Pta. Tripti Mukherjee
Pandit Jasraj Institute

In the early 1990s, whenever Guru Pandita Tripti Mukherjee and Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj ji traveled to the US for music concerts, music lovers used to call and request them to start a music school in the US. Although people in the US were able to attend music concerts, there was no way to learn vocal classical music.

After hearing numerous such requests, Pandit Jasraj ji and Pandita Tripti Mukherjee decided to start the classes dedicated to music in the US. In September 1995, Pandit Jasraj Music Academy opened its doors to students of music on an experimental basis in New Jersey. The main goal of the Academy was to introduce music lovers to the rich treasure of Indian classical music, with a focus on the Mewati tradition. The only requirement the students had to meet was that they should be seriously interested in music. Prior training in music was not necessary. To this date, the same requirement is in place for new students coming into the institute.

Initially the school was being run by different visiting faculty from India each rendering mentoring for four months. However within a year it became apparent that continuity of one Guru was essential to help the new students start on this musical odyssey and keep them motivated. At that point, in order to ensure smooth functioning of the school started in the name of her Guru, Pta. Tripti Mukherjee took over the responsibility of moving to the US on a full-time basis to further this cause. Taking up the challenge of establishing the school in a foreign land was her Guru Dakshina (tribute) to her Guru. It was indeed a pioneering effort.

During the period of 1995 through 1999, Pta. Triptiji used to conduct music classes at two locations; in New Jersey and in Pittsburgh. In 1999, several music lovers in the greater New York City area started requesting for a school New York. Considering the growing need as well as a deep commitment to music in the students, Pta. Triptiji, decided to put the experimental music academy on a firm footing. Thus, in 2000 "Pandit Jasraj School of Music Foundation (PJSMF)" was registered in the state of New York.

Between 2000 through the end of 2005, PJSMF activities flourished in several areas including the Annual Workshop, student concerts throughout the year as well as a publication entitled "JasRangi", devoted to music. A clear trend was emerging in the student population as well. Pandita Tripti Mukherjee saw a segment of the student population interested in musicology and research related to the theoretical foundation of Indian music. She also noticed a group of students showing promise towards becoming performing artists. Finally, a large segment of the student population has a keen interest in how to appreciate and understand the nuances in Indian music. Therefore, it was decided to re-organize PJSMF so that it would be able to meet the needs of all the students. In January 2006, the organization was named as the Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music for Research, Artistry and Appreciation - the Mewati Gurukul (PJIM). PJIM is a Not-for-Profit 501 (c)(3) organization.

The New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) awarded the Music Program Grant to PJIM for the year 2007-2008 and subsequently for a 2 year term from 2009 – 2011. During their audit they were happy to note that the institute was open to all, not just to a cultural subset of society and that world-class music was being imparted at this institute by the Gurus.

Today PJIM continues to further its mission of music education and enrichment with locations in New Jersey, New York and Pittsburgh, PA, under the guidance of Sangeed Martand Pandit Jasraj and Pandita Tripti Mukherjee. Both the faculty and students of PJIM continue to make a strong contribution to the society they live in, through public concerts and music workshops. Through music, PJIM has brought peace and harmony to the hearts of audiences throughout the United States.

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