John Heitzenrater is a multi-instrumentalist whose performance career spans more than two decades and many genres. The instrument on which he is featured in his band, Hindugrass, is sarod. He has also appeared performing and in recordings on tabla, bassoon, guitars, bass, ghatam, keyboards, and voice. He is well versed in Hindustani classical music, the folk music traditions of Macedonia and Bulgaria, in Western classical music, and in various American popular traditions including rock, folk, jazz, and bluegrass. In his diverse performance career, he has shared the stage with an array of talented musicians from around the globe, including an appearance at the Dalai Lama's World Festival of Sacred Music with master South Indian drummer Poovalur Srinivasan, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles
with chitravina virtuoso N. Ravikiran and master drummers Glen Velez and John Bergamo, and accompanied tabla master Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on harmonium. He has also performed with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills of the group R.E.M., with Jody Stephens of Big Star, Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, Chris Stamey of the dBs, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, and was the music director for an acclaimed 2005 tribute concert celebrating the work of Elliott Smith that involved a long list of indie-rock all-stars from NC. Mr. Heitzenrater earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in Composition and Performance (on sarod, guitar, and bassoon) and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Multi-Focus Guitar performance from California Institute of the Arts, where he was awarded the Music Teachers National Association "Star" award for his pioneering work with the Santa Clarita Valley Community Arts Partnership and for his student teaching at CalArts. In addition to his performance career, John recently finished scoring the short film “A Soaring Life” by Lucas Ridley, “The Finish Line” by Nic Beery and the feature film “20 Years After,” the latter with Chris Johnson. Mr. Heitzenrater is an active teacher with a large studio of private students in guitar, bass, piano, voice, sarod, tabla, composition, theory and songwriting. He has lectured at virtually every major university in central NC, and was on the faculty at North Carolina Central University for eight years, where he taught music theory, ear training and music history, and designed and implemented an online course on the history of 20th century American popular music.