January 20, 2002
Jeffrey Lidke, Assistant Professor
South Asian Traditions
PO Box 5000
Annandale, NY 12504
RE: Letter of Evaluation for Shanti Shivani
I have worked with Shanti Shivani for about three years and have witnessed
her as both a performer and as a teacher. Shantis training in
the classical traditions of Indian Dhrupad is to my knowledge unparalleled
by any western exponent of the art. This training combined with her
exquisite voice enable her to sing with a beauty and power that unfailingly
transports audiences into very deep meditative states. Additionally
Shanti is one of the very few people in the world to receive instruction
in the practice of Nada Yoga, an ancient science that maximizes ones
capacity to sing through a very sophisticated understanding of the
relationship of the body to breath to the subtle energy centers. This
combination of classical vocal training combined with the esoteric
science of Nada Yoga makes Shanti a living treasure.
Last fall Shanti came to Bard College as the first Anna Jones Artist-in-Residence. She was on campus for one week. During this brief time she introduced students to Nada Yoga and taught them a very beautiful Dhrupad song in Raga Malkosh, which they then performed in concert that weekend. The fact that they could learn this material so quickly is a profound testimony to Shantis pedagogical skills a testimony that was resoundly confirmed in student evaluations that unanimously praised Shanti for her clarity, her depth of knowledge, her patience, and her profound love for her art. The week that Shanti spent at Bard College was in fact so successful that many of my students commented that her presence on campus was a, if not the, highlight of their semester.
Shanti is erudite and well-read in multiple areas of learning, particularly linguistics, comparative philosophy, and, of course, music. She is a clear, commanding, and confident speaker, quickly winning student respect. And, best of all, she is kind-hearted, loving and generous. She would make an excellent addition to any institution or community. I recommend her without the slightest reservation.