Curriculum Vitae


Associate Professor of Music

Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology

New Academic Building, 102

Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 11549

(516) 463-5533



Ph.D. Ethnomusicology, 2004, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ (Italy) in affiliation with Benares Hindu University (India). Title of the dissertation: “Il Canto Danzato delle Baiji. Based on four years of fieldwork in India, this dissertation is an original research on gender studies in Indian vocal music, with particular reference to the thumri tradition and the distinguished use of gesture in the performance of female repertoires.

M.A. Ethnomusicology summa cum laude, 1996, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ (Italy). Title of the dissertation: “Il Canto Dhrupad”, an original contribution focussing on the history and the vocal techniques of dhrupad singing, a genre of medieval music from North India. Published in 2000 by Ut Orpheus, with the title “Percorsi della voce. Storia e tecniche esecutive del canto dhrupad nella musica classica dell’India del nord”, the volume is a textbook in use in Italian Universities and Conservatoires.

Graduated in classic studies (Greek and Latin), 1988, Liceo Platone of Rome (Italy).



Musical training


Indian music:

Dr. Cassio has been professionally trained in Indian music according the traditional system of education Guru-Shishya Parampara (the one to one relation between master and disciple). Dr. Cassio is disciple of legendary musicians of the twentieth century.


Sikh Gurbani Kirtan (1994-present), under the guidance of:

Hazuri Ragi Bhai Gurcharan Singh Ragi and Bhai Baldeep Singh (New Delhi, India)


Dhrupad singing (1994 -2010) under the guidance of:

Padmabhushan Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Khan Dagar (New Delhi, India)

Prof. Ritwik Sanyal (Benares Hindu University, India)


Thumri singing (2002-2009) under the guidance of:

Padmabhushan Smt Girija Devi (Benares and Kolkata, India)

Smt. Saira Begum (Benares, India)


Rabindra Sangit (2007-2009) trained by:

Smt. Pramita Mallik, Dr. Reba Som and Pandit Sitamshu Roy (Kolkata, India)


Western music:

Opera (1990-1994) with M° Timothy Martin (Rome, Italy)

Vocal Jazz (1987-1990) with M° Lee Colbert (Rome, Italy)

Piano (1974-1979) with M° Luigia Cassio (Rome, Italy)



Italian (mother tongue), English, Punjabi, Gurumukhi, Hindi, Sanskrit, Latin and Greek.





Present position:

Associate Professor of Music at Hofstra University (NY, USA), 2011- Present.

Dr. Cassio teaches a 3-credit Music Around The World course (MUS 004) for undergraduates. It’s the first cross-cultural course of its kind at Hofstra University, and the aim is to develop an appreciation for musical repertoires from different cultures, in relation to the native contexts and the meaning of the performance.


Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology at Hofstra University (NY, USA), 2011- Present.

This is the first academic position in the West dedicated to promoting research and analysis of the Sikh musical tradition. Over the past four years, Dr. Cassio taught Sikh Musicology as a 3-credit special topic class (MUS 180 A), as 3-credit graduate class (MUS 251), and as 3-credit distribution class (MUS 17).

(Sikh musicology website:


At Hofstra Dr. Cassio also teaches the following classes: Indian Music Ensemble (MUS 20), Independent Study (MUS 151), Honors Options, and Music for the World’s Children (SED 122).


Past positions:

LECTURER of Ethnomusicology at University of Trento (Italy)

Academic years: 2005-2006; 2006-2007;   2007-2008; 2008-2009.

Dr. Cassio gave full courses in Ethnomusicology, and has been the tutor for degree dissertations.


LECTURER at Vicenza Conservatory (Italy) for the Degree Course of Indian Music (B.A. and M.A.)

