Hans Utter is multi-instrumentalist, ethnomusicologist, and dedicated educator. Since 1993, he has studied sitar and tabla with India’s top musicians, including Ustad Shujaat Khan. He holds a diploma in sitar from the Benares Hindu University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from The Ohio State University. In his music, he aims to communicate the depth and beauty of North Indian music through the sitar and to illuminate the varied world of Indian art, culture, and history.
In addition to the sitar, his research as an ethnomusicologist has led him into music of the Middle East and Central Asia. He has taught music at The Ohio State University, the Indira Gandhi National Open University, and Capital University. Hans has offered lectures, workshops and performance at many institutions, including Indiana University, Ohio Northern University, and Harvard University.
Performing throughout world, including the United States, India, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Europe, he is the recipient of sixteen national and international awards and grants, including the Louis Armstrong Outstanding Musician award. His compositions and performances have been featured on National Public Radio, ABC, the Discovery Channel, Tajik National Radio, and many Indian television networks. He has performed several times for the United Nations, the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Jazz and Ribs Fest, and the Columbus Arts Festival. Hans has performed and recorded with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Jim Hall, John Abercrombie, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Latif Bolat, Dr. Israel, REO Speedwagon, Kalyan Pathak, Ravish Mohan, Steve Gorn, George Sawa, Shujjat Khan, Hidayat Khan, Sufiyana, and Moussa Dieng Kala.
Hans also works in in music production, film, and sound engineering, and works professionally as a guitarist in jazz and RnB styles.
As a teaching artist, he has worked in a variety of settings, from public schools to senior centers, universities to local public libraries, and has always striven to present the most relevant and potentially inspiring material for each audience. He currently has private music students, ranging from age 3 to late 50’s, and is comfortable with all age ranges and musical abilities. He believes that teaching—sharing and communicating with the larger community—is a central component of his life as a performing and teaching artist. Teaching situations facilitate the potential for a direct impact on the student’s lives, by expanding their horizons, improving individual skill levels, increasing confidence, and facilitating general cognitive abilities. His work as a researcher with the AIRS project (Advancing Interdisciplinary Research on Singing) exposed Hans to the many benefits that music can provide, ranging from improving the prospects of Alzheimer’s patients, to increasing community cohesion and acceptance of other cultures through music participation and performance (e.g. multicultural choirs). Hans believes that artists can have a significant role in educational settings, first by opening up creative abilities and potentials of students, and second through integrating artistic processes and projects into the general educational objectives. Creative exploration allows for different modes of understanding, and can be especially valuable for students who find traditional learning systems more challenging. For Hans, the arts are an important factor for well-balanced communities and societies in general, and artists working within educational settings can have an important residual impact.
His goal is to share traditional Indian performing art forms and culture to students of all ages and background, and awaken a passion for creativity and self-expression in students. He involves participants directly in the music through age-appropriate stories, movements, singing, and games. Hands-on and active learning provide all students the opportunity for creativity, whether through musical instruments they are currently studying, learning new musical skills, through movement, recitation, or writing. Gaining confidence in creativity allows students and other participants to explore, express, and gain new ways of understanding. Hans aims to customize his residencies for the particular needs of a school or community and is comfortable with any age group.
Grade Levels/Age Groups
- Grades 1-3
- Grades 4-5
- Grades 6-8
- Grades 9-12
- Young Adult
Facilities and Resources Required
- Audio System
- Electrical Outlets
- Performance Space
- I can provide sound equipment and a performance stage if required