Nadir Abbas is a gifted vocalist/songwriter. He started learning music at National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi, Pakistan in 2006. He represented Pakistani traditional music at many International forums. He has collaborated with local and international musicians and has been selected multiple times for cultural exchange programs. nadirabbasmusic.com
Momin Ahmad is an extremely active in the Austin music scene, performing in over 20 bands spanning genres such as pop, rock, fusion, punk and electronica. While studying philosophy, at UT Austin, he has performed in ensembles that span Jazz, classical and South Asian styles. Momin also runs a media production company that specializes in live audio video production for local Austin artists. smallbatchpro.com His other endeavors include working for a local record label where he manages, promotes and books local and national bands.
Stephen Chaman is a pianist and has been in music education for the last twenty years and has a passion for teaching music. He has an extensive experience of working in prestigious schools of Karachi as a music teacher. He was selected to participate in international exchange program in fall 2014 where he performed live, gave lecture/recitals to international audiences.
Julia Dixon began her studies of cello at the age of 14 under Wendy Doyle and Benjamin Karp. With a passion of performing and travel, she has toured through Doha, Qatar, and through various cities in China including Yangzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Beijing with numerous Kentucky ensembles. She has also been an active performer with the Brevard Music Center Symphony Orchestra since 2011. Julia is currently pursing an undergradate degree in cello performance under the instruction of Bion Tsang at the University of Texas at Austin. She regularly performs with the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra and Opera Orchestra, as well as other small ensembles. In her free time Julia enjoys competitive road cycling, playing with her kitten, Claudio, and and performing alongside her sister, Leigh, a violist.
Myranda Harris is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin with a BM and MM from University of North Texas. Her research focuses on Karnatak fusion music South India. Myranda is a percussionist trained in Western classical percussion as well as a variety of world percussion instruments, such as South Indian kanjira, Iranian daf, and Egyptian riq. She has built a diverse rhythmic vocabulary by studying percussion in a number of music traditions, including Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music, West African Ewe drumming, Javanese and Balinese gamelan, Middle Eastern maqam-based music, and South Indian Karnatak classical music. Myranda enjoys seeing how elements from these music traditions can be combined into new musical fusions as she performs with other musicians in ensembles such as Sangat. myrandaharris.com
Eddie Hsu is a PhD student in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is originally from Taiwan, and received his B.A. majored in Dizi – Chinese bamboo flute – performance at Tainan National University of the Arts. He received Master in Music at UT-Austin, with research interests in Chinese and Taiwanese music, and realm of intangible cultural heritage in special regards to Taiwanese Aboriginal music. As a musician, Eddie has played dizi and Arabic nay, performing with music groups such as ETHNOS, Bereket, UT Gamelan ensemble, and GO: Organic Orchestra. He has composed, arranged, and performed for many groups and events in Austin and Taiwan. His music style is strongly rooted in folk music in Taiwan and China, with interests in exploring various kinds of music in world cultures. https://eddiehmusic.com/
Laura Jorgensen is a graduate student in ethnomusicology at UT Austin. Her research interests include musics of Southeastern Europe, music and gender, and the role of music in activism by and for marginalized communities. She also greatly enjoys performing as a vocalist and percussionist with the Bereket Middle Eastern Ensemble. She received her BM in Professional Music with an emphasis on vocal performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she led and regularly performed with a band of fellow students. Her original songs have been awarded several international prizes. While she began her training in Western classical and choral music at the age of 7, she now enjoys singing a wide variety of contemporary and traditional styles from around the world. Laurajorgensenbandcamp.com
Jason McKenzie began drum set with the late Butch Trucks from the Allman Bros. Band in his teens, then studied percussion at Florida State Univ. and later transferred and graduated from the Univ. of North Texas. He studied tabla from Aloke Dutta, Swapan Chaudhuri, and Gouri Shankar and kanjira from Ganesh Kumar and Sathish Pathakota. He eventually travelled to India twice to concentrate on each instrument respectively. Jason has performed with pop singers Alexi Murdoch and Matt Nathanson and his drumming is on a record that went Gold called Some Mad Hope. In addition to pop, he has also played drums for country legends Billy Joe Shaver and Willie Nelson and appeared with both on Light Night with David Letterman in 2015. He also has co-formed the Austin-based world music ensemble Atash which has performed in Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, Hawaii and most recently at Carnegie Hall backed my a fifty-piece orchestra.
Arsalan Pareyal is a contemporary jazz fusion guitarist and a Rubab player from Karachi, Pakistan. Arsalan teaches jazz theory/improvisation and advance rhythm techniques at NAPA. As a student, Arsalan was selected multiple times for the exchange programme between NAPA and the University of Texas, Austin, where he studied advance jazz theory, sight reading and composition. Arsalan is the lead guitarist and a founder of PAK-USA collaborative band Sangat. He has designed a music curriculum for community schools in Karachi and is working on the music faculty of the nonprofit Azm-e-Naujawan to provide education to needy children. He is also a NAPA graduate.