In nine years, Dr. Cassio taught the following courses:


  • Ethnomusicology (A. course) in the academic years: 2001-2002; 2002-2003; 2004-2004; 2004-2005; 2005-2006; 2006-2007; 2007-2008; 2008-2009; 2009-2010


  • Indian vocal music (A. course) in the academic years: 2002-2003; 2004-2004; 2004-2005; 2005-2006; 2006-2007; 2007-2008; 2008-2009


  • Raga analysis (A. course) in the academic years: 2002-2003; 2004-2004; 2004-2005;


  • Indian vocal music (A. course): 2005-2006; 2006-2007; 2007-2008; 2008-2009


At Vicenza Conservatory, Dr. Cassio developed the teaching of the theoretical and practical aspects of Indian music. She gave vocal training to beginners and senior students of the Course, as well as theoretical classes in musical analysis and Ethnomusicology, oriented to Indian Music. Dr. Cassio has been the tutor for several degree thesis on Indian music.


LECTURER of Anthropology of Music at the Conservatory of Adria (Italy)

A. course, in the academic years: 2007-2008; 2008-2009; 2009-2010

A Master course in the Anthropology of Music, concerning the history of the discipline, and methodology of research and analysis. At the Conservatory of Adria, Dr. Cassio served as tutor for M.A. degree thesis in anthropology of music.


VISITING PROFESSOR in Ethnomusicology at Viswa Bharati University (Shantiniketan, India) Spring 2008; Spring 2009.




CASSIO FRANCESCA, Percorsi della voce. Storia e tecniche esecutive del canto dhrupad nella musica classica dell’India del nord, Bologna, Ut Orpheus edizioni, 2000.

CASSIO FRANCESCA, Gurbānī Sangīt: the Sikh Musical Tradition. (Work in progress).



Book chapters:

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2015. Gurbānī Sangīt: Authenticity and Influences. A study of the Sikh Musical Tradition in Relation to Medieval and Early Modern Indian Music. In “Encountering Sikh Texts, Practices and Performances: Essays in Honour of Professor Christopher Shackle.” Edited by Mandair Arvind-Pal and Singh Pashaura, 20-60. London: Routledge.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2011. Il nada yoga: la scienza del suono nella tradizione musicale indiana, in Conscientia musica: Contrappunti per Rossana Dalmonte e Mario Baroni, edited by Annarita Addessi, Ignazio Macchiarella, Massimo Privitera and Marco Russo, 265–78. Lucca: LIM

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2002. La musica classica indostana come esempio di integrazione tra la cultura hindu e quella musulmana, in “Fedi e Culture oltre il Dio di Abramo”, edited by Giovanni D’Erme, 45-61. Matera: Fondazione Carlo Levi.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2002. La musica classica indiana: mutamenti nella produzione e nella fruizione dopo il 1947, in “Il Subcontinente Indiano verso il Terzo Millennio”, edited by E. Basile, M. Torri, 534-539. Milano: Franco Angeli.


Book chapters and articles under contract:

 CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2016. The Influence of Dhrupad and Gurubani Kirtan in Tagore’s Songs. Amritsar: Guru Nanak Dev University.

 CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2016. Singing poems. In Rabindranath Tagore: Poemes Chantes. Edited by Bonessi Ugo and Prayer, Mario. Lausanne: F.I.N.D


Articles (refereed):


CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2014. Female Voices in Gurbānī Sangīt and the Role of the Media in Promoting Female Kīrtanīe. Ed. Balbinder Bhogal. Sikh Formations, Vol 10, N. 2: 233-270. London: Routledge.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2011. The Music of the Sikh Gurūs’ Tradition in a Western Context. Cross-Cultural Pedagogy and Research. Ed. Balbinder Bhogal, Sikh Formations, Vol. 7, No. 3: 313–337. London: Routledge.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2010. Saira Begum and the Court Tradition in North India. Les Colloques d’Ambronay. Lyon: Ambronay Press.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2005. La tradition vocale fèminine en Inde du Nord. Cahier de Musiques Traditionelles 18. Geneve: Atelier d’Ethnomusicologie

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2005. In memoria di Alain Danielou, India, Journal of the Indian Embassy in Italy, vol. 1. Rome: Indian Embassy.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 1999. Nuova Delhi: la musica classica indiana fra tradizione e innovazione, (India, Journal of the Indian Embassy in Italy, vol.1). Rome: Indian Embassy.


