Michael Lukshis has dedicated his life to the study and growth of Indian classical tabla through performance, teaching, and community building. He is accomplished as a solo artist as well as in accompaniment to Indian classical dance and instrumental music. Over the last decade, Michael has performed in venues across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and India. In addition, he has taught hundreds of students of all ages and backgrounds as well as conducted assemblies, lectures, and master classes in schools and universities all over the United States.
From the very beginning, Michael has been trained exclusively under Pandit Divyang Vakil (fondly referred to as “Guruji”). A master of rhythm and composer who has spent his entire life in the pursuit of knowledge and music, Guruji is one of the foremost experts on tabla in the world.
Michael has had the rare opportunity to live in a Gurukal style setting for more than 10 years now where the student lives under constant guidance and supervision of their Guru to provide the most intimate training.
The community in which Michael has grown and for which he now a manager is called the Taalim School of Indian Music. Founded over 20 years ago under the mentorship of Guruji, Taalim's greatest contribution to the arts has been through providing education in tabla, kathak, guitar, keyboard, and drum set to thousands of students all over the NJ/NY area. In addition to this, Taalim has created several performing arts ensembles such as Pradhanica, Kathakaar, and Tabla Triveni, as well as produced concerts, summer camps, and fundraising events. Currently based out of Edison, NJ, Taalim continues to be a vibrant hub for Indian classical arts and artists.
Michael's experience in performing goes beyond tabla solo, kathak dance accompaniment, and Indian classical music accompaniment. He has also performed with many American based rock and pop bands as well as ensembles of Iranian, bluegrass, Western classical, jazz, Jewish, and other genres. His performances have brought him to prestigious venues including Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, State Theatre New Jersey, McCarter Theatre, and the NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.
pandit Divyang Vakil
Pandit Divyang Vakil (known as Guruji, or “respected teacher”) is a tabla and rhythm guru renowned for his teaching excellence. In his expansive teaching career of over 35 years, he has produced innumerable music professionals. After performing for many years with stalwarts of Indian classical music and dance, he gave up his performing career to dedicate himself to his teaching and spiritual commitments.
Pandit Vakil is not only a mentor but also sincere well-wisher of his students. With his knowledge of music and kinship with philosophy and spirituality, he teaches not only the practical aspects of tabla, but also the spiritual aspects of the art. He fully immerses himself in the process of teaching, understanding each of his students on a personal level as he guides them in their musical journey.
No compromise is permitted when it comes to the musical progression and advancement of the student. Balancing the traditional guru-shishya parampara with modern society, he has developed his own teaching pedagogy for tabla for today’s student and has expanded beyond tabla to teach the depths and secrets of rhythm to performers of other percussion instruments.
He draws on his formal training from great maestros of not one, but three gharanas: the late Pandit Sudhirkumar Saxena (Ajrada Gharana), the late Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan (Delhi Gharana) and the late Ustad Allarakha (Punjab Gharana) in his teaching, in addition to teaching own modern rendition of classical tabla and Indian rhythm concepts.