Franklin Piland has had multiple pieces premiered and recorded by a variety of professional and educational musicians, and has collaborated on his music with some of the world’s best humans, ranging from university faculty and students across the nation to renowned flautist François Minaux, star soprano Audra Methvin, and critically-acclaimed saxophonist Ann Bradfield. Arrangements of Franklin’s are widely-requested and numerous, and range from solos to symphonies. His choral and band works have drawn attention from legendary composers of our time, Eric Whitacre, Donald Grantham, Mark Camphouse, and David Holsinger being some of the most prominent. His band work “Somnia Mortem” was named a finalist in the ATSSB Composition Competition and has been championed beautifully by David Holsinger since 2013. He has been commissioned numerous works for a wide variety of ensembles, most recently “Meditations” for Wind Ensemble, “Nine – Concertino for Tuba and Piano,” “Rose Made Man,” a One-Act Opera, and three works for the Pakistani/American fusion group Sangat (Moon of the 15th, Sangat, and Morning). As a performer he has played as the principal tubist for the Eastern New Mexico University Wind Symphony from 2008 to 2013, performed in a variety of wind ensembles in New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Ireland, in addition to a number of solo and chamber recitals. Franklin continues to perform as a soloist; he has performed with the University of Texas Middle Eastern Ensemble for multiple years and currently performs with the University of Texas Hispanic/Caribbean Ensemble, the international touring group Sangat, and the Cedar Park Winds. Additionally, Franklin is intensely passionate about music education and continues to be requested for high school band and low brass clinics across Texas and New Mexico. Franklin currently serves as an audio and video recording engineer for the University of Texas at Austin Recording Studio at the Butler School of Music. Franklinpiland.com
Lee Redfield earned a Masters of Music in ethnomusicology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and both a Bachelors of Arts and a Bachelors of Music in Music Education with Washington State Certification from the University of Washington in 2007. While working as a public school teacher he taught High school Jazz and electronic music composition for the Bellevue School District. After his undergraduate graduation he traveled to South India to study saxophone with Karnatik master Dr. Kadri Gopalnath. Lee has continued to travel the world collecting melodies, scales, and rhythms to develop and expand his repertoire. In 2007 and 2008 he lectured at some of the most prestigious music institutes in Peru. While at UT Austin as a graduate student the university employed him as a teaching assistant for Music History of the 20th Century, History of Rock as well as Music, Identity and Difference. In 2014 he was funded by UT Austin and the U.S. Department of State to lecture and perform at The National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi Pakistan. In 2015 he performed as the featured artist of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days at the Residence of The Consulate General of the United States in Karachi. Lee has studied jazz with Don Lanphere, Marc Seals, Dan Greenblatt, Vern Selert, Micheal Brockman, Burt Wilson, Mike West, Dr. Jere Knudtsen, Tracy Knoop, Skerik, Mark Taylor, and Cuong Vu. He studied Karnatik music with Dr. Kadri Gopalnath and Hindustani music with Dr. Stephen Slawek. leeredfield.com
Dr. Sonia Tamar Seeman plays Balkan and Turkish-style clarinet and kanun. She studied in Macedonia with members of the Radio-Television Skopje calgija ensemble, and in Turkey worked with Romani master clarinetists Naci Göçmen and Selim Sesler. In addition to writing liner notes for numerous cds of Romani and Turkish musicians, she facilitates musical tours and residencies at UT-Austin. She co-founded Turkish group Yeni Ses in Seattle, WA; performed with Los Angeles’ Aman ensemble, and founded the University of Texas, Austin’s Middle Eastern Ensemble “Bereket” in 2006. In addition to her ongoing work with Sangat, she founded and participates in Aşk-i Meşk, an 8-piece Austin-based ensemble that specializes in traditional urban music from the Middle East and Turkey.
Muhammad Ahsan Shabbir is a Singer/Songwriter. He started learning music in 2005 at the National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi, Pakistan. He has collaborated and performed live with many international musicians. He writes & records songs about love, peace and friendship. He is currently working as music faculty at NAPA. He has also been selected multiple times for International Exchange Programs in India and United States where he conducts lecture, recitals, workshops and performances at prestigious institutions. ahsanbabamusic.com
Abeir Shan is a percussionist currently studying eastern classical tabla under the guidance of Ustaad Bashir Khan from the National Academy of Performing Arts ( NAPA Pakistan ). She recently returned to Pakistan after visiting South Korea where she studied the Korean traditional percussion instrument called Janggu. She has collaborated with various artists from Mongolia , Africa , Uzbekistan, Combodia and Myanmar. In her free time, she backpacks and explores Pakistani folk music also writes poetry, sketch and loves to study psychology.
In an attempt to keep young Benjamin Vogel out of trouble, his elementary school band teacher offered to teach him the electric bass and let him join the school concert band. The gambit was mostly a success, and Ben has developed into a highly skilled, in-demand multi-instrumentalist in the Austin scene. Equally at home laying down tracks in a recording studio or tearing up the stage, Ben is passionate about many styles of music, primarily jazz fusion and rock n’ roll. He also recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Masters Degree in Music Composition. Ben is extremely grateful for the opportunity to play with Sangat and regards it as a highlight of his musical journey here in Austin.