Nisha Joshi

Instructor of Sitar

Evans Music Center, MSC: 018

Dr. Joshi began her career in India, where she taught Indian classical music at the graduate level to university students, and performed Indian classical and folk music of Rajasthan on Delhi radio and television.

In 1984, Nisha moved to the United States, first to Oklahoma City, then later to Seattle in 1987. In 1990, she and her husband settled in Portland, Oregon where she established her music school, Swaranjali Academy of Indian Music. Over the past 50 years Nisha has educated hundreds of individuals (ages 5 - 70) in vocal, sitar, tabla, and harmonium. Genres include North Indian (Hindustani), classical music, semi-classical, ghazals, bhajans, patriotic, and film songs. She choreographed folk dances of Rajasthan, as well. Over the years, Nisha and her students have performed both classical and folk repertoire, as well as sitar at numerous community events, festivals and concerts. Throughout her career, she has promoted Indian classical music through lecture demonstrations at various universities in the Pacific Northwest.

In 1992, Dr. Joshi became a board member of Kalakendra: Society for the Performing Arts of India, an organization which consists of Indian music and dance enthusiasts of all backgrounds and cultures. She has been active as treasurer, and to this day is a part of the concert committee. In 1993, she began teaching undergraduate classes at both Lewis & Clark College and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, including vocal, harmonium, sitar, as well as tabla. At the end of each term, her Lewis & Clark College students performed at a concert showcasing the talent and progress of students of world music. Similarly, at Reed College, on certain Fridays at 4pm (“Friday Four”) world music students signed up to perform for their instructors and peers.

In 1995, Nisha was selected to participate in Jack Straw Productions’ Traditional Artist Support Program supported by the National Endowment for Arts, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Community Folk Arts Program, and Washington State’s King County Arts Commission. Through this program she was provided with a professional sound studio and engineers to record her folk music of Rajasthan. As a result, she was invited to perform with eight other Jack Straw project artists at the 1996 Seattle Folklife Festival, a festival drawing hundreds of thousands in attendance.

Dr. Joshi registered her school under the State of Oregon, and in 2005, Swaranjali Academy of Indian Music became affiliated with a university in India called Pracheen Kala Kendra, located in Chandigarh, Punjab. Since then, she has held vocal and instrumental examinations for her students. Each year, 20-25 students take theory and practical exams, completing up to a bachelor’s degree in music recognized by universities in India. In 2010, Nisha became a music examiner for The Raga Rajanji School of Music, located in Torrance, California. In July 2010, she held the first manch pravesh or full concert-length performance for a disciple, a requirement for the completion of the degree. For two hours, Miss Sanjana Rao performed solo vocal classical and light music, while playing tanpura, as Mr. Kishan Patel accompanied her on tabla, and Dr. Joshi supported on harmonium. Since then, about 10 to 15 other students have completed their manch pravesh.

In 2012, Nisha was awarded the Oregon Folklife Network Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program award where she taught my mentee, Shivani Joshi, traditional folk songs from Rajasthan, India. This concluded with numerous short performances by Shivani, including a full length stage performance at the Valley Catholic School in Beaverton, Oregon. The two-hour long vocal music was accompanied by musicians and educational visuals. In 2020, Nisha was re-awarded the apprenticeship fellowship, this time to teach traditional and rare Hindustani khayal genre compositions from her childhood. Her apprentice performed this artform at an outdoor venue at the University of Oregon.

In 2022, Dr. Joshi was awarded a COVID relief grant from the Oregon Arts Commission for a project to bring local North Indian Classical musicians together to present a Kathak classical dance program with live musicians. This program was hosted at the Lewis & Clark College Evans Auditorium, and, like other concerts, was free to the public.

Academic Credentials

1985 Doctor of Philosophy - North Indian Classical Music (Vocal) Delhi University, Delhi, India

1974 Master of Arts - North Indian Classical Music (Vocal) Delhi University, Delhi India

1973 Bachelor of Music - Indian Classical Music (Sitar) Gandharva Institute, India

1972 Bachelor of Arts - Vocal Music, Sociology, Political Science University of Jodhpur, India

1969 Bachelor of Music - Indian Classical Music (Vocal) Gandharva Institute, India