Artist Associates

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Yu-Chen Wang



A native of Taiwan, Yu-Chen Wang is a graduate of the Tainan National University of the Arts where she studied gu-zheng with Dong-He Ling and Hao-Yin Huang; and composition with Siao-Wun Jhuang and Chao- Min Dong. She has performed in master classes for Yan-Jia Zhou, Li Meng, Ji Qiu, Yuan Sha, Ji Wei, and Lei Zhu. Yu-Chen is the winner of the Gold Prize at the “Golden Lotus” International Youth Music Competition in Macau, the First Prize at the Taiwan National Music Competition (on three separate occasions), the First Prize at the Chinese Musical Instrument Association’s Competition, and the winner of the Taiwan Young Concert Artist Competition. She has appeared as soloist with the Tainan National University Chinese Orchestra, the National Chinese Orchestra, and the Kaohsiung City Chinese Orchestra. She has performed many solo recitals and has toured to Germany with the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra. Yu-Chen's compositions are a blend of western classical music and traditional Chinese music. She is interested in expanding the usual instrumentation and forms used in gu-zheng ensembles. Since he summer of 2009, she has lived in Champaign-Urbana and is working on spreading the gu-zheng.

Nirmalya Roy


Hindustani Vocal

Nirmalya Roy is an inspirational vocalist whose passion in music was recognized by his mother at early age. It was she who inspired him to cultivate his talent in music. He began training in classical music with Prof. Sunirmal Bhattacharya from Bishwa Bharati University. He was also trained in khayal by the late Govinda Prasad Debnath, a disciple of Pandit Chinmoy Lahiri. Later Nirmalya came under the guidance of Pandit Amiya Ranjan Banerjee, a renowned vocalist of Vishnupur Gharana.

Nirmalya, a Sangeet Visharad, has consistently achieved top positions in various music competitions including in khayal at Rajya Sangeet Academy, All India Music Competition - Gauwahati, Music India Competition of Ghazals and Golden Talent Contest sponsored by HMV. He participated in the Rajgir festival in 1997. In 2000 he was awarded the National Scholarship from the Government of India for his skill in performance.

Nirmalya became a scholar at the prestigious Sangeet Research Academy of Kolkata under the guidance of his guru Pandit Arun Bhaduri. Nirmalya's performances continue to be aired regularly on All India Radio as well as various television networks (Zee-TV, Tara-TV, E-TV, DD-7, Calcutta Doordarshan, etc). He has also done many jingles for various TV channels. He has equal expertise in light classical music, devotional songs, Hindi and Bengali film songs, ghazals, modern songs, etc. Nirmalya's first audio cassette, "Nijere Harai," was nominated for Ananda Bazar Patrika’s Bengali music Award in Ananda Purashkar. Four cassettes and CDs of Bengali modern songs have also been released from Atlantis Music, BMG Crescendo, and Venus Audio. Nirmalya also has released CDs and cassettes of Bhajans, modern Bengali songs and Nazrul Geeti. Nirmalya regularly participates in vocal recitals and conducts music workshops extensively throughout India, United States and Canada. In Spring 2011 he will teach in the Champaign public schools for the Center for World Music's "World Music and Dance in the Schools" program.

Nirmalya is currently associated with Zee-TV in various capacities, the most recent being the title-music composer and singer of the Bengali version of the very popular programme SaReGaMaPa. He is also the lead singer of the Music Band "Taal Tantra."

Gullapudi Raman Kumari

Gullapudi Raman

Odissi Dance

Gullapudi Raman Kumari is an accomplished professional dancer, teacher and choreographer in Odissi and one of the rare dancers who strongly believes "dance is life and life is to dance". She was introduced to the art of Odissi when she was barely seven years old. She had her early training under Guru Shree Gajandra Panda and Guru Shree Sudhakar Sahu. Later she continued her studies under the guidance of Guru Shree Dr. Manoj Kumar Behera and gained a thorough grounding in the Guru Shree Deba Prasad Das style of odissi. Her quest for enriching her art technique and style is the final goal of her life.

Raman is one of the well-established artists in the field today, part of a small group of contemporary peers so recognized. She has a wide range of teaching and performing experience in this field and plans to establish her own dance institution.

In addition to the teaching of theory and practice of Odissi, Raman is also an accomplished performer and choreographer. She has given stage performances to enthusiastic response and acclaim at several prestigious forums in India and abroad.

A friendly person loved by her students and liked by all, Raman focuses on molding budding talent to professional standards of excellence, while at the same time pursuing her performing interests. She also keeps abreast of traditional Odissi repertoire and contemporary trends, and as a consequence, is frequently invited to conduct workshops, judge competitions and provide lecture demonstrations.

Moussa Bolokada Conde

Moussa Bolokada

Mande Master Drummer

Born in Kissidougou, Guinea, Bolokada is a Master Drummer in the Mande tradition, specializing in the djembe drum.

According to family legend, his mother knew when he was only two years old that he would be a drummer—she could tell from the way he pounded her shoulders when she carried him slung on her back. It is a measure of the esteem in which Bolokada is held in Guinea that the mayor of his home city, Kissidougou, gave him land in 1994, in recognition of his artistry. Bolokada’s neighbors went further: they volunteered to work the land and cook his food for him, so that he could concentrate on drumming for them.

