Matt Finstrom

Matt Finstrom is the director and founder of Sruti. His musical career began in percussion at the age of 10, and has included many western styles such as rock, jazz, symphonic, orchestral, country/western, and avant garde. He started studying the sitar in 1982, the tabla in 1983 and the dilruba in 1984, by personal research. In 1985, while performing at the Festival of India at the U of A, he met Darshi Jayawardena, who became his sitar and dilruba teacher and later herself joined Sruti. Along the way, Matt learned to play santur and is currently studying the sarangi, mridangam and morsing. He sets up and tunes his sitar in the tradition of Vilayat Khan. His current sitar teacher is Jaya Jog, a disciple of Ustad Usman Khan. Matt has also been learning to sing bhajans, qawwalis and Bollywood tunes while accompanying the group on synthesizer.Matt has not had a regular tabla teacher but has received impromptu lessons from Varn M. Chandola, Ashwin Batish, and Kumar Bose. He has also studied and recorded with sarod/oud master H. Aram Gulezian and the late Stephen James. Aside from performing, Matt has delivered lectures on Indian Music at the U of A for the Oriental Studies Department and for "Arts Encounter" preceding the 2000 performance of Ravi Shankar. Matt has performed on sitar at Bharatanatyam Arangetram recitals in Tucson and Phoenix with acclaimed vocalist Neela Ramanuja, nattuvangam Kalashri Asha Gopal, mridangist Kalashri N.G. Ravi, flute player Rajkamal Nagaraj and percussionist S.G. Pramath Kiran.

Matt is also the director and builder of Tucson's Fine Stream Gamelan, which for 20 years has performed the music of Indonesia. He also started The Rhythm Method, an Afro-pop/World Beat Band and is an accomplished performer on the djembe and the balafon, serving as lead drummer for West African dance troupes such as Nanfoule and Juju Bey. Other work includes a number of recording projects. Matt has appeared as a sideman on recordings for Don Reeve, Kevin Bowman, Soundings of the Planet, and in his own avant garde group The Secret of Fish.