Former Affiliates

Ian Middleton


Ensemble Director, Timbalú

Ellen Rice


Co-Director, Brazilian Music Club

B.A. in Music (Concentration in Ethnomusicology)- American University, 2013.
M.M. in Musicology; Graduate Minor in Museum Studies - UIUC, 2019.

Interested in the music of the Brazilian northeast, and of Brazilian communities in the U.S., Ellen’s current work focuses on female popular musicians in Recife, Pernambuco, the politics and aesthetics of self-production, and constructions of femininity. Their masters thesis explores constructions of gender in the Brazilian northeast, and shows how the work of female musicians in that region can provide new possibilities for alternative femininities. Other interests include the impact of museums and discourses of intangible cultural heritage on musicians in Brazil, and intersections of applied ethnomusicology and museum studies.

Along with UIUC faculty member Dr. Mike Silvers, Ellen served as co-leader and co-founder of the UIUC Brazilian Armorial Ensemble (Nação Terra do Milho), performing on cello, rabeca, and percussion with the ensemble.

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.



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 taught in Champaign public schools as part of the Center's "World Music and Dance in the Schools" program.