In 1996 Bolokada became lead soloist of Les Percussions de Guinée, Guinea’s premiere percussion ensemble. With the ensemble, he toured in the United States and Europe, gaining an international reputation as a djembe player. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his music: in addition to the mayor of Kissidougou’s gesture, the mayor of San Francisco declared February 25, 2003, Les Percussions de Guinée Day in Bolokada’s honor; and in 2006, he was officially recognized by Guinea’s Minister of Culture. He has performed with Elvin Jones, Joan Baez, and Mickey Hart.  Since 2004 he has taught in the United States, forming and maintaining Mande drum-and-dance groups in North Carolina, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz; he has taught workshops in many parts of the United States and Mexico; he has led study-tours to Guinea for students from the United States and Italy in winter and summer vacations; and from August 2008 to December 2011 he was a full-time visiting artist at the Robert E. Brown Center for World Music, where he gave drumming classes at the University, for the community, and in the public schools (as part of the Center's "World Music and Dance in the Schools" program).  He has published two CDs (Sankaran and Morowaya), an instructional DVD (M’bara), and a DVD of in-context performances in Guinea (M’bemba Fakoli; all of these are published on the Abaraka label). He is featured in the IMAX movie Pulse: a STOMP Odyssey and is the subject of an upcoming documentary, Bolokada Conde, Malinke Village Djembefola.



Philip Yampolsky


Ewe Drumming

School of Music, MC-056
University of Illinois
1114 West Nevada Street
Urbana, Illinois, 61801

Philip Yampolsky was the founding director of the Robert E. Brown Center for World Music. He is a musicologist who has played Javanese and Balinese gamelan music for nearly 40 years, and the percussion music of the Ewe of Ghana for still longer. His research interests include: various genres of Indonesian and West African music; intellectual property issues as they relate to traditional or communal music; the recording industry worldwide; the discography and preservation of early recordings; and the teaching of world music in elementary and secondary schools. He lived for fifteen years in Indonesia, including seven years as Program Officer in Arts and Culture for the Ford Foundation’s Indonesia office. He spent the entire decade of the 1990s recording, editing, and annotating a series of twenty CDs,Music of Indonesia, published in the U.S. by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and in Indonesia by Masyarakat Seni Pertunjukan Indonesia; he is now planning a new series on the music of Timor-Leste.

Priscilla Tse


Chinese Silk-and-Bamboo Ensemble Director

Priscilla Tse has extensive experience with various Chinese instruments since middle school. In 2004, she graduated from the Chinese Music Conservatory in Beijing, majoring in the Chinese dulcimer (yangqin). In 2007, she earned her Master's degree in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. degree in Musicology at the University of Illinois, focusing on the gender issues in Cantonese opera in Hong Kong. Apart from the Chinese dulcimer, she has performed Beijing opera percussion, Javanese and Balinese gamelan music, Korean samulnori, and in the UI Russian ensemble. She was a member of the UI East-West Ensemble that went to Bali in 2008 to perform at the Bali Arts Festival.

Subrata Bhattacharya




Subrata Bhattacharya is a noted professional tabla player in the North Indian classical tradition. He has performed all over India and in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe, and he has received important awards in India for his artistry. He has accompanied many important vocalists and sitarists. He has also formed a fusion group to experiment with the mingling of Indian music and western music. In Spring 2009 he was a visiting artist at the Center for World Music.  He gives adult classes and gives school demonstrations and workshops for the Rhythm and Raag Institute for Indian Performing Arts in Urbana, and in Spring 2011 he will teach in Champaign public schools as part of the Center's "World Music and Dance in the Schools" program.


Denis Chiaramonte



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Originally from Jundiaí, São Paulo, Brazil, Denis Chiaramonte has more than 25 years of experience, starting capoeira in June 1988, and has trained with a series of esteemed Brazilian masters.  In 1998, he became a student of Mestre (Master) Reinaldo Ramos Suassuna, and is now a student of Senhor Joao, Mestre que da licao.  In April 2013 Denis was accepted by Mestre Joao Grande to be part of the Capoeira Angola Center of Mestre Joao Grande and is honored to have established the Capoeira Angola Center Champaign-Illinois. Mestre João Grande was born on January 15th 1933, was a direct student of the legendary Mestre Pastinha, and has dedicated more than 60 years to Capoeira Angola. He is one of the most respected and recognized Mestres of all time in the world. He teaches Capoeira in the African way, as a philosophy and a way of life, respecting the roots, history and tradition.

In 2003 Denis was invited to lead the Capoeira Club in Champaign. Since his arrival in the United States Denis has taught workshops across the United States and in France, Israel, England, Japan, and Mexico. He currently teaches at the University of Illinois at Urbana’s Dance Department capoeira, as visiting lecturer since 2004. He is also the RSO facility advisor for the UIUC Capoeira Club, which has hosted several International Capoeira Conferences at the University of Illinois at Urbana, bringing teachers and students from around the globe.

Under the tutelage of Mestre Suassuna, Contra-Mestre Denis perfected his game and traveled throughout Brazil and to Israel to give workshops. In 2003 he was invited to lead the Cordão de Ouro group in Champaign, and received his Professor rank. In 2004 he graduated to Contra-Mestre, one rank below Mestre.

In Urbana-Champaign and at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, Denis teaches capoeira classes for both beginners and advanced students, for children and adults. In the Fall of 2004, Denis was invited to teach a capoeira class to graduate and undergrad students at the University of Illinois's Dance Department and returns every year to teach as a visiting lecturer.  Denis is not only an expert in capoeira but also in various other dances and arts associated with capoeira, such as Afro-Brazilian dances, Maculelé, Puxada de Rede, and Samba. Students of Denis learn not only the movements of the game, but how to play the instruments used during the game, and how to sing the songs (which involves learning some Portuguese), as well as the history and culture of Brazil.