The World Music Expo (WOMEX) announced today that Iranian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor (Iran/USA) is the winner of the WOMEX Artist Award 2019.
Kalhor is set to receive the prominent award at the 25th anniversary
edition of WOMEX in Tampere, Finland, on Sunday, October 27, 2019. Kayhan
Kalhor will perform as a duo together with Erdal Erzincan on bağlama in what
will be the final concert of WOMEX 2019.
Kayhan Kalhor stated: “Receiving the WOMEX Artist Award means so much to me. The award is recognition of the rich culture of my homeland Iran and an ageless Persian art that thrives and is beloved throughout the world. As forces arise across the globe and push for divisiveness, borders and intolerance, music brings us together and reminds us of our common humanity. As a citizen of the world, I am humbled by this recognition and stand with artists whose music fosters unity.”
The WOMEX 2019 closing ceremony will also include the Award for Professional Excellence and the annual Label Award, both of which are yet to be announced.
Ihsan Ozgen (kamenche, tanbur, co-director of Lux Musica) is a self-taught musician composer and teacher of the Classical Ottoman music of Turkey. He is sometimes regarded as the new Cemil Bey: the turn-of-the-century performer and composer noted for his brilliance on a variety of instruments.
Ozgen is a self-taught musician and performs on kamenche, lauta, violoncello and tanbur. He has studied and mastered the works of Tanburi Cemil Bey. He has studied the techniques of playing the violoncello and violin and has applied new techniques to the playing of the kamenche such as new left hand positions and bow techniques. Ozgen’s fame is usually associated with his kaemenche playing and melodic taksims (improvisations). Ozgen’s kamenche playing brings out soft full and rich sounds from this instrument.
In 1991 Ozgen was awarded the Abdi Ipeksi Peace Award in recognition of his work with the Bosphorus ensemble a group composed of Turkish and Greek musicians. He is also the leader of the well-known ensemble Anatolia.
Ozgen is an instructor at the Istanbul Turkish Music Conservatory and former guest lecturer at University California at Santa Cruz.
Kamancheh virtuoso and composer Kayhan Kalhor was born in Tehran (Iran). He began his musical studies at the age of seven. Kayhan Kalhor performed with the prestigious National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran and the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center while still a teenager.
Deeply devoted to the Iranian classical repertoire (radif), Kayhan Kalhor was further inspired to study regional folkloric traditions, which added additional dimensions to his improvisations and acted as springboards for cross-cultural explorations.
Since then, Kalhor has performed and recorded with Iran’s greatest instrumentalists and singers, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri, and toured the world as a soloist.
He co-founded the Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations, and Masters of Persian Music ensembles and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon.
He was the featured soloist on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, a score on which he collaborated with Osvaldo Golijov.
Kayhan Kalhor is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma’s acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble and his works are heard on all of the ensemble’s albums.
The Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, in Shanghai, China, awarded Kayhor the 2018 Isaac Stern Human Spirit award. The award celebrates individuals and groups, from any part of the world, who have made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of humanity through music.
In 2019, Kayhor won the WOMEX (World Music Expo) Artist Award. At the award ceremony, Kayhor stated: “I am very touched and honored and it’s nice to be appreciated during your lifetime when you can see it. However, I don’t see this as a personal achievement. I think a lot of wisdom, history and hard work went into this and I represent the great Iranian musician community here. I am honored to represent them.
Kayhan Kalhor added: “On behalf of the Iranian music community, I dedicate this award to Mohammad Reza Shajarian, the great master of Persian music who has been fighting a nasty illness for the past few years. We need his voice and we need him to be with us, so we wish him well and I hope the musical community accepts this from me.”