CASSIO FRANCESCA. 1998. Le incantevoli melodie del sitar di Ravi Shankar. India, Journal of the Indian Embassy in Italy, vol. 2. Rome: Indian Embassy.


Articles (not refereed):

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2015. Notes of Intolerance. The Sunday Tribune Spectrum, September 13th. Chandigarh: The Tribune.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2012. Life at the pace of dhrupad.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2011. His Life a Hymn. A Tribute to Ustad R. Fahimuddin Dagar. The Tribune of Chandigarh, August 5th. Chandigarh: The Tribune

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2002. An Italian Raga. I for Italy, Italian Embassy Journal, Year VIII, n.1. New Delhi: Italian Embassy.


CD liner notes:

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2009. Tagore’s Songs of Love and Destiny. The Danielou Collection, Vol. I and II. Kolkata: Viswa Bharati University/Questz World.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2009. Songs from the Benares Tradition. 2009. Kolkata: Questz World.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2008. Oceans of Colours. London: Navras Records.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2004. Tagore: Selected Songs. 2004. Rome: III Millennio.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2003. The Dhrupad of the Dagarbani. Rome: III Millennio.



Encyclopedia Entries:

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2004. Musica Indiana, (Le muse: grande dizionario critico di arti visive, letteratura, musica e teatro – Dictionary of Music). Novara: De Agostini.



 CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2010. Tagore’s Songs of Love and Destiny. The Anthology Collection. Kolkata: Questz World.

CASSIO FRANCESCA. 2009. Tagore’s Songs of Love and Destiny, The Danielou Collection, Vol. I and II, 2009. Kolkata: Viswa Bharati University/Questz World.

LUIS BACALOV. 2007. The Calcutta Mass. (For voice and orchestra). Rome: Mondo Tv

TAFFETAS. 2004. Taffetas. London: Most Records

PAOLO VIVALDI. 2002. I Canti dell’Orlando Furioso. (With chamber orchestra). Rome: Terzo Millennio

PAOLO VIVALDI. 2000. Sacred Moments. Rome: Primrose Music.





Conferences and lectures:

04/07/2016. One-day Conference on Women and Sacred Music, organized by IRCPL, Columbia University (New York) USA. Title of the paper: “ The Female Tradition of Gurbani Kirtan”.

03/04/2016. “Gurbānī kīrtan: a distinctive genre of Sikh music, at the crossroads of the Hindu and Muslim traditions. Lecture and concert, South Asian Music Conference, Harvard University, Boston (USA). 

02/26/2016. “The Music and Poetics of Devotion in the Jain and Sikh Traditions” Conference. Title of the paper: “The sonic pilgrimage in the Sikh tradition”. LMU, Los Angeles (USA).

10/19/2015. Parliament of the World’s Religions. Title of the paper “Is performing kirtan a ‘gendered’ profession?” Salt Lake City (USA).

07/31/2015. Keynote Lecture at the Jashan conference, in honour of Bhai Sahib Bhai Gurcharan Singh. Habitat Centre, New Delhi (India).

07/27/2015. Keynote Lecture at the Dagar Archive conference, in honour of Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar. Dagar Archives. Habitat Centre, New Delhi (India).

07/16/2015. ICTM Conference. Title of the paper: “Carry me across the world-ocean. The role of Kirtan in the Sikh spiritual journey and diaspora”, Astana (Kazakhstan).

10/10/2014. Keynote lecture on Women in Indian Music. Women’s Voices Festival, S. Peter’s Church, New York City (USA).

08/22/2013. Lecture on The influence of Gurbani sangit on the music and poetry of Rabindranath Tagore. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (India).

 08/08 2013. Lecture on Gurbani Dhrupad. Benares Hindu University, Varanasi (India).

10/05/2013. Third International Conference on Sikhisms. Title of the Paper :Gurbānī Sangīt: Authenticity and Influences A study of the Sikh Gurūs’ tradition in relation to other genres of Indian music. Riverside, University of California (USA).

10/21/2012. International Conference on Sikhi (sm). Title of the paper: “Female voices in Gurbānī Sangīt and the Role of the Media in Promoting Female Kīrtaniyas”. Hofstra University, NY (USA).

