Summer Intensive: Voice



July 1 – August 6, 2017 | Los Angeles, CA


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 vocalist Saili Oak and composer Reena Esmail team up to co-teach a six-week intensive workshop where you will:

• Receive intensive training in the fundamentals of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music.

• Receive 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 arrangement of a Hindustani bhajan for Indian singer and string quartet.

• Have this arrangement workshopped, performed and recorded by Saili Oak and string quartet.

• Possible future performances of your work by Saili Oak. Many of last year’s participants have already had subsequent performances of their pieces from this workshop.




Reena Esmail is a composer who works between the traditions of Hindustani and Western classical music. Her music has been commissioned by the Albany Symphony, Kronos Quartet and American Composers Orchestra, and performed in venues including Carnegie Hall and the Barbican Centre. She is a graduate of Juilliard and the Yale School of Music, and a Fulbright grantee to India in music. She has taught theory and composition at Manhattan School of Music in the Precollege division, and undergraduate theory and composition in the Yale Department of Music. Reena is currently a post-residential doctoral candidate at Yale, where her doctoral thesis was on collaboration methods between western composers and Hindustani classical musicians.

Saili Oak is a senior disciple of Dr. Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, a leading vocalist of the Jaipur-Atrauli gharana. Her numerous performances in India and abroad include the Summer Sounds festival at the Hollywood bowl, Vedic Heritage in New York, Beyond Borders concert at the University of Maine, at the Shastra Symposium 2016 in New Jersey, and as a soloist with the Albany Symphony. Her performances have been lauded for her command over ‘khayal’ and ‘laya,’ as well as her systematic and expressive exploration of raga. A regular performer on All India Radio, Saili has many albums to her name. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Ministry of Culture’s Scholarship for Hindustani music, the prestigious Pt.Jasraj Yuva award and Gaanwardhan award. The founding dean of SaReGaMaPa Academy in Los Angeles CA, Saili has been conducting regular music lessons, workshops, lecture demonstrations in the U.S. for over 5 years.

Program Info

This summer intensive will be comprised of three-hour weekly sessions on consecutive weekends from July 1 – August 6, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA. The final concert and recording session will be held the week of August 6th.

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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