Who We Are

Board of Directors

Ed Sarath, President

Karlton Hester
India Cooke
Jin Hi Kim

Douglas Ewart
Bill Johnson

Richard Robeson, Executive Director


Ed Sarath, President

Flugelhornist, composer. Professor of Music and founding faculty in the Department Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at The University of Michigan School of Music. Also Director of the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies at UM. Designed the ground-breaking BFA in Jazz and Contemplative Studies curriculum at UM. Performances and masterclasses nationally and internationally. His most recent CD release is New Beginnings, featuring the London Jazz Orchestra performing his large-ensemble compositions. Many publications on the theoretical, pedagogical, and transpersonal dimensions of the creative process. His Music Theory Through Improvisation: A New Approach to Musicianship Training is published by Routledge. He is currently completing Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness: An Integral Template for Music, Education, and Society, one of the very first applications of Integral Theory to music. www.edsarath.com

Karlton Hester, Vice President

Karlton E. Hester, Ph.D. (composer/flutist/saxophonist), began his career as a composer and recording artist in Los Angeles where he worked as a studio musician and music educator. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the City University of New York Graduate Center and is currently Director of "Jazz" Studies at the University of California in Santa Cruz. As performer on both flute and saxophone, he is music director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band and Hesterian Musicism. Hester is currently music director of Hesterian Musicism, founding director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band in San Francisco and served as the Herbert Gussman Director of Jazz Studies at Cornell University from 1991-2001. Hester specializes in premeditated, spontaneous and electro-acoustic composition. His compositions span a wide range; from numerous solo cycles for various woodwinds to chamber configurations, music videos and electro-acoustic symphonic works written in an eclectic array of styles. He has been the recipient of composer fellowships, grants and commissions from the National Endowment of the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, New England Council of the Arts, Arts International, ASCAP, the William Grant Still Foundation, a Postdoctoral fellowship from the Mellon Foundation, amongst others. His albums and DVDs include 21st-Century Musicism; The Divine Particle Vision, The Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band (featuring John Handy and Denise Perrier); Harmonious Soul Scenes 2000; Musicism for the Sake of Love; Hesterian Liberation; Reconstructive Musicism; Karlton Hester and the Contemporary Jazz Art Movement; Hesterian Musicism; Dances Purely for the Sake of Love; Musicism for Your Imagination, Sacred Musicism, and others. His books on music include his most recent publication, Exploratory Musicism: Ideas for Spontaneous Composition (2010), Bigotry and the Afrocentric Jazz Evolution, (4th Edition), Survey of African Music, and The Melodic and Polyrhythmic Development of John Coltrane's Spontaneous Composition in a Racist Society.www.karltonhester.com

India Cooke, Secretary

India Cooke – violinist, composer, educator – performs nationally and internationally, improv to jazz to classical.  She has performed with Pharoah Sanders, Peter Kowald, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Pauline Oliveros, George Lewis, Joelle Léandre, Amiri Baraka, and many others. India has performed in San Francisco Bay Area symphony and opera orchestras, chamber ensembles, and Broadway shows. As one of California’s most respected contract artists, she was featured soloist with Joe Williams and the Louie Bellson Orchestra, and has played with Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and many others. India has recorded sessions for Atlantic, Fantasy, and Stax Records. As a featured artist she is heard on Leo Records with Sun Ra and His Arkestra, Black Saint What We Live Fo(u)r, Hat Musics Nomadic Winds, Plainisphares’ African Roots of Jazz, and Sparkling Beatnik Records’ the circle trio~live at the meridian.  In 1997 she recorded and released, to critical acclaim, her Grammy nominated debut CD as a leader, Music and Arts’ IndiaCooke~Redhanded. 2005 brought the Red Toucan release of Firedance Joelle Léandre, bass, India Cooke, violin Live at the Guelph Jazz Festival September 11th 2004. Ms. Cooke currently teaches at Mills College, the San Francisco Community Music Center and her private studio.

