Presenter Bios

Natalie Sarrazin, PhD is the Executive Director and co-founder of WMEA and an Associate Professor at The College at Brockport, NY, where she is coordinator of Music Studies, and teaches the music curriculum in an Interdisciplinary Arts for Children program. Dr. Sarrazin holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master’s degree in Music Education from Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University. Natalie is the author of numerous publications on Indian film music, Children’s music in India, and Music Education, including “Children’s Urban and Rural Musical Worlds” for an Oxford Handbook (2013), Music in Contemporary Indian Film: Voice, Memory, Voice, Identity, Routledge, 2016. She is also the author of an NAfME (formerly MENC) publication entitled Indian Music for the Classroom, 2008, and a music teaching method book entitled Music and the Child, 2015, SUNY Open Press.


Denese Odegaard is President of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) in the US (2016-2018). Denese is currently the Fargo (North Dakota) Public Schools Performing Arts Curriculum Specialist, and has taught orchestra for 33 years. National service includes board member for both the American String Teachers Association Board (ASTA) and the National Association for Music Education Board (NAfME). While on the ASTA Board, she was chair of the Committee on School Orchestra and Strings and received the ASTA Citation for Leadership twice.Odegaard authored Curriculum Writing 101: Assistance with Standards-based Music Curriculum and Assessment Writing for Band, Choir, Orchestra and General Music (GIA), co-authored the ASTA Curriculum (Alfred), and has contributed to several GIA, NAfME and Corwin publications.


Russ Sperling is President of the Western Division of NAfME, which covers the west coast of the US and WMEA, India. Russ is the Director of Visual and Performing Arts for the San Diego Unified School District, and has served as President of the California Music Education Association. Russ is the Director of the Grossmont College Concert Band, and is an expert on developing and promoting school bands.


Anjli Mata is the President and co-founder of WMEA, and Area Coordinator (North India) and Academic Head for Trinity College London in India. She is a Western Classical music educationist specializing in Piano. She has been teaching music for over 40 years and was instrumental in establishing the Theme Music Institute, of which she was the Principal for 15 years.


Sunit Tandon has held the posts of Director General of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, the premier Mass Communication and Journalism Institute of the country, as well as Chief Executive Officer of the Lok Sabha Television Channel, Lok Sabha Secretariat, Parliament of India. He is a well-known news and current affairs anchor on Indian national television (Doordarshan and Lok Sabha Television) and a radio broadcaster. He is also active as a theatre director and actor, with approximately 150 productions to his credit. He is currently the President of the Delhi Music Society, Delhi’s oldest society devoted to the promotion of western classical music education and appreciation, as well as the Director of Yatrik, the capital’s oldest theatre group.


Subir Malik is a keyboardist for and founding member of the rock band, Parikrama, one of the most successful rock bands in Indian history. Parikrama began in 1991 in Delhi, with inspiration from Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and The Doors. The band performs  hundreds of shows per year nationally and internationally, and has opened for Iron Maiden on several occasions. Parikrama infuses Indian classical instruments into their works alongside the regular rock instrumentation. Subir is also owner of the Artist management company - Parikrama Inc, which specializes in alternative entertainment, bands from many genres (jazz, blues, rock, Bollywood, country, and retro) and exclusive artists such as Flamenco Guitarists, Egyptian harpists, etc.


Ritesh Khokhar is Vice-President and co-founder of WMEA, and is one of the most promising pianist and music educators to hail from the capital city of New Delhi in recent years. He is the Chief Executive of Bridge Music Academy, Brand Ambassador for Roland, Academic Consultant with Trinity College London, Former Core Trainer for Piano with Yamaha Music Foundation, Senior Music Consultant with Music Basti (an NGO working with children at risk through music).


Saskia Rao de Haas is a virtuoso cellist, musicologist, music educator, and composer from the Netherlands based in New Delhi, India. She is known as the creator of the Indian cello and as a master performer of Indian Classical music. Her Guru, Hariprasad Chaurasia said about her “she has been taught by God and everyone should listen to her music’. Her collaborative work with her life partner Pandit Shubhendra Rao is hailed as ‘movingly meditative’ innovative and transforming the face of Indian music. She has designed the music curriculum Sangeet4All that is implemented in leading schools and NGO’s across the NCR. She conducts research in ‘Indian music education: from Indian cello to classroom’ invited by the University of Leiden and runs, together with her husband, the NGO ‘the Shubhendra and Saskia Rao foundation to encourage and empower children through Indian classical music.


Lindsay Ross Boyd has been teaching and working internationally with a special focus in India since 2012. She was Director of Bands at Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo, North Dakota, USA before being appointed to Director of Bands at Woodstock School in northern India. She is currently the Head of the Music Department at Pathways World School in Gurgaon and Music Director and Conductor of The Capital City Minstrels, the premier performing chorus in New Delhi. In addition to conducting wind band and chorus, she was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the Buffalo Community Orchestra in Buffalo, Minnesota, USA. Lindsay has recently published a wind band piece, "Malkauns" under Hal Leonard Publishing Company that includes aspects of Hindustani music for a traditional western ensemble. Ms. Boyd received her Master of Music degree in Instrumental Conducting at the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.


About WMEA India

The Western Music Education Association (WMEA) is a non-profit company formed to support music education across India. The mission of the Association is to positively affect music learning in India by providing institutional guidance and quality professional development for music teachers.


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