Our Boards

We welcome applications from interested professionals for both our Board of Directors and the Advisory Board as we continue our efforts to expand our network of resources and support. Please contact Gaby Sappington, Executive Director, at gaby@worldmusicinstitute.org to learn more about how to join either one of these two important volunteer leadership groups. We look forward to hearing from you!

Andy Faulkner – Board Co-Chair

The World Music Institute has given me the opportunity to see great musicians and dancers from around the world since it pioneered the presentation in New York City of a vital part of the global cultural landscape.WMI provides a platform for some of the world’s greatest artists to share their traditions and instrumental mastery and in some cases to collaborate with artists from other cultures in an aesthetically enriching cultural exchange with audiences. I have been fortunate to see musicians I had admired from afar through their recordings and to attend shows by artists with little prior knowledge of their music or cultural tradition and been blown away by their performances. To do what WMI does year after year is challenging in many ways and I feel fortunate to have been able to help WMI meet those challenges over the past 30 years.

Daisy Paradis – Board Co-Chair

It has been a source of great musical pleasure and inspiration for me to be part of World Music Institute Board since 1990. WMI has presented the great musicians that we know and love for decades, as well as wonderful performers from cultures and traditions whose music I never would have heard anyplace else.

Moez Doraid

Music is a universal language. The World Music Institute brings it from the corners of the planet to the capital of the world. As someone who has been affiliated with the United Nations for decades, I can see that for New Yorkers there are parallels between the UN and WMI. Both bring global exposure: the UN to international relations, WMI to international song and dance;  the UN to performing leaders, WMI to leading performers. Both serve peace: the UN through diplomacy, WMI through music that moves us and brings us together. Regardless of nationality, race or creed, our thoughts and emotions react to melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, pitch, amplitude, duration, texture, structure, voice, movement and expression. If you have not attended our events, please try them. They can be transformative. Even if you choose one where the music is unfamiliar or the lyrics incomprehensible, it can still move you as you get an earful of our shared humanity.

Zette Emmons

I have been served on the Board of WMI for 30 years because it is like a family with a burning mission to bring the world’s music to everyone. There are so many wonderful musicians from all over the planet globe right here in New York as well, so when it is difficult to bring musicians to play due to politics travel restrictions or pandemics, we just have to look in our own backyard to find and promote their incredible talent.

John Habel

My love of music is both nurtured by, and reflected in, my 30 years as the former host of a weekly jazz show and my current role as the co-host of a weekly world music show on the public radio affiliate in Knoxville, TN. In addition, my travels as well as my position as co-founder and co-director of an academy of music in Kingston, Jamaica enrich my knowledge and appreciation of the music of the World. The opportunity to support the work of the World Music Institute is an honor and a pleasure.

Neal Parikh

Growing up in NYC and in an extended family deeply involved with Indian classical music in particular, I have long been a fan of many of the initiatives of the World Music Institute, and it is gratifying to now be a part of it and help it continue to grow and thrive.

Kate Winn

I have had such good fortune to work with some of the world’s greatest musicians and I love nothing more than to share their work with others. I believe that music has the power to break down barriers, and I am inspired everyday by these talented performers who have dedicated their lives to making our world a better and happier place through their art and their actions.

Soon-Young Yoon

I love the motto of the World Music Institute: “Many cultures, one world”. Indeed, we are one world–diverse communities of culture makers, world crafters and visual idealists. The respect that this institute has for young artists, new sounds, and innovative music is to be treasured. It provides a space for east to meet west and north to understand south. In the future, I hope that more musicians, composers, artists and music lovers from around the world can be a part of the WMI spirit. 

Watch Soon-Young’s TED Talk

Advisory Board Members

Erin Ardleigh

Growing up in New Orleans, I was surrounded by music, especially jazz. After 20 years of listening to the concerts and cab drivers in New York, I’ve been exposed to music from all over the world and have developed a passion for African music. When I travel, I love to ask the locals what they’re listening to. Music is an opportunity to connect people across countries and cultures – a much needed common ground. I’m excited to support a cultural treasure like the World Music Institute.

Kellie Castruita Specter

My love of world music began early. My grandmother would listen to Mexican Ranchera and Bolero music, and through it, I learned the joys and sorrows of my family’s culture. I also learned that music has no barriers or borders. I have been attending concerts presented by the World Music Institute for over 15 years, and those musical experiences have enriched my life in New York City. I am deeply honored to serve on the Advisory Board of this important organization. 

Alexis Daran

I am a native New Yorker who remembers going to see Flamenco performances at the Joyce Theater as a child. Having a life-long passion for the performing arts in such a culturally rich city has been deeply satisfying. The addition of World Music Institute to the cultural landscape of New York has broadened the type of experience available to all of us. It is a pleasure to join the Advisory Board. 

Suman Gollamudi

Suman Gollamudi

As a member of the performing arts community in New York City, I have long admired the work done by the World Music Institute. Joining the advisory board, I feel excited to get the opportunity to collaborate with a room full of people passionate about music and the arts!  I am looking forward to listening and sharing music that strongly resonates with me. And I hope to create and contribute to opportunities to represent our communities, to bring diverse voices to the forefront.

Roger Noel

Roger Noel

“La Bamba” first did it for me, frantic dancing to a song sung in a language I did not then understand. All that followed, playing music, writing reviews, teaching dance classes and being a Dj is aiming to reclaim that sweet spot when language barriers and (imaginary) borders collapse and we’re “one nation under a groove” in communal ecstasy. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Board.


Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Leonard Cohen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. 

The pre-eminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, Zakir Hussain is appreciated both in the field of percussion and in the music world at large as an international phenomenon and one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians. His brilliant accompaniment, solo performance and genre-defying collaborations have elevated the status of his instrument both in India and globally, bringing the tabla into a new dimension of renown and appreciation.

Javier Limon

Javier Limón‘s career as a musician and producer has developed in many genres and styles from different cultures including Flamenco, Fado, Latin American Music, Mediterranean, Jazz, the Middle East, Africa, and India among others. In WMI, Javier finds the perfect laboratory to share the knowledge learned during these years. 

Mira Nair is an Indian-born film director, writer, and producer educated at both Delhi University and Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries and feature films including Salaam Bombay!,  Mississippi Masala, the Perez Family, and Monsoon Wedding, which has been adapted into a musical.

Carlos Núñez: World Music Institute reflects the profound values and richness of musical traditions from across the globe. It does so by recognizing, researching and identifying the most excellent representatives of the great legacies of humanity. It is a true backbone of the great history of collective, cultural creations, reinventions, interactions, intergenerational transmissions, and most importantly: the exciting present.

Farah Siraj

Named Jordan’s Musical Ambassadress, Farah Siraj balances a career that spans the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. She has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious platforms, including the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Lincoln Center in New York, just to name a few. Farah represents Jordan annually on United Nations World Peace Day and has been called the “Norah Jones of the Middle East” by New York Time Out.