Rik Masterson

-disciple of Pandit Pran Nath

A devoted student, performer & teacher of North Indian classical music, Rik Masterson began his formal studies in 1979, with Uma Roy, foremost sitarist of Nepal. His training in tabla began also in 1979, with Taylor Sloan, a founding student of the Ali Akbar College of Indian Music in San Rafael, CA. In 1984, '85, '95 and '96 he studied with the remarkable tabla virtuoso, Ustad Zakir Hussain. He has also studied tabla with Pandit Swapan Chowdhury, Pandit Samir Chatterjee and Pandit Jagdish Mohan. In 1983 Rik sought guidance from and later became a disciple of master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. Since his passing in June 1996, Rik continued his raga singing studies with the distinguished composer and disciple of Pandit Pran Nath, Terry Riley, the late Khalifa (hereditary head) of the Kirana Gharana (school), Ustad Hafizullah Khan, and with leading Kirana vocal exponent, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan. From 1994 to 2001 Rik traveled to India annually to further his studies and understanding of Indian music and culture.

Rik has taught and performed in America, India, Germany and France with some of the most highly respected artists in the field of Indian music including vocalists Pandit Pran Nath, Pandit Jagdish Mohan and Shrimati Karunamayee, sarangi master Ustad Hafizullah Khan, sitarists Krishna Bhatt, Biswajit Sarkar, Iklaq Hussain Khan, and composer/singers Terry Riley and La Monte Young. In India, February 1995, Rik performed in a government sponsored video documentary on Pandit Pran Nath.

A dedicated champion of North Indian classical music, Rik has advanced it through teaching & concert promotion. In addition to private teaching, he has taught at Marylhurst College, Portland Community College, Lewis & Clark College, University of Portland, University of Oregon, Reed College, and Portland State University and given numerous lecture demonstrations in Oregon public schools. He was one of the conceivers of and a founding board member of the highly regarded Kalakendra, Society for the Performing Arts of India.

Teaching is one of the most rewarding aspects of Rik's musical life. His most revered guruji, Pandit Pran Nath, while himself an outstanding performer, was primarily interested in preserving the ancient, yet vibrantly living, tradition of North Indian Raga. Rik strives to maintain his approach to the transmission of this great art and science. This is an oral tradition, taught one-on-one, according to the needs of each individual, as has been done for centuries. Studying this art students learn traditional melodies & rhythms, improvisation, voice culture, instrumental technique and contemplative sound practices. They also develop listening skills, memory, concentration, intonation and time.

"We follow Nada Yoga or the yoga of sound ... in which the performer can ... be completely transported to a state of ecstasy." Pandit Pran Nath