Gurus of Classical Indian Music – St Louis, Mo

Gurus of Classical Indian Music – St Louis, MO

Guru Mala Gopinathan
Guru Nithya Sayeeganesh
Guru Prasanna Kasthuri
Guru Sandhya Anu Pandurangi
Guru Seema Kasthuri
Guru Vidya Anand
Guru Mala Gopinathan
Guru Mala Gopinathan started her learning in Carnatic music at the young age of 7 under her Guru Sri Mahalinga Iyer, till she was into college. I performed for the All India Radio and competed in many intercollegiate competitions and the annual India music competitions.She began teaching music shortly after moving to Saint.Louis in 2004 and has teaching music for nearly 14 years.

Guru Mala has spread the learning of Carnatic classical music to over 500 children in St.Louis over this period and continues to be one of the most sought after Gurus in St Louis.

In Guru Mala’s own words-“Spreading the joy of Carnatic music to all my students is one of the greatest highlights of my life. I am delighted in seeing my students flourish by part taking in various programs, concerts and even doing their ‘Arangetrams’ (First concert level performance on stage by a student of music).”

Guru Nithya Sayeeganesh
Nithya started to learn Music at the age of 5 Under Smt.Saraswathi Ramachandran and Bharatnatyam under Smt. Sarala, Karaikudi. She went on and pursued to learn vocal trainings from Shri.Ramanatha Bhagavathar, Nanganallur and Smt. Shruthi Anand.

Nithya learnt Veena under Smt. Hema Veeraraghavan and did her debut Veena concert at Sidhi vinakayar Temple, Chennai on the auspicious occasion of Vinaayakar Chathurthi. Nithya has enjoyed performing in various Temples, Sabhas and Events from a very young age. She has played veena accompaniment for Bharatnatyam and Kuchupudi Arangetrams.

Nithya has taken vocal workshops from musical legends Dr.S.Sowmya, Smt. Nithyashree Mahadevan, Neraval workshop from Smt. Gayathri Venkatraghavan, Shri. Malladi Suribabu Garu and Veena workshops from Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh. Nithya also has taken voice culture and light music training under the guidance of Shri. Anant Vaidhyanathan.

Nithya started Raagavarsha School of Music in 2010 and has been teaching Veena and vocal to aspiring kids and adults. Nithya and her students take part in concerts and events organized by Sangeetha, Hindu Temple of Louis, Missouri Ganesha Temple, Karya sidhi Hanuman Temple, Frisco and many other prominent temples and organizations.

She enjoys teaching and passing on the knowledge of music to the next generation.

Guru Prasanna Kasthuri (Soorya School of Dance and Music)
Guru Prasanna is a Musician and Dancer from Bangalore. He rose to success at the age of 18 in his hometown with 24-hour marathon dancing.Prasanna has learned music from veteran music Gurus such as Chintalapalli Krishnamurthy, Mathur Shankara Murthy, Ambi Bhagavathar.

He has toured in India at a very young age, performing alongside his Gurus. Prasanna is a composer of classical music as well and has composed over 70 compositions (varnams, Tillanas, and Jathi swarams). Being a strong nattuvanar gives him an innate ability to compose creative phrases and swara Kalpana. He has self-composed music to all his dance productions since the 1980s including Silambu, Jnana, Shringara Nayakaru and many more. Prasanna has worked with extremely well-known musicians such as Grammy awardee Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhat

Prasanna is the curator of St. Louis Dance and Music festival under his performing arts organization “Soorya Performing Arts”. He has taught music to many students in Columbia MO, Springfield MO, and St.Louis. He teaches music at Soorya School of music in St. Louis MO

Guru Sandhya Anu Pandurangi (Anurag School of Music)
Guru Sandhya Pandurangi has her training under Pt. Manohar Poddar, Disciple of Pt. Basavaraja Rajguru, Mrs. Vijaya Bokil & Mr. Chandratre from Nasik (Maharashtra, India) since age 7 and currently is training under Living Legend Ustad Imrat Khan. She is also an approved AIR Artist (Jalgaon, Nasik), Bombay Doordarshan Artist. She has accompanied several accomplished artists touring USA from India. Rendered several concerts in USA and in India, trained several students in USA and produced CDs and Cassettes. Expertise: Hindustani Classical/Semiclassical/Sugam Sangeeth.Highlights:

  • Launched CCC (Children for Children by Children) in St Louis and in India (3 centers).
  • More than 50 concerts in USA, Canada and in India.
  • Trained more than 200 students in Pvittsburgh, Columbia, Boston and in St Louis
  • Conducted workshops on Hindustani Classical and Sugam Sangeeth.
  • Fund Raising for temples and social organizations ($ 10K-20 K/event).
  • First Live Music for ‘Arangetram’ under “Guru Asha Prem” in St Louis.
  • Several live music performances under “Soorya Performance Arts” including “Jugalbandi with Tap Dance”.
  • Collaborated with Sangeetha, UMSL, Soorya Performance Arts, and many locals.
  • Directed Community Outreach Programs1. East Marries West (University of Missouri, St Louis), 2. Indian Classical Music as a choir (With St Louis Orchestra), 3. Music Therapy for Palliation of Pain in Cancer Patients (Cancer Community Center, Manchester).
Guru Seema Kasthuri (Soorya School of Dance and Music)
Seema Kasthuri is a practitioner, performer and teacher of Carnatic classical from St. Louis MO. Seema is a student of Vidushi Nagamani Srinath, who started at a young age under Vid Ventakesh at her hometown Hassan. She is also extremely blessed to have learnt with Ustad Imrat Khan in St.Louis.Seema has accompanied her Guru, Dr. Nagamani in multiple concerts held in Kansas City, St. Louis Music festival, Philadelphia and Houston. Seema has travelled extensively in USA performing for concerts and participated in mega events like “Saagaradaache Saptha Swara” and AKKA convention.