Jin Hi Kim, Treasurer

Jin Hi Kim is highly acclaimed as both an innovative komungo (Korean fourth century fretted board zither) virtuoso and for her cross-cultural compositions. Kim has introduced the Korean indigenous komungo for the first time into Western contemporary music scene through her wide array of compositions for chamber ensemble, orchestra, avant-garde, cross-cultural ensemble, multi-media, and avant-garde jazz improvisations. Kim is New Haven Symphony Orchestra Music Alive Composer-in-Residence and a recipient of 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for Music Composition.
Kim has performed her own works at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art, Asia Society, Royal Festival Hall (London), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), Expo Zaragoza (Spain), and many significant new music festivals around the world. Kim’s komungo solo works represent an evolution of the instrument into the twenty-first century. Her new komungo compositions are imbued with meditative and vivid energy that makes it mesmerizing. Kim has co-designed the world's only electric komungo and created live interactive pieces with a MIDI computer system. Using MAX/MSP, the komungo sound is processed through a personal computer program in live that is triggered by MIDI foot pedal. Staying true to the nature of the instrument, her solo interweaves from old timeless mind to space-age blips. www.jinhikim.com


Perhaps best known as a composer, improviser, sculptor and maker of masks and instruments, Douglas R. Ewart is also an educator, lecturer, arts organization consultant and all around visionary. In projects done in diverse media throughout a widely-acclaimed 40-year career, Mr. Ewart has woven his remarkably broad gifts into a single sensibility that encourages and celebrates - as an antidote to the divisions and compartmentalization afflicting modern life-the wholeness of individuals in culturally active communities. Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1946, Douglas R. Ewart immigrated to Chicago in 1963. His travels throughout the world and interactions with diverse people since then has confirmed his view that the world is an interdependent entity. He received the prestigious 1987 U.S.-Japan Creative Arts Fellowship to study both modern Japanese culture and the traditional Buddhist shakuhachi flute, and also to give public performances in Japan. Ewart has taught at School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1990, and has served on advisory boards for institutions such as The National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer (New York City) and Arts Midwest. Mr. Ewart was chairman of the internationally renowned Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). See DouglasEwart.com and full bio    

Bill Johnson

An artist, entrepreneur, and public radio executive, Bill Johnson’s career has many facets. As a trumpet player and member of Hesterian Musicism he has recorded six albums with the group. As co-founder and managing partner of African-American Innovators he pursues a progressive education and economic empowerment agenda for artists and other creative professionals. As station manager of WRTI-FM in Philadelphia, one of the largest public radio stations in the country, he is at the heart of the issues challenging jazz and classical music broadcasting and public media in America. As former executive director of the African-American Museum in Philadelphia he worked to broaden the reach of African-American artists in the school system and the public at large. As a young executive in downtown Manhattan he learned to deal with the pressure of being responsible for processing over $100 million a year in money.
His experience in arts management, corporate America, the performing arts, higher education, information technology, board service, and fundraising have given him a unique perspective on the interrelatedness of his work. He uses this interdisciplinary approach to define new solutions to difficult problems. His current projects include modeling and building an online community for creative learning, teaching, collaboration, and experimentation, exploiting new technologies such as HD Radio and Internet2 for public radio as well as tackling the information technology challenges and opportunities presented by digitized music, and working with fellow artists to explore alternative sustainable economic models for the music popularly known as jazz.
Bill has received the 40 Under 40 Minority Executive Award, recognizing him as one of the top young executives in Philadelphia.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in policy analysis from Cornell University and lives in Glen Mills, PA with his wife and six year old daughter.


richard robeson, Executive Director

Richard Robeson is a multidisciplinary teaching artist whose guitar-musicianship studio (FitMusicStudio) is in its 32nd year. In addition to earning degrees in History and Literature at NC State University, his studies include guitar with Ralph Towner, Indian classical music with Ustad Hamid Hossein, Ustad K. Sridhar, Pandit Partha Chatterjee, and frame drumming with Glen Velez. A lifelong belief in the integral relationship between total-body awareness and musicianship eventually led to studies as a fitness professional. He completed his training in 1999 at Baylor Sports Medicine Institute. He is Adjunct Professor of Practice-Bioethics, Wake Forest University; and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, UNC-CH School of Medicine. The year 2008-09 marked an artist residency in the UNC-CH music dept. He is the first person in school history to hold simultaneous appointments in its medical school and it music department. His most recent CD is moonlight over the maghrib, “a jazz-inflected homage to the Spanish and Middle Eastern roots of the guitar.” www.gandivaus.com