Tag Archives: Persian classical music

Iranian Musician Kayhan Kalhor Wins WOMEX Artist Award 2019

Kayhan Kalhor – Photo by Todd Rosenberg

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.


Artist Profiles: Siavash Nazeri

Siavash Nazeri was born on the 1979 in Tehran. Siavash had the advantage of having Shahram Nazeri (one of the best known Iranian singers in the world) as his uncle. He was introduced to music at an early stage of his life. At the age of 13 he started to play the Daf without ever going to classes or having a master. Later, for a short period of time he benefited from the lessons given to him by the well known masters of the instrument; they were Bijan Kamkar and after that it was Ahmad Khaktinat and then Ardeshir Fahimi who gave him some lessons.

With a passion for Daf that was like the passion for life he learned two styles of playing that were completely new and apart from others. These groups include Kamkars and Dastan Ensemble; Young Iranian National musicians and also Traditional Iranian music group 8 and Rumi Ensemble.

He has participated in number of concerts. Kurdish music concert with the Kamkars group, with singing of Shahram Nazeri in Solaimanieh in Iraq for 3 nights in September of 2000.

In October of 2000 he participated in one night of charity concert for children with cancer. The group was Dastan Ensemble with the singing of Shahram Nazeri; the conductor of this concert was Hamid Motabassem. It was held at the Milad Hall in Tehran’s International Fair. Since then he has participated in dozens of concerts with Shahram Nazeri and with several ensembles.


Artist Profiles: Shahram Nazeri

Shahram Nazeri

Shahram Nazeri is one of Iran’s most popular singers and a master of the Persian classical and Sufi repertoires. He was born to a musical Kurdish family in Kermanshah, Western Iran, in 1950 and joined Sufi ensembles at the age of eight. When he was eleven, he sang on Iranian television and started to study the traditional repertoire or radif. He became attracted to the mysteries of Sufism and its music and literature through the works of Mowlana Jelaladin Rumi, Sheikh Attar and others.

His teachers include some of the most important exponents of Persian music in this century – Abdollah Davami, Nourali Boroumand, and Mahmood Karimi. Since the provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan in western Iran are dominated with Sufism and the Dervish spinning around music, he showed great interest in this kind of traditional music, mostly accompanied by the poems of the Iranian transcendental poets like Rumi. His gentle voice as well as his unique style drew the attention of millions of Iranians in a very short time.

He has several marvelous works such as Gol e Sad Barg (the one-hundred-leaf-flower), Yadegar e doust (the friend’s memoir), Seda ye Sokhan e Eshgh (the sound of Love’s Word), Shour Angiz (Joy Giver), and many others that impress any listener. For sure, he is one of those at the top of Persian transcendental music. Shahram Nazeri, one of Iran?s most popular singers, is known for his mastery of the Persian classical, Sufi and Kurdish repertoires. Called ?the Persian nightingale,? he has appeared with Iran?s leading ensembles and is acknowledged for his deeply soulful performances.

He has won many prizes and has sung with the leading ensembles of Iran, Sheyda and Aref. His performances in Europe, the Middle East, and North America have been acclaimed for their poetry and virtuosity. He has dozens of recordings to his credit.

Partial discography:

Les Maitres De La Musique Traditionnelle Vol. 3 ‎(Ocora, 1992)
Nowruz – Traditional & Classic Music ‎(Network Medien, 1995)
Shoor Angiz (Caltex Records, 1996)
Mystified – Poetry of Rumi: Sufi Music of Iran (Quartertone Records, 1997)
Through Eternity ‎(Sounds True, 1999)
Shahram Nazeri and The Dastan Group (Long Distance, 2001)
Voice of Endearment (Kereshmeh Records, 2001)
Loulian (Quartertone Records, 2006)
The Passion of Rumi (Quartertone Productions, 2007)
The Book of Austerity (Quartertone Records, 2007)
The Book Of Austerity ‎(Meshkat, 2008)
Rumi Symphony Project – Cycle I – Untold ‎(Sony Classical, 2014)


Artist Profiles: Saeed Niakowsari

Saeed Niakowsari is a composer and performer of Iranian traditional music. He is the owner and manager of ?Saba private music school?, which is a center for teaching and dissemination of Iranian traditional music in Shiraz, Iran.