03/31/2012. British Forum for Ethnomusicology. Title of the paper: “Sacred words in sonic shapes. Interactions in the performance of the holy hymns at the Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar”. University of Durham (U K).

01/13/2012. Bhai Vir Singh Music Academy. Lecture demonstration. Amritsar (INDIA).

10/15/2010. Lecture on Indian and Western music. Mumbai University (INDIA).

05/22/2010. “The Hermeneutics of Sikh Music and Word”. Title of the paper: “Teaching the Sikh Gurus’ music tradition in the Western academic context”. Hofstra University, NY (USA).

09/22/2009. European Seminar in Ethnomusicology. Title of the paper: “The singer and the gesture”. Open University, Cambridge (U K).

03/6/2009. Seminar on Indian Music and Globalization. Title of the paper “Indian and Western classical music: differences and similarities”. Delhi University, New Delhi, (INDIA).

January-March 2009. Series of lectures and conferences at Viswa Bharati University as Visiting Professor in Musicology, Kolkata (INDIA).

03/09/2008. International conference on Tagore. Title of the paper: “Eighteen Tagore’s songs in the transcription of Alain Danielou”. India International Centre, New Delhi (INDIA).

11/09/2008. International conference on India and the West. Title of the paper: “Alain Danielou and Rabindranath Tagore”. University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

10/03/2008. International conference on Gender studies in Indian music, Le Femme et l’Interdit. Title of the paper: The Benares female tradition. Les Colloques de Ambronay, Lyon (FRANCE).

06/21/2004. Lecture, Introduction to Indian Music. Istituto Italiano di Cultura. New Delhi (INDIA).

12/28/2002. Lecture on: Ethnomusicology and Indian music. University of Tanjavur (INDIA).

09/08/2001. European Seminar in Ethnomusicology. Title of the paper: Dhrupad of the Dagar bani. University of Oslo (NORWAY).

01/20/1998. European Seminar in Ethnomusicology, title of the paper: Vocal techniques in the Dagar bani. Istituto Interculturale di Studi Musicali, University of Venice (ITALY).



Radio and TV shows, interviews


PTC (Punjabi Television Channel), interview on Women in the Sikh Kirtan Tradition. (NYC, 10/10/2014).

Radio Vaticana. Radio Show on Indian Music (broadcasted in 4 parts). October- November 2012 (NY-Rome)

WRHU, Radio Hofstra University. World Music Radio Show (with the participation of Hofstra students). Sept. 6th 2012 (Hempstead, NY)

WRHU, Radio Hofstra University. Interview, November 2011 (Hempstead, NY).

Radio Vaticana. Interview. March 2010 (Rome).

RAI Italian National Radio 3rd channel. La musica dell’India. Radio Show, April 2007 (Rome).

The Netherland National Radio. Interview, May 2005 (Amsterdam).

Radio Vaticana. An Approach to Indian Music’. Radio show. May 2004 (Rome)

RAI Italian National Radio 2nd channel. Interview. April 2003 (Rome).

Indian National Television (DD1). TV interview and recital, December 2002 (New Delhi).




Held in Italy, France, United Kingdom, India, Bangladesh and United States of America (2004 – 2016):

04/07/2016. IRCPL, Columbia University (New York) USA.

03/04/ 2016. South Asia Music Conference. Harvard University (Boston , MA) USA.

02/26/2016. Jain and Sikh Music Conference. LMU, Los Angeles (USA).

01/18/2015. Fresno Gurdwara (CA) USA

04/13/2014. Vaisakhi Kirtan at Glen Cove Gurdwara (NY) USA

04/13/2014. Vaisakhi Kirtan at Hicksville Gurdwara (NY) USA

04/09/ 2014. The Words of my Beloved. Hofstra University (NY) USA

04/08/ 2014. Kirtan at the Guru Nanak Award, Garden City (NY) USA

08/21/2013. Kirtan at Sultan Pur Lodhi Qila. Amritsar, INDIA

 04/15/2012. Mata Sahib Gurdwara. Gurbani kirtan. Glen Cove (NY), USA

01/16/2012. Sri Atal Baba Gurdwara. Gurbani kirtan. Amritsar, INDIA

05/20/2011 Teatro dell’Orologio. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). Sponsored by the Embassy of India and the Embassy of Bangladesh in Rome. Rome, ITALY

