– Dr. Francesca Cassio is the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology, and Associate Professor of Music at Hofstra University, New York.
Scholar and singer with expertise in Indian music, Dr. Cassio is trained in both the Western and Indian music cultures. Her work combines the theoretical and practical aspects of music as well as Western and Asian approaches. She has lectured, performed in concerts and made recordings in India, America and Europe.
Dr. Cassio earned her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Università La Sapienza di Roma (Italy), in affiliation with Benares Hindu University (India) under the tutorage of Prof. Giovanni Giuriati and Prof. Ritwik Sanyal.
Since 1991, Dr. Cassio has conducted extensive research in India, where she lived and has been professionally trained in classical vocal music and in the Sikh repertoire, according to the guru-shishya parampara system.
Dr. Cassio is a senior disciple of legendary masters of the 20th century: Padma Bhushan Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar and Padma Bhushan Vidushi Girija Devi. Dr. Cassio also received extensive training in vocal and percussion tradition by Bhai Baldeep Singh, the 13th generation exponent of Gurbānī kīrtan.
Prior to joining the Hofstra faculty, she served as a visiting professor in musicology at Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan, India; lecturer of ethnomusicology at the University of Trento, Italy; lecturer of anthropology of music at the Conservatory of Adria, Italy; and lecturer of ethnomusicology and Indian music at the Vicenza Conservatory of Music, Italy.
Dr. Cassio has lectured and performed in North America, Europe and India.
Author of a book on dhrupad (Percorsi della voce, Ut Orpheus, Bologna 2000), Dr. Cassio, in more than twenty years of research, has worked extensively and written about Indian music (Gurbānī kīrtan, Dhrupad, Rabindra Sangīt, Thumrī), the yoga of sound, gender studies, intercultural education, ethnomusicology and music pedagogy.
In 2015, Dr. Cassio has been awarded the Stessin Prize by Hosftra University for outstanding scholarly publication, with the article “Female Voices in Gurbānī Sangīt and the Role of the Media in promoting Female Kīrtanie” (Sikh Formations, August 2014).