As part of his working experience, he has taken part in a number of music competitions and won the reward for best santur (or santoor) performance in 1991, The 8th International Fajr Festival.

In the year 2000, hr performed for German audiences in Berlin and being successful, prolonged his stay for a two-week period to record part of his programs.

Saeed Niakowsari has also participated in several group and individual performances. Two of his individual performances have been published as cassettes, one privately and the other by the company affiliated to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Service (IRIB Soroosh), which is the Iranian governmental broadcasting organization. In Addition two other cassettes of the group performances as well as a number of note booklets have been published.




Artist Profiles: Naser Khorasani

Naser Khorasani

A member of the American Psychological Association, Naser Khorasani (daf) is a Psychologist specializing in music therapy and meditation.

He was born in Tabriz, Iran in 1971. He is a highly respected master of Persian Classical Music Theory and Practice, and especially of the daf, which is the musical instrument most used in Persian spiritual practices, as well as the tanboor.


The howling


Artist Profiles: Majid Derakhshani

Majid Derakhshani

Majid Derakhshani is considered one of the best tar players in Iran with the respectful title Ostad, meaning a master who can give the best performance on a classical instrument. His teacher on setar and tar was the legendary Mohamad Reza Lotfi. He has also recorded with the most famous Iranian singer Mohammadreza Shajarian.


Music of the Persian Mystics (Arc Music, 2003)


Artist Profiles: Lian Ensemble

Lian Ensemble

Lian Ensemble is a group of classically trained virtuoso performers and composers who perform Persian Sufi music with a unique style that combines purity of form with creative experimentation.The core performers are:

The Lian Ensemble was established in 1996 by Pirayeh Pourafar (tar and setar) and Houman Pourmehdi (tombak, daf, and vocals).


The Name of the Beloved (1998)
Banquet in the Tavern of Ruin (1999)
Dar Shekarestan (2000)
Syncopation (2001)
The Call of Love (2001)
Light and Fire (2002)
Khake Heyran (2004)
The Hidden Sacred-Dark Wing (2005)
Pangea – The Tale of Unity (2006)
The Window (2010)
Majnun (2014)


Artist Profiles: Kiya Tabassian

Kiya Tabassian

Born in Tehran in 1976, Kiya Tabassian received his initial training in Persian music from Mehrdad Torabi at the Bahârlou Institute in Tehran, from Reza Ghassemi in Paris and Kayhan Kalhor in Montreal. He has since continued to develop his instrumental skills independently. He has also studied composition at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay and Michel Gonneville.

In 1989, he founded the Tahmassebi Ensemble. In addition to directing the group, he contributed several compositions to its repertoire. The ensemble gave several concerts throughout Iran and performed on the Iranian national broadcasting network. In 1990, upon his arrival in Canada, he co-founded the Darvish-Khan Trio, an ensemble devoted to classical Persian music. He is also the co-founder of Constantinople, an ensemble that specializes in medieval and Renaissance music, and Nowrouz, which is devoted to classical Persian music. Both ensembles have performed in a number of Canadian cities.

Kiya has collaborated with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on several occasions as a performer and special co-host. In addition, he performs regularly throughout the U.S., France, Greece and Mexico, both as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians.

In 2000, he was composer in residence for Musique Multi Montréal with a project entitled “Poussières d’étoiles.” Along with his brother Ziya, he recorded his first CD of Persian classical music titled Garden of the Memory on the XXI-21 label. He has also recorded several CDs with Constantinople on the ATMA label.

Since March 2002, he has been an active member of the MediMuses project, as a member of the research group on the history of Mediterranean music.

Kiya is a member of the Conseil Québécois de la Musique. He has received several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Kiya has frequently been invited to give lectures and presentations on Persian music.