 11/21/2010 Guru Purab Celebrations. Gurbani kirtan. Jodhpur, INDIA

10/24/2010 RIFF Festival at Meherangarh Fort, vocal recital with musicians from the Thar Desert. Jodhpur, INDIA

10/21/2010 Music Festival, Indian Institute of Technology. Dhrupad recital with Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma on pakhawaj. New Delhi, INDIA

10/16/2010 Mumbai University. Vocal recital in collaboration with Italian Institute of Culture. Mumbai, INDIA

08/13/2010 Sagar Haveli. Vocal recital with Dilshad Khan sarangi, Ustad Rashul Khan on tabla. Jodhpur, INDIA

06/17/2010 Teatro Comunale. Vocal recital with Pandit Mohan Shyam Sharma on pakhawaj. Adria, ITALY

05/21/2010 Hofstra University. Gurbani kirtan with Parminder Singh (pakhawaj). New York, USA

03/06/2010 Centro Yoga Naad. Gurbani kirtan with Siri Ram Kaur on pakhawaj. Rome, ITALY

12/29/2009 Italian Embassy. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). Dhaka, BANGLADESH

12/27/2009 Satyagit Roy Auditorium. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). In collaboration with Italian Embassy in India. Kolkata, INDIA

12/24/2009 Mood Indigo Festival. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). In collaboration with Italian Embassy in India recital with Ugo Bonessi on piano. Mumbai, INDIA

12/22/ 2009 India International Centre. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). In collaboration with Italian Embassy in India recital with Ugo Bonessi on piano. New Delhi, INDIA

10/31/2009 and 01/ 09/2009 Teatro l’Orangerie. “Il concerto cantato” recital for voice, cello and piano. Rome, ITALY

08/08/2009 I Canti dell’Orlando Furioso, recital for voice, tanpura, cello and piano. Isola di Salina, ITALY

07/17/2009 Teatro Fidia. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). Citta della Pieve, ITALY

22/04/2009 Spazio Archeologico, solo performance Indian classical music with Pepe Fiore (tabla). Trento, ITALY

03/06/2009 Delhi University, East and West Music Conference, Dhrupad recital with Pandit Dal Chand Sharma (pakhawaj). New Delhi, INDIA

19/02/2009 Tagore Centre. Recital “Dhrupad roots of Rabindra Sangit”, with Smt. Kaveri Kar. Sponsored by Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Kolkata, INDIA

10/03/2009 Festival of Early Music. Vocal recital with Smt. Saira Begum. Lyon, FRANCE

08/23/2008 Tagore Centre. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). Kolkata, INDIA

08/19/2008 India International Centre. “Tagore’s Songs of Love”, recital with Ugo Bonessi (piano). In collaboration with Italian Embassy in India recital with Ugo Bonessi on piano. New Delhi, INDIA

03/09/ 2008 India International Centre. “Tagore Festival”, vocal recital. New Delhi, INDIA

18/02/2008 Conservatorio. Recital Indian classical music, with Federico Sanesi (tabla). Vicenza, ITALY

11/01/2007 Teatro Donizetti, Opera di Amore e Destino. Bergamo, ITALY

10/25/2007 Fondazione Cini. Dhrupad Recital with Federico Sanesi (pakhawaj). Broadcasted on RADIO 3. Venice, ITALY

07/24/2007 Acquedotto Romano. Gurbani dhrupad recital. Rome, ITALY

01/02/2006 Teatro Carlo Felice. Opera dei Magi, vocal recital with string quartet. Genova, ITALY

11/04/2005 English National Opera. Voxygen (opera composed by Talvin Singh for 5 singers and tabla). London, UK

06/21/2004 International Music Festival. Dhrupad solo performance, Italian Institute of Culture New Delhi, INDIA



In more than twenty years of research in India, Dr. Cassio focussed her fieldwork on the following topics:

  • Gurbani Sangit, the religious repertoire of the Sikh community (North West India);
  • Dhrupad, the medieval genre of North Indian classical music;
  • Nada yoga, the yoga of sound;
  • Semi-classical repertoires, with particular reference to thumri, and folk music from the Benares region;
  • Rabindra Sangit, the music of Rabindranath Tagore and the folk music of West Bengal;
  • Folk repertoires of the nomadic tribes from the Thar desert (West Rajasthan).



