Summer Intensive: Rhythm




July 28-30, 2017 | Wayne, NJ


Have you ever wanted to learn the basics of Indian classical music, or deepen your knowledge of the art form? Have you been interested in incorporating Indian musicians into the music you write? This workshop, hosted by Shastra, is an opportunity for Western-trained composers to do exactly that.  Hindustani tabla player Shawn Mativetsky and composer Payton MacDonald team up to co-teach a four-week intensive workshop where you will:

• Receive intensive training in the fundamentals of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, focusing on tala (rhythm)

• Receive individualized instruction on the best practices for working with Hindustani musicians and incorporating elements of Indian music organically into the music you write.

• Compose your own concerto for tabla and percussion quartet.


Payton MacDonald is a composer, percussionist, and singer. He has created a unique body of work that draws upon his extensive experience with Hindustani music and Western music. As a composer MacDonald has written music for Alarm Will Sound, JACK Quartet, Eliot Fisk, Mak Grgic, Shawn Mativetsky, New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, Glen Velez, William Schimmel, and many others. His works have been performed throughout the world, including major venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. MacDonald is a Senior Fulbright-Nehru Fellow, where he spent nine months in 2013-2014 in Bhopal, India, studying Dhrupad with the Gundecha Brothers. He has also won awards and residencies from American Music Center, ASCAP, Yaddo, and American Institute of Indian Studies. MacDonald is a Full Professor of Music at William Paterson University.  MacDonald studied music at the University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music.

Dynamic performer Shawn Mativetsky is considered one of Canada’s leading ambassadors of the tabla, and is a pioneer in bridging the worlds of Western and Indian classical music. Called an “exceptional soloist” by critic Réjean Beaucage, WholeNote’s Andrew Timar adds that “as a leading disciple of the renowned Sharda Sahai, he has serious street cred.” Shawn Mativetsky is highly sought-after as both performer and educator, and is active in the promotion of the tabla and North Indian classical music through lectures, workshops, and performances across Canada and internationally. Based in Montreal, Shawn teaches tabla and percussion at McGill University. His solo album, Payton MacDonald: Works for Tabla, was released in 2007, and Cycles, his recording of Canadian compositions for tabla, was released in the fall of 2011. His latest recording, Rivers, will be released in March 2017.

The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, directed by Peter Jarvis, was founded in 1968 by Raymond DesRoches. Because of the ensemble’s ongoing commitment to the proliferation of percussion repertoire, numerous pieces have been written for, premiered, and recorded by the ensemble, including several by Pulitzer-Prize winning composers.  NJPE has appeared in numerous venues in the United States and Europe as guests of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Radio Group for Contemporary Music, the Composers Guild of New Jersey, the San Francisco Symphony, the Gaudeamus Foundation Denmark, and countless others.  The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble has been in residence at William Paterson University since 1972.

Program Info

This is a four-week workshop, from July 3-30, 2017. The first three weeks are conducted via Skype with weekly 45-minute lessons with  both Mr. Mativetsky and Dr. MacDonald. During the last week, from July 28-30, 2017, participants will be required to attend a 3-day seminar at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. The seminar will include discussion, feedback and a recording session with the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble.

Tuition: $750 (covers all materials, classes and reading/recording sessions.)  An apprenticeship position is available for students with financial need. Please email for more information.

How to Apply: Applicants are not required to have any previous training in Hindustani music. However, they must have a working knowledge of Western composition, at least at the undergraduate level. Fill out the application form below and upload 1-2 representative scores in PDF format, and recordings, if available, in MP3 format. Two scores and their respective recordings are encouraged.


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