Terres Turquoises (Atma Classique, 2004)
Mania (Atma Classique, 2005)
Masafat (Ambiances Magnétiques, 2009)

With Constantinople (Early Music ensemble)

Musique du Moyen Âge et de la Renaissance (Atma)
Memoria Sefardí – Jewish & Christian Spanish Music (Atma)
Li Tans Nouveaus (Atma)
De Castille à Samarkand (Atma 22383)
Greece – Carrefour De La Méditerrannée, with ensemble En Chordais (Atma)
Que le Yable les emporte (Atma Classique)
Terra nostra – 17th century Mexico (Atma 22567)
Ay Amor (Atma Classique)
Premiers Songes (Analekta)
Marco Polo (World Village)
Jardins migrateurs (Analekta)


Artist Profiles: Kiu Haghighi

Kiu Haghighi

Kiu Haghighi is a leading Persian classical santoor player. His instrument, the santoor (or santur), dates back to the eleventh century. This ancient instrument is a trapezoid-shaped walnut box with eighty strings which are fitted over and between ten bridges in groups of four and are struck with thin, wooden mallets covered on the tips with leather. In addition to being the prototype of the piano, variations on the santoor, such as the hammered dulcimer and the cymbalom, have been introduced in Hungary, Germany, China, Japan, Greece and India.

Kiu Haghighi began his lifetime study of the santoor at the age of ten. As a teenager, he performed on National Iranian Radio. At nineteen he was invited to join the Iranian Ministry of Education and Art as the featured soloist in the Academy Orchestra and as a regular performer on National Iranian Television.

Since 1965 he has performed concerts in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Switzerland and Japan.


Music From Iran (Candle Records)
The Santour (1998)
Music for the Soul (2000)
Reflections (2004)
Musical mosaic (2008)
Unity East West (2013)


Artist Profiles: Dariush Talai

Dariush Talai

Tar and setar virtuoso Dariush Talai is recognized today as one of the finest performers of traditional Persian music. He was born in 1952 and his tar studies at the age of 10 with Maestro Ali-Akbar Shahnazi. Talai continued his studies with other teachers such as Abdollah Davami.

Talai is not just a leading exponent but also a philosopher and aesthetician of Persian music. He has invented a system of notation, codifying the concept of the radif, and also added a complete analysis of its syntax and modal structure


Iran Vol.1: Anthologie De La Musique Traditionnelle (Ocora, 1979)
Tradition Classique De L’Iran : Le Tar (Harmonia Mundi, 1980)
Le Son Direct Du Concert Iran Du 11 Mai 1982 Sur France Musique ‎(Ocora, 1988)
Musique Iranienne ‎(Harmonia Mundi, 1989)
Iran Les Maitres De La Musique Traditionnelle Volume 1 (Ocora, 1991)
Iran Les Maitres De La Musique Traditionnelle Vol. 3 ‎(Ocora, 1992)
Radif 1 (Al Sur, 1994)
Radif 2 – The Integral Repertory of Persian Art Music (Al Sur, 1994)
Radif 3 (Al Sur, 1994)
Radif 4 (Al Sur, 1994)
Radif 5 (Al Sur, 1994)
Farah – Musique Pour Schéhérazade ‎(Amori, 1995)
Setar Solo – Shur, Bayat-e Esfahan, Segah ‎(Mahoor Institute Of Culture And Art, 1998)
Daryoush Tala’i Madjid Khaladj En Concert ‎(Al Sur, 2000)
Saye Rowshan – Solo Tar ‎(Mahoor Institute Of Culture And Art, 2003)
Chahargah ‎(Mahoor Institute Of Culture And Art, 2003)
Calligraphies Vocales • L’Art Du Chant Classique Persan (Accords Croisés, 2004)
Delgosha – Tar & Setar Improvising ‎(Barbad Music, 2010)
War & Peace – Avaz-e Bayat-e Esfahan, Dastgah-e Segah ‎(Mahoor Institute Of Culture And Art, 2012)