Faculty Research and Development Grants (FRDG) Hofstra University. In the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 Dr. Cassio received the Faculty Research Grant that will allowed her to continue her research project in India. The ethnographic research focuses on the study of the authentic Sikh music tradition, collecting interviews and documentation from the oldest living masters. The audio and video materials constitute the Sikh Musicology Chair’s Archive. Among other topics of recent research: the role of women in the Gurbani kirtan tradition, and the influence of Gurbani Sangit on other genres of Indian music (see publications).

ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) Orientation Grant was received in 2008 for research on the influence of Dhrupad and Gurbani Kirtan on the music of Rabindranath Tagore. This research took place in Kolkata, and at Viswa Bharati University (West Bengal, India).

Universita’ La Sapienza (Rome, Italy). Grant for PhD research on female performers in Hindustani Music (2000 -2004)


Ministry of Foreign Affair (Italy). Grant for research on female performers in the Hindu temple tradition (2001). Project leaders: Prof. Giovanni Giuriati and Prof. Romano Mastromattei.


Research projects


Gurbani Sangit (North India, 1994-present)

The research and fieldwork on Sikh music started in 1994, as part of the degree dissertation in Ethnomusicology. Dr. Cassio’s work focused on the analysis of Gurbani Sangit as a distinctive genre of Indian music, and her bi-musicality (education in Western and Indian traditions) enabled her to study the Sikh repertoire from both these perspectives, with a multidisciplinary approach that incorporated musicology with semiology of music and anthropology. Dr. Cassio has been carrying out her fieldwork among the Sikh communities in northern India and abroad, working extensively on musical pedagogy, musical genres in past and contemporary Gurbani traditions, and gender studies in relation to kirtan performance. In the Fall 2011, Dr. Cassio was appointed to Associate Professor and to the Chair in Sikh Musicology at Hofstra University, New York. The purpose of the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair is to place Gurbani Sangit into the field of international musicology, analysing all of its aspects through contemporary methodologies of research and analysis. This innovative approach will not only facilitate the understanding of Gurbani Sangit among Western students and scholars, but will also cast a light on the contribution of the Sikh religious minority to Indian music and culture.


Folk music and dance from the Thar Desert (West Rajasthan, India, 2010)

In 2010, Dr. Cassio spent a year in the Thar desert in Western Rajasthan (India), serving as artistic director of a local cultural centre. During her stay, she worked with artists from native nomadic tribes, such as the Kalbelya, Manganiar, Langa and Bhopa, documenting their traditional music and dance repertoires. Dr. Cassio’s research was especially focused on folk ragas that are also performed in the neighbouring Sikh tradition, exploring the musical connections between the two areas.


The influence of dhrupad and Sikh Gurbani kirtan on Tagore’s compositional style

(West Bengal, India, 2008-2009)

This project was undertaken in collaboration with Visva Bharati University of Shantiniketan and the ICCR Tagore Centre of Kolkata (West Bengal, India). The purpose of the research was to identify the influence of classical and religious traditions (such as dhrupad and the Sikh kirtan repertoires) on the music of the Indian poet and composer Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel Prize in 1913). The project was sponsored by the ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations).


The Danielou Collection of Tagore’s Songs (India-Switzerland, 2007-2009).

In 2007, on behalf of the Harsharan Foundation, Dr. Cassio was in charge of recording and performing the entire collection of eighteen songs of the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. In the 1930’s, these songs had been transcribed for voice and piano in the form of Western lieder by the French musicologist Alain Danielou and, since then, never performed. The project of recording Tagore’s Songs, in this arrangement by Alain Danielou for voice and piano, was launched in India in 2007, and the recording of the full collection was completed in 2010, with the publication of three CDs under the patronage of Visva Bharati University (West Bengal, India) and the Harsharan Foundation (Lausanne, Switzerland).


