Rose Okada

-disciple of Pandit Pran Nath & Ustad Hafizullah Khan

Rose was born in Detroit, Michigan into a musical family and began her study of western classical music as a child. Beginning with the piano at age five, she added violin at age six and later the guitar at age twelve. From a young age, she played violin in a string quartet with her sisters. She performed in orchestras for over twenty years, including an eight-country European tour in 1974. Rose sang in performances at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in 1979 as a member of the Wayne State University Symphonic Choir along with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In 1977 she began performing in duos on classical guitar with flautists. She began teaching music in 1979 and in 1980 earned her degree in music with a major in classical guitar performance with violin as a secondary instrument. She participated in several auditioned guitar master classes with Manuel Lopez Ramos of the Segovia style. After 1980 Rose began her study of Talent Education, or the Suzuki Method, and studied violin and teacher training with Shigetoshi Yamada. She became a registered Suzuki Method teacher of violin and guitar in 1983. In the summer of 1986 she went to Matsumoto, Japan to study with the founder of the Suzuki Method, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. In 1988 Rose relocated to Portland, Oregon.

Rose at the guitarRose with baby XaarinRose began her study of Indian classical music in 1990 by taking a few introductory lessons with violin virtuoso, DR L. Subramaniam. She also studied Hindustani vocal with Nirmal Bajekal, a student of Prahba Atre. Rose traveled eight times to India for Hindustani music study from 1992 until 2001 and is planning a study trip in 2006. She studied Hindustani violin in Mumbai with D.K. Datar and began studying tabla in 1991. During 1994 and 95 she became a student of the great Ustad Zakir Hussain with tabla classes in Seattle. She also studied tabla with Pandit Samir Chatterjee and Hom Nath Upadhyaya of Nepal. In 1994 Rose began her study of the Kirana style vocal and sarangi, soon becoming disciples of both the vocal genius, Pandit Pran Nath and sarangi maestro, Ustad Hafizullah Khan. Khansahib was the son of the great vocalist, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan and Khalifa (hereditary head) of the Kirana Gharana. Ms. Okada accompanied Pandit Pran Nath on the sarangi in raga classes and performances in Portland, San Francisco, New York, Delhi, Bremen and in Paris. Rose has accompanied many other vocalists on the sarangi including Shrimati Karunamayee, Pandit Jagdish Mohan, Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, Terry Riley, Khalifa Samiullah Khan, Khansahib La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. She has also performed sarangi accompaniment for Bharata Natyam Dance and Kathak dance, and tabla solo sarangi lahara accompaniment for Pandit Samir Chatterjee and Bashir Khan of Pakistan. She also played with Hom Nath Upadhyaya and Arvind Moghe, both of whom studied with the great Ustad Thirakwa Khan.

Rose and her student, SupriyaOver the years, Rose has given many performances and school lecture demonstrations on the classical music of North India. She brought Ustad Hafizullah Khan to the United States three times, performing with him on sarangi and tambura in Portland OR, San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City. In 2002, after the passing of Khalifa Hafizullah Khan, Rose began studies with Khansahib La Monte Young, an American composer, singer and director of the Mela Foundation and the Kirana Center for Indian Classical Studies in New York City. Rose also continues studying raga, singing with Ustad Mashkoor Ali Khan, his brother Ustad Mubarak Ali Khan, and the American composer/pianist and Hindustani vocalist, Terry Riley and the vocalist, John Constant. In 2003, Rose became a board member of Kalakendra Society for the Performing Arts of India. Kirana West of Portland Oregon was founded on the inspiration of Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Pran Nath and Ustad Hafizullah Khan, with the goal of continuing their work through performances and a music school. Rose also has a great interest in the continuation of the art of sarangi playing and in sharing this beautiful instrument with the West. She teaches sarangi in Portland and New York, and is working on a method book based on her studies with Hafizullah Khansahib.

Currently Rose is a freelance musician and the director of the Fir Grove School for Strings and Kirana West, teaching over 50 students on Suzuki method guitar, violin, piano, and Kirana Gharana sarangi, voice and tabla. Rose teaches Indian Classical music at Marylhurst University and served as a board member of Kalakendra for 5 years. Rose has been studying the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony since 1999 and in 2002 began trumpet.

Rose Okada biography © Rose Okada 2005. All Rights Reserved.