Seema also sings for Bharatanatyam dance arangetram and programs as lead vocalist. She has accompanied dance arangetrams all over USA with her mellifluous voice.

Seema’s first devotional music album was released in 2002 and her contemporary bhava Geethe album Nireeksha was released by well-known scholars and Musicians in August 2013 in Bangalore. Seema is passionate about working with various Genre’ of music. Her new album “Wind-Chyme” yet to be launched is a creative combination of classical, fusion, Rap and R&B.

Guru Sharad Sathe (Sathe Sangeet Vidyalaya)
Dr. Sharad Sathe learned Tabla during high school and college in Mumbai for many years with the late Narayanrao Indorekar. He accompanied on Tabla with numerous professional and amateur vocalists both in India and in the U.S. The artists include the late Ratnakar Pai, Laxmi Shankar, the late Ram Phatak, Vinayak Torvi, Amiya Ranjan Bannerjee, Santanu Bannerjee, Dr. Havaldar and others.With the knowledge of Taal (Tabla) and interest in music he taught himself to play Harmonium. He has accompanied on harmonium with many artists (including Kumar Sunil Mungee, Suhas Vyas, Archana Kanhere and others) in recent years.

He has been teaching Tabla for over 40 years in St. Louis; initially as time permitted while working at Mallinckrodt and more regularly after retirement. He started teaching Harmonium since 1999.His knowledge and interest in music led him to pursue composing some music as a hobby since the early 1990’s. It was further developed from many years of close association with the late Shri. Ram Phatak, one of the most well-known composers (Bhimsen Joshi’s Marathi Abhangawani) of his generation. Dr. Sathe professionally recorded a CD (Abhal SwaraRanganche) of his own music compositions (Marathi Ghazal-type), which was released in 2010. Well-known singers for the CD are Rahul Deshpande, Sadhana Sargam and Madhuri Karmakar.

Dr. Sathe has an average of 20+ students all the time ever since he started teaching music after retiring from Mallinckrodt as a Technical Director. His is a very informal music school. He neither seeks nor receives any grants from outside agencies. The music school does not advertise itself anywhere, except the personal information listing on website. Students and their family members and friends spread the word about the school and that is how he gets new students. Some of the advanced students also perform at the community events. Many students have learned for 10-12 years until they graduate from High School. The advanced Tabla students can and do play solo pieces, but he strongly emphasizes the accompanying part once they are able to play the instrument itself reasonably well. Two of his Tabla students made it to the final round in SwarGanga competition held nationwide. Harmonium students learn from the written music in the beginning. Then they are taught to play by listening (Swara-Dnyaan) without the written notation.

Guru Vidya Anand (Swaravidya Music School)
Smt. Vidya Anand started learning Carnatic music at the age of 5 at Chembur Fine Arts from Late Mrs. Lalitha Parthasarathy, student of Musiri Subramanya Iyer, and a gold medalist at Adyar University, Chennai. She took further training from Late Mr. P.N. Krishnamurthy, a noted musicologist in Mumbai.She has been performing since she was ten years old and gave her solo concert at the age of sixteen at Bhakta Rasika Ranjani Sabha, Mumbai. She also performed at the Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer Trust Mylapore, Chennai as part of the centenary celebrations. She has taken part and won prizes in several music competitions held in Mumbai.

Smt. Vidya Anand is also a trained dancer, having learnt Bharatanatyam at Nritya Geetanjali from Mrs. Rajee Narayanan and performed her Arangetram at the age of thirteen. She has received training in Nattuvangam from her teacher and has provided vocal support for dance performances.

She started teaching music at Bhakta Rasika Ranjani Sabha, Mumbai. After she relocated to the USA she started Swaravidya Music School in St. Louis, Missouri in 1999 and has been teaching music to aspiring young kids ever since.

She has taken part in several St. Louis cultural events such as Thyagaraja Aradhana and InterFaith Celebration with her students and has given solo concerts for Sangeetha, Society of Indian Classical Music in St. Louis, MO and is dedicated to passing on the rich Indian music tradition to the younger generation. She is extremely proud of all of her students and takes great pleasure in the fact that several of her students have given their debut concerts under her tutelage and carry with them their lifelong love for music.

Nithya Sayeeganesh started her Vocal training Under Smt. Saraswathi at the age of 5, and went to continue under Sri. Ramanadha Bhagavadhar. She also trained in Bharathanatyam training under Smt. Sarala and Veena training under Smt. Hema VeeraraghavanShe has done many concerts, among the many she did, the one that is close to her heart is the one she did at Mahakavi Bharathiyar Illam in Chennai for his Birth Anniversary amongst top Music legends and musicians.

Nithya Sayeeganesh has been teaching vocal Carnatic music and Veena for the past 9 years in St. Louis, MO