Princeton is famous for its diversity, culture, and academic organizations, however, there are still aspects of Princeton of which the general public may not be completely aware. There is a booming classical music scene which is nothing out of the ordinary for Princeton. However, it is also the home of one of the most well known Indian Classical performers and pedagogues in the United States.
Deepal Chodhari is an extremely well trained Indian classical musician. She is trained in the art of classical vocal technique and the Santoor(an ancient Indian instrument which gets its roots in the mountains of North India). She has been studying Indian Classical since the age of 5 and was brought up in a very musical family. Her parents were both musicians that supported her music study and nurtured her musicianship. At first, her main area of study was voice but after hearing the Santoor played live at the age of 18, she instantly knew that was the instrument to which she belonged. According to Ms. Chodhari, it was her true calling. She knew that the Santoor was the instrument that could truly express her entire being.
After pursuing Santoor for many years in India, she and her family immigrated to the United States where she was truly given the opportunities she needed to be a productive teacher and performer. Her love for music only grew as she performed and began to teach on a consistent basis. Ms. Chodhari received highest honors in many institutions in India and has also received the NJ Folk Art Apprenticeship Award.
Ms. Chodhari’s vast influence in Princeton is very apparent. Her students continually pass the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal examinations held in USA. She is still gaining students and teaches on a daily basis. Her love and passion for music is extremely clear in her playing and her teaching. Ms. Chodhari’s teaching philosophy is based on evoking passion and a love for the art rather than a rigorous step by step process. She still has goals as a musician and as a teacher and continues to work towards them everyday with a passionate spirit and a kind heart.
Indian classical music culture is very well and thrives in Princeton and the surrounding areas. It is no small part to Ms. Chodhari that this scene is still alive and continues to bring in new interest from all over the tri-state area. She is still an avid performer giving recitals multiple times a year where she improvises on ragas and classical Indian melodies and dances. Her Santoor playing is accompanied by tablas(Indian classical drums) and the duo of instruments work off of each other creating a unique and nebulous sound. Ms. Deepal Chodhari is open to taking new students and will continue to perform in the greater Princeton area for a long time to come.
For more information on Deepal Chodhari, please visit, www.100strings.com