Peter Rushefsky has served as CTMD’s Executive Director since 2006 following a successful career as a non-profit health care executive. A practicing klezmer musician, Rushefsky performs and records internationally with violinist Itzhak Perlman, the renowned Klezmer Conservatory Band and NEA National Heritage Fellows Andy Statman and Michael Alpert among others. He has been featured at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Hollywood Bowl, and performed on the air for NPR’s Prairie Home Companion, All Things Considered and PBS’s Great Performances. Rushefsky curated the Yiddish performing arts program for the Smithsonian Institution’s 2013 Folklife Festival on the National Mall, helped to found the annual Yiddish New York festival, and has taught and organized numerous Yiddish folk arts workshops internationally. He has served as a grant panelist for New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Michigan, Rushefsky has authored a number of published articles and other writings on traditional performing arts.
Maureen Loughran, Ph.D.
Maureen Loughran served for a number of years as a Senior Producer of American Routes, the nationally broadcast public radio program hosted by Nick Spitzer. While at American Routes, she produced over 80 two-hour programs and numerous segments that were broadcast nationally, including feature radio documentaries profiling Woody Guthrie, John Coltrane and Alan Lomax. Loughran conducted fieldwork to document Baton Rouge’s sacred and secular music traditions for the Folklife Program of the State of Louisiana’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Along with Spitzer, she was awarded an Archie Green Fellowship by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress in 2010-2011. She has worked in various folk arts archives including the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, Ireland, the National Archives, the Archive of Folk Culture and the Irish Music Archive at Boston College. She holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Brown University.
212-571-1555 ext. 27
Director of Public Programs
Naomi Sturm-Wijesinghe is a folklorist/ethnomusicologist with an expertise in the indigenous and mestizo traditions of the Americas as well as the NYC immigrant experience. She serves as the Director of Public Programs for the Center for Traditional Music and Dance where she curates and administers several large-scale cultural initiatives including the organization's Sustaining Cultures Program. Naomi holds a Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Bowdoin College with a double major in Spanish and Latin American Studies as well as a minor in Dance. Her public sector work, media publications, and writing deal extensively with: 1) issues of ethnic identity, political economy and cultural sustainability in NYC 2) transmedia storytelling and 3) models for holistic economic development through cultural tourism. In her previous post as the Director of Folklife for Staten Island Arts, Naomi initiated the Staten Island Folk Fellow Institute, which trains and employs local scholars in community documentation and event design, as well as the REDC funded project “Staten Island’s Working Waterfront: Maritime Folklife of New York City’s Forgotten Borough.” This exhibition and programming series aims to revitalize the social capital of Staten Island’s waterfront through cultural tourism that explores the rich intergenerational cultural traditions of Staten Island’s historic waterfront communities, as well as those of new immigrant communities from coastal regions and other water-based environments. Naomi has served as the program coordinator and audio-visual specialist for Pachamama Peruvian Arts, a project consultant for City Lore and Long Island Traditions, and a presenter for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and National Council for the Traditional Arts. She is the co-founder of the Quechua Collective of NY (a grassroots cultural project that supports the growth of NYC’s Quechua speaking community) and Los Herederos Inc. (a transmedia project focused on inheriting culture in the digital age). She sits on the board of the New York Folklore Society.
212-571-1555 ext. 35
Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus
Ethel Raim is co-founder and Artistic Director emeritus of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance. A pioneering figure in public sector folklore, she has been a national leader in revitalizing diverse ethnic traditions and was recognized for her achievements in 2018 as a Bess Lomax Hawes NEA National Heritage Fellow. In 2012, Raim was awarded the American Folklore Society’s Benjamin Botkin Award for her career impact in furthering the field of public sector folklore. Raim is also a renowned singer/ethnographer of Yiddish and Slavic music from Eastern Europe. One of the Bulgarian field recordings she made with CTMD co-founder Martin Koenig was featured on NASA’s 1977 Voyager “Golden Record,” a collection of music specially curated to represent the music of humankind throughout the galaxy.
Marketing Coordinator & Program Assistant
Sachindara Navinna, is a recent graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Advertising and Marketing Communications. In her position as Marketing Coordinator & Program Assistant, Navinna works to gain recognition, increase engagement, and build brand awareness for the organization and artists we support. She also assists with CTMD’s day to day operations as well as with our diverse public programs. A second generation Sri Lankan American, Navinna grew up in a creative home with a passion for working in and amongst her community. A trained Kandyan dancer since the age of four, she is an active member of the Sri Lankan Dance Academy of NY to this day. While continuing her passion for dance, she handles much of the social media and digital marketing for the school. Navinna began her work in folk and traditional arts as a long time program intern and later Folklife Fellow for Staten Island Arts. Her mentor during this period was CTMD’s current Director of Public Programs Naomi Sturm (formerly Director of Folklife for Staten Island Arts). In these positions, she assisted with hands-on event planning, production assistance, fieldwork assignments and PR management. Navinna remains passionate about community outreach and long term community organizing with immigrant populations.