Persian ney (flute) virtuoso and vocalist Hossein Omoumi is set to perform a concert of Persian classical and Sufi music on Sunday, April 29, 2017 at Roulette in Downtown Brooklyn, New York. This is the closing concert of A World in Trance festival.
Hossein Omoumi has toured and recorded with many of Iran’s leading artists, including Parissa, and introduced significant innovations to the ney and Iranian percussion. He will be joined by vocalist Jessika Kenney, Amir Koushkani (setar and tar lutes), and Hamin Honari (tombak , drum, daf). Their program of mystical and spiritual Persian music is influenced by the Isfahan school, which is based on vocal repertoire and poetry; included are works by Rumi and Attar.
Hossein Omoumi was born in 1944 in Isfahan, Iran, and commenced his musical education singing with his father. At age 14, he studied the ney, the traditional reed flute of Iran.
At the same time as he was studying architecture, Hossein was accepted as a tutorial student at the National Superior Conservatory of Music in Tehran. He worked with maestros Mahmud Karimi and Farhad Fakhreddini, and subsequently went on to study with acclaimed ney master Hassan Kassaei.
His career as a performer has included appearances at many major festivals and concert halls in Europe and the United States.
A distinguished scholar and teacher of Persian music, he taught at the National Conservatory, Tehran University, and the Center for Preservation and Dissemination of Music in Tehran; the Center for Oriental Music Studies (CEMO) of Sorbonne University in Paris; and the ethnomusicology departments of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle.
Currently, he is the Maseeh Professor in Persian Performing Arts of Music at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). He has done wide-ranging research on the ney and Iranian percussion, and arranged and composed lessons to teach the standards of classical Persian music under the title of ‘Pish Radif.’
The movie Classical Persian Music – Hossein Omoumi from Isfahan to Irvine, that documents his goal to make classical Persian music widely available, was released in 2017, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Siamak Jahangiry was born in 1971 in chaloos, in northern Iran. He started playing the ney at the age of 12. Jahangiry studied with Abdolnaghi Afsharnia before going on to study with Iran’s leading ney players, mostly with Mohammad Ali Kiani Nejad.
He received his degree in music from Tehran University of the Arts and has written a book on the ney, its playing techniques in the 20th century, and its masters.
Jahangiry is a member of the Abd-al-kadir Ensemble, a group dedicated to the compositions of Abd-al-kadir Maraghi—one of the most important Iranian music theorists and composers of the 14th century.
Siamak Jahangiry is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble and appears on the ensemble’s albums Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet and New Impossibilities, as well as recordings with his own ensemble. “//When you travel and play for people outside your country, they usually want to learn more about your culture and where you come from//,” says Jahangiry. “//This is an important aspect of what we do with this project. We gain knowledge about each other and share knowledge about ourselves//.”
He is currently a professor of music in the Fine Arts school of Tehran University.
Iran’s renowned Shams Ensemble, influenced by Sufi, Kurdish and Persian classical music traditions, performs powerful rhythms and haunting melodic works incorporating the poetry of Mevlana (Rumi). Founded in 1980 by musician and composer Kaykhosro Pournazeri, Shams was the first group to compose music specifically for the ancient Kurdish tanbur lute.
The award-winning Shams Ensemble has performed over hundreds of concerts in Iran and around the world and recorded many best-selling albums. In 2007, Shams Ensemble performed with whirling dervishes from Konya, Turkey for four sold-out nights in Tehran’s renowned Royal Palace, Saadabad; these performances marked the first Sufi concerts performed in Iran and attracted national and international attention.
Hidden in Heart (2012)
the Land of Love (2013)
Sewi Sour (2013)
the Land of Sun (2013)
Salar Aghili is one of the leading Persian classical vocalists of his generation. He was born in Tehran in 1977, has studied under the guidance of Sediq Taarif and combined training in the vocal repertoire of the old tradition with the delicate contemporary style of master Mohammad Reza Shajarian.
As a young and distinguished vocalist, he gained attention internationally through his collaboration with musicians, composers and ensembles including the Tehran Symphonic Orchestra, the Iran National Orchestra and the Dastan Ensemble.
His extensive credits include prestigious music festivals throughout the world, and acclaimed recordings.
Tombak and daf master Pezhham Akhavass has a unique approach to rhythm has gained him recognition as one of the most distinguished Iranian percussