Francesca Cassio is Professor of Music at Hofstra University (NY) and since 2011 holds the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology, the first of its kind in the Western Academia. PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Rome, in affiliation with the Benares Hindu University, since the early 1990’s Dr. Cassio has conducted extensive research in India, where she was trained in vocal music by Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar and Dr. Girija Devi. Senior disciple of Bhai Baldeep Singh, the 13th generation exponent of Gurbānī kirtan, Dr. Cassio specialized on the history and musicological analysis of the traditional Sikh repertoires.
Prior to serve Hofstra University, Cassio was lecturer of ethnomusicology and Indian music at the University of Trento and Conservatory of Vicenza (Italy). Recipient of a ICCR research grant, she has been also Visiting Professor at Viswa Bharati University (Shantiniketan). Author of a monograph on dhrupad (Percorsi della Voce. Storia e Tecniche Esecutive del Canto Dhrupad dell’India del Nord), her essays are published in edited volumes and international academic journals, and cover research areas in the field of South Asian music ranging from music history to pedagogy, music and gender, musics of underrepresented traditions, postcolonial and decolonial studies. In 2015, she was awarded the Stessin Prize for an outstanding scholarly publication with the article “Female Voices in Gurbani Sangit and the Role of the Media in Promoting Female Kirtanie”.