Fulbright Spotlight: Payton MacDonald

Payton MacDonald, William Paterson University associate professor of music, was named a Fulbright Scholar for the academic year 2013-14.

MacDonald, who is a composer, percussionist, and singer, is spending the academic year as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar in Bhopal, India, where he is continuing his vocal lessons with the Gundecha Brothers, who specialize in dhrupad, the most ancient style of Hindustani classical music that has survived until today in its original form.

“My vocal technique and understanding of this music are improving by leaps and bounds,” he says. “It has been very nice having an extended period of time to really focus on this. I’ve also been composing quite a lot, and using the new ideas I’m learning here in my creative work.”

He also is lecturing on Western classical music. “Every few weeks I offer a class on the history and development of Western classical music. The Indian students at my teachers’ school know nothing about our music, so I’m enjoying educating them.”

MacDonald, who is writing a blog about his experience (paytonmacdonald.wordpress.com) brought his wife and two young daughters along for the year. “Our house is quite nice and we’ve developed some fabulous friendships with our neighbors,” he says. “My Hindi is improving a bit, though not as much as I’d like since I’m mostly focused on music. I’ve also learned how to ride a motorcycle in India, not something I ever thought I’d do!”

Fulbright Scholar