sur Samvaad School of Music in Westborough where she teaches classical music to both young children and adults alike and currently has over a thirty students. She performs at local events and enjoys composing music in her free time.