Originally from Canada, Nancy Kulkarni is a classically-trained cellist who has devoted herself to the study and performance of dhrupad music on the cello for the last 28 years. Before pursuing dhrupad, she was Co-Principal Cellist of the Rome Festival Orchestra and Section Cellist with the Chicago Civic Orchestra and Orchestra del Maggio Musiale Musicale of Florence, Italy.
Nancy has been studying dhrupad in India since 1982. She is deeply grateful for the training she received from senior dhrupad vocalist Dr. Ritwik Sanyal, and the renowned veena and vocal brothers Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar.
Nancy has given over 200 dhrupad recitals and lecture/demonstrations at Western universities and concert halls, and in major cities in India. She was twice awarded the Senior Performing Arts Fellowship by the American Institute of Indian Studies, and was the featured artist in the films, "Through My Eyes" by Mani Kaul, and "Vihir" by Umesh Kulkarni. Nancy’s playing has been presented several times on National Public Radio, All-India Radio, and she has released three solo CDs.
Nancy has made several modifications to her cello for Indian music. There are two extra strings that are plucked in the chikari style of the veena. Her four playing strings pass over a sloping elk-horn nut, modeled after the veena to produce a ringing tone. She has adopted the Indian posture, holding the cello while seated on a carpet. She plays without vibrato, so that subtle ornaments are clearly articulated.
Nancy resides in Pune, India, where she continues her dhrupad study and performance.