Hans Utter is dedicated and accomplished musician, producer, composer, and writer. His musical journey beginning at age five has brought him from Western classical music to jazz, from Hindustani classical to the modal music of Central Asia and the Middle East. He is an accomplished guitartist and sitarist, and is also proficient oud player. His travels have brought him from the United States to Europe, India, and Central Asia. As a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Association of Asian Studies, the Advancing Interdisciplinary Research on Singing (AIRS) consortium, and The Ohio Arts Council, he works to increase the awareness and appreciation of world music, promoting community development and positive international relations. His research on the cutting edge of integrated mind/body music pedagogy, the Imdad Khan gharana, and the music and cultural of the Silk Road has been presented throughout world through concerts, lectures, and workshops. His workshops on music and healing, nada yoga, and Sufi music performances reflect his dedication to healing and transformative powers of music.
Hans’ unique musical background combines professional experience in diverse styles including jazz, rock, electronic music, and as well as orchestral composition with two decades years of studying and performing Hindustani North Indian classical) music. As working musician since age sixteen, he developed proficiency as a guitarist, performing jazz, rock, blues, and classical styles. Beginning in 1993, Hans lived in India, studying with some of the great living masters of Indian Classical Music, including Ustad Shujaat Khan, Pt. Arvind Parikh, Pt. Indra Lal Dandra, and Pt. N. Rajam. During his time in India, he earned a diploma in sitar from Benares Hindustani University, becoming fluent in Hindi and Urdu. After meeting Ustad Shujaat Khan and becoming his shagrid (disciple) he dedicated his life to Indian classical music, eventually performing throughout India. Touring with the group Turkana and Latif Bolait expanded his musical horizons to include Arabic, Persian, and Central Asian styles. As a professional musician he has continued to develop, bringing the art and aesthetics of Hindustani music to the guitar. His recent works as a composer include several tracks from Melodic Intersect’s Global Vision album, as well as raga-based pieces for orchestra.
He performs regularly in the United States, India, and Europe, and is the recipient of sixteen national and international awards and grants, including the Louis Armstrong Outstanding Musician award, and was recently appointed as an Ohio Arts Council Artist in Residence. As a bandleader his projects include Mood Swing, MLQ, Utter Space, and the Hans Utter Trio. His recent releases include Pure Land (2012) with his group Chakra and Morning and Evening Mediations (2013)featuring Steve Gorn. 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, the Columbus Arts Festival, and numerous universities throughout the world, and premiered the Broadway music The Last Smoker in America. He 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. He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the world and is currently writing a biography of the legendary sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan. He holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the Ohio State University, and has taught music at The Ohio State, Capital, and Indira Gandhi National Open universities. His publications include the book Trance, Ritual and Rhythm: The Cult of Mahasu Deota (New Delhi: B. R. Rhythms, 2010), many scholarly articles, as well as forthcoming articles and book chapters for Vilayat Khan foundation and the AIRS project. He is currently working with several music projects including Melodic Intersect, The Phoenix Project, Sufiyana, Shiv-Shakti Kirtan, the Midnight Locomotive Quartet (MLQ), Floorian, and composing a sitar concerto with Kalyan Pathak.