Allyn received a B.A. in South Asia Studies from the University of Wisconsin where she took initial sitar lessons. She went to Varanasi on the Wisconsin Year-in-India program in 1971 where she studied under sitarist Thakur Raj Bhan Singh and subsequently lived with the support of Fulbright and Rockefeller grants for most of the years until 1982. She studied Indian musicology under Professor Prem Lata Sharma and received a Ph.D. from Banaras Hindu University for her work Sitar and Sarod in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (published in Delhi 1997). She gave sitar recitals in a number of cities and on all India radio before her return to the U.S. Allyn began training under Ustad Ali Akbar Khan in California in 1985 and became his formal disciple in 1990.
She joined the Department of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania as a Lecturer in 1983. She received her Ph.D. from Penn in 1994 for a dissertation on the Sangitopanisatsaroddhara, a 14th-century musicological text from Gujarat (published in Delhi 1994).
She has had visiting faculty positions at Temple University, the University of Washington, NYU, and UCLA. Allyn maintains a teaching, research, and performance career.
Her CD, “Virama,” and her track on the CD “Rainbow” are available online.