The Yoga Society of San Francisco is happy to announce the launch of a new teaching partnership with The Ali Akbar College of Music to offer North Indian classical music courses in the Mission District.

AACM instructors will be offering weekly beginning-level courses on tabla, voice, sitar, sarod, and mixed instruments (non-Indian instruments are welcome!).

The new courses will operate within YSSF’s Academy of East-West Unity, which is a multidisciplinary arm of the Yoga Society, promoting the study of traditional arts as tools for introspective personal growth.

Among the classical music traditions of the world, North Indian classical music is one of the heavyweights. Its highly sophisticated and detailed structure dates back several millennia, yet within its modern practice, it allows generous freedom for improvisation as well.

One of this tradition’s most legendary musicians was sarod player Ali Akbar Khan. He founded the AACM and toured the world for more than 70 years as one of the most celebrated performers of Indian classical music, and one of its main ambassadors to the western world. In his 40+ years teaching at the AACM, Khan taught that Indian classical music is not for entertainment, but is instead a path for personal growth, and a means of connecting with some of the deepest emotions of the human experience.

The Ali Akbar College of Music (AACM) is one of the foremost institutions in the world for the study of North Indian Classical Music. Based in San Rafael, CA, the AACM offers education in the classical music of North India at the highest professional level. More info at


~ All classes take place on Sundays; 1 hour per class

~ Each course will run for a “session” of 8 consecutive classes

~ The spring session takes place from May 6 – June 24, 2018

12pm – Beginning Sitar with Arjun Verma

12pm – Beginning Voice with Manik Khan

1pm  – Beginning Sarod with Manik Khan

1pm – Mixed instruments Composition Class with Arjun Verma
(All instruments welcome, including non-Indian!)

4pm – Beginning Tabla with Nilan Chaudhuri

Rental sarods, sitars, and tablas will be available, but supplies are limited, so rentals must be reserved one week in advance by calling the Ali Akbar College of Music at 415 454 6372.

Class fees:
Instrument rental: $60 /month

To register for classes, call the AACM at 415 454 6372.


Arjun-Verma-CitarArjun Verma is a sitarist trained by Maestro Ali Akbar Khan. As a child, Arjun learned from his father, sitarist Roop Verma, himself a disciple of Ali Akbar Khan and Ravi Shankar. As a teenager, Arjun was very fortunate to study with Ali Akbar Khan for eight years, and since the Maestro’s passing in 2009, with his son Alam Khan. The combination of these influences results in a style encompassing the profound as well as exhilarating aspects of North Indian classical music.

Arjun has performed around the world, including noteworthy performances with St. Louis Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, and at Prague Castle, Pattee Arena, the Fillmore, and at the United Nations in Geneva.

Arjun has performed with renowned musicians in many genres, including Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Alam Khan, Bob Weir, Pandit Sharda Sahai, Ustad Shabbir Nisar, Nitin Mitta, Kai Eckhardt, Krishna Das, Anirban Roy Chowdhury, and Salar Nader.

Arjun’s music has received critical acclaim from leading publications, including the New York Times, Sruti Magazine, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the San Francisco Chronicle.


Manik Khan Sarod teacherManik Khan is the youngest son of the late maestro, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. He began his training on the sarod with his father at the age of 13. He is currently teaching, performing and working to preserve his family’s legacy – helping to keep this tradition of India’s rich cultural history alive and flourishing.

Alongside a solo concert career, he has worked with various ensembles to present his father’s music in a way that has seldom been heard before. This includes working with local high schools to bring Indian Classical Music to their youth orchestras, and performing with the conductor Michael Morgan and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra to present a ‘West Meets East’ collaboration.

He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he continues his musical studies with his elder brother, Alam Khan.


Nilan Chaudhuri Tabla teacherNilan Chaudhuri received his first Tabla lesson from his father Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, at the age of five. When he was 11 he performed his first Tabla solo at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California, where he received blessings from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and that same year became Khansahib’s gandabandhan disciple. In 2005, at the age of 16, Nilan made his debut performance in concert with his father in Queens, New York. In 2007 he performed for the momentous occasion of Bay Area based performing arts organization, Basant Bahar’s 25th anniversary, and accompanied his father at the prestigious Sabrang Music Festival in Kolkata the following year. He has also performed for other prestigious organizations dedicated to the preservation of North Indian classical music, such as The Music Circle in Los Angeles, California. Since 2005, Nilan has continued to perform both as a soloist and accompanist.

In addition to his Tabla studies, Nilan is formally trained in western drumset theory and performance and was involved in jazz ensembles at San Francisco State University. Currently, Nilan resides in the Bay Area where he continues to study under the guidance of his father. He teaches, performs, and records regularly in an array of styles ranging from Indian Classical to Electronic.