Marilyn Allysum –Composer and Musician, Piano, Flutes, Gu Zheng (Chinese Harp), Vocals

Marilyn Allysum Flute

Visit the Mauilotus Musical Group website

A child protégé on classical accordion and the Mauilotus Musical Group’s primary composer, Marilyn began her musical career at 7 and picked up the flute at 9 years of age. She won the New York State, National, and International Accordion competitions for her playing of Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, and New avant-garde pieces before switching to the piano at age 16. Her classical training continued in New York under Michael Tilson Thomas and John Pierre Rampal with a subsequent scholarship to the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music. She got her start in jazz while in high school, at Eastman School of music attending recordings by Chuck Mangione, travelled with the Paul Winter Consort, featuring Ralph Towner – who became the most influential mentor in her musical compositions.  After a stint in Atlanta where she played in the jazz ensemble Reynardyne and in jazz clubs with Paul McCandless and others, she began a world travel program that would lead to the eventual forming of Quintessence, now known as, MauiLotus: the Marilyn Allysum group. Allysum’s name is synonymous with innovation, being influenced greatly by the cultural roots of world musical traditions, studying bansuri flute with G.S. Sachdev. She travelled thru India on five separate occasions, absorbing musical influences including, extensive training in the singing of bhajans/kirtans. She lives half the year in Maui, HI and Minneapolis the remainder.

Music / Composer

Marilyn Allysum is an Award Winning Musician, Composer, a multi-instrumentalist (piano, flute, gu zheng/Chinese harp, accordion), and vocalist. She has released several highly acclaimed musical CDs.

“Your Music Sounds Wonderful”

“The Groups blending of Eastern and Western Music musical traditions and instruments yields intricate melodies, music that flashes with colors, like a prism spinning in the sun.”

“Long before the terms “world beat” and “new age” became standard jargon in the music industry, Mauilotus demonstrated innovative composition skills on a variety of unusual instruments. The group blends voice, flutes, bass guitar and piano with Chinese Harp, Indian Tablas, Santoor Persian Harp, Tibetan Singing Bowls, African Udu (drums) and other instruments to forge a new tradition of acoustic music created by Western and Eastern influences.”

My Story

My focus as a composer/musician has been to bring the sacred traditions of countries and cultures together for people to experience and hear in a way that would inspire creative artists and peoples to honor their own center and move through any blockages that might be keeping them from attaining their goal.

The work of my present ensemble, The MauiLotus, which I established as a concert ensemble in which to write music for, began in 1981 under the name “Quintessence”.

Our objective is to honor the roots of all cultures, joining the instruments and styles of the East and Western Traditions. I find it an interesting thing that if you take various instruments from other cultures and allow them to improvise and come together, they blend and bring such beautiful lyrical and rhythmic expression that people are very moved by it, and yet the roots are not lost.

You can hear the support of the roots of those traditions, if they were learned and honored in this way – if the people studied properly from the masters of these traditions. Then, if you hear this music, it supports itself like the Lotus Flower is supported by a deep root, like the structure of a multi-faceted symphony. It is to bring this spirit of the music to broader audiences and to allow them to unfold a cultural exchange that mutually supports global traditions equally, that I will continue to work in.


I was told when I was a child of 5 years that I could not begin the formal study of music until I was 7 and had mastered reading and writing skills. After hearing this, I promptly went home and began to learn to read and write with the help of my mother. Lessons would be conducted while she did other household chores and I sat practicing at a child size desk. On my 7th birthday, I announced to my mother that “Today is the day that I get to meet my music teacher!”

She brought me to the music school in our community and they told me it would be better if I waited until I was 9 and able to read and write! After demonstrating to them that I could do this, they dubiously took me to meet my teacher. By the age of 9, my teacher felt that I had learned all that I could from her, and recommended another instructor 40 miles away at a Music Conservatory that could advance me further.

At the age of 13, I placed 1st in a Music Competition to represent New York State, then performed at an International Music Event that was to be the seed that I’ve continued to nurture throughout my life.

I have devoted myself to Piano, Flute, Gu Zhong, and Voice. In 1969 I was to meet musicians and composers from the U.S., Europe, S. America, and Asia that would become inspirations to me on this journey of uniting musicianship with a global vision.

In college years, I studied under Michael Tilson-Thomas, Joel Revson, Dr. Robert Mols and received tutelage from Jean Pierre Rampal.

In 1970, I traveled with The Paul Winter Consort and was deeply influenced by composer/guitarist/pianist Ralph Towner.

My meeting with bansuri flute Master Hariprasad Chaurasia was to bring me to the feet of renowned Living Treasure G.S. Sachdev, who would inspire and integrate my way of playing flute and link it to my practice of Tai Chi and Qigong. I became his student of music, and he became my student of internal qigong!

Selected Venues

  • Bringing G.S. Sachdev and Master Swapan Chaudri on Tabla to Minneapolis where they were guests at our home and gave an amazing evening of music in a sold out concert.
  • Opening as Quintessence for Zakir Hussain on Tabla, G.S. Sachdev on Bansuri, and Ali Akbar Khan on Sarod in a night of ecstatic music making at the Guthrie Theatre, again to a sold out audience.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy and are inspired along with me on this music journey of the heart and spirit.

~Marilyn Allysum

You are invited to Marilyn’s MUSIC: Visit the Mauilotus Musical Group Website