Female singers in Hindustani music (North India, 2000-2004)

The research on female singers in Hindustani music took place in India between 2000 and 2004. During her fieldwork, Dr. Cassio travelled throughout India – from Tamil Nadu to Uttar Pradesh – interviewing most of the contemporary female performers. Due to the importance of the Benares tradition of thumri, Dr. Cassio decided to focus on the ‘City of Light’, where she lived for five years. Her PhD research was sponsored by the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza” under the tutorage of Prof. Giovanni Giuriati, in affiliation with Benares Hindu University, under the guidance of Prof. Ritwik Sanyal. During those years, Dr. Cassio had the privilege to become a disciple of the legendary singer Padmabhushan Srimati Girija Devi, considered the most influential thumri performer of the 20th century.


Dance and vocal repertories in the Hindu culture (South India, 2000-2001)

On behalf of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affair, in 2000, Dr. Cassio was in charge of the documentation of the dance and vocal repertories practiced in the Hindu temples of southern India. This research was part of a broader project led by Prof. Giovanni Giuriati and Prof. Romano Mastromattei, with the intent of mapping the religious music and dance traditions of South East Asia.


Dhrupad: the medieval music tradition of North India (North India, 1992-1999)

From 1992 onwards, Dr. Cassio has engaged in extensive research on dhrupad, a medieval genre of Indian vocal music. Dhrupad is one of the most authentic expressions of northern Indian classical music, particularly with regard to the performance of the rags (melodies) and the vocal techniques connected with the Yoga of Sound (Nada Yoga). Under the tutorage of Prof. Giovanni Giuriati, to this topic Dr. Cassio dedicated her dissertation and degree in Ethnomusicology at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, doing fieldwork between 1992 and 1999 among the Dhrupad community of singers in India and abroad. Her dissertation was published in 2000 by Ut Orpheus, and that volume is now in use in the University of Rome, and at the Conservatory of Vicenza (Italy).


DIRECTOR of CRN (March 2010–February 2011). Dr. Cassio was the first director of CRN, a cultural institution based in Jodhpur (West Rajasthan, India), founded with the intent of documenting and promoting traditional folk music of Rajasthan.

DIRECTOR of the Sangeet Mela, International Festival of Indian Music. Held on May 2003 and May 2004. Rome Auditorium (in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Indian Embassy, Rome).



– Saira Begum, Songs from the Benares Courtesan Tradition. 2009. Kolkata: Questz World

 – Francesca Cassio – Ugo Bonessi, Tagore’s Songs of Love and Destiny. The Danielou Collection, Vol. I and II. 2009. Kolkata: Viswa Bharati University/Questz World

 – Ustad Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar, The Dhrupad of the Dagar Bani. 2003. Rome: III Millennio Edizioni

– Reba Som, Tagore: Selected Songs. 2004. Kolkata: Saregama.


SERVICES at Hofstra University

Standard and Review Committee (2013- present), Chair (2015-present).

Member of the Music Department DPC (2013-present).

Curator of the first World Music Festival at Hofstra University (2014-present).

Curator of the first World Music Radio Show, on terrestrial (WRHU) and HOFSTRA on-line radio (Required Radio) 2012-2013.





External Referee for ANVUR (the Italian National Agency for Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes) 2012-present.



ESEM (European Seminar in Ethnomusicology)                                           2001- present

BFE (British Forum for Ethnomusicology)                                                     2009- present

SEM (American Society for Ethnomusicology)                                               2012- present

Editorial Board of India, Journal of the Indian Embassy in Italy            1997-2007



STESSIN PRIZE 2015 (from Hofstra University), for Outstanding Scholarly Publication, with the article titled: “Female Voices in Gurbānī Sangīt and the Role of the Media in Promoting Female Kīrtanīe”. Ed. Balbinder Bhogal. Sikh Formations, Vol 10, N. 2: 233-270. London: Routledge.