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.

Ashwini Chhabra

The World Music Institute is truly a New York institution, and it has been a presence in my life ever since I moved to NYC over 25 years ago. Through WMI, I have had the opportunity to see some of the most legendary performers from around the world, as well as discover other less well known – though no less amazing – musicians and dancers. In a time of global upheaval, as we emerge from a pandemic that further isolated us, now perhaps more than ever we need and crave contact with the broader world. For that reason, WMI’s mission to promote awareness and appreciation of the world’s rich cultural traditions, and encourage cross-cultural dialog and exchange is more necessary than ever, and I am honored to help WMI deliver on this promise.

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.

Sarah Marchal Murray

Music is a universal language with which we share our stories and form our unique and common humanity. Listening (and appreciation) is one of the most profoundly important skills of our time. WMI, through its inspiring mission, enriches all of our lives, aiding in our development, understanding and mutual respect for the many cultures around the world, as well as inside each of us. I’m honored to serve on WMI’s Board to support bringing unique narratives from innovative artists to the diverse cultures and passionate people who call New York City home – or have the pleasure of visiting her and catching a show.

Stevan Nicholas

Every culture has musicians of genius working in unique genres. It’s both the most universal and most varied thing about humans. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to help the World Music Institute introduce people to new music and bring new audiences to amazing musicians.

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

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.

Serge Mezhburd

I am very committed to the idea of New York as a melting pot that presents a wonderful opportunity to experience the traditions of the world’s many cultures and deeply believe in the ability of music to transcend political, cultural, and language barriers.  Live music in particular unites both performers and listeners into a community sharing an experience.  I am excited to contribute to the New York world music community as an advisory board member of WMI, a vital New York institution that has introduced me to so many wonderful performers and music lovers.

Nathaniel Rahav

“As a lifelong lover of music it is my honor and pleasure to serve on the advisory board of WMI. Music has the power to heal, connect, and transcend. It is the medium through which the past, present, and future of humanity is contemplated and celebrated. I am deeply committed to helping WMI share the important stories that need to be told through music.” 

Sam Sen

“I first got excited about music at the age of 5 when I was introduced to the violin, which I have now played for 20 years. As a native New Yorker from a multicultural background, some of the myriad musical influences in my life have included classical, bhangra, and Berlin techno, the latter of which I developed an affinity for during the 6 months I lived in Germany. The World Music Institute pulls together what I consider to be two essential life pillars: International culture and music. It is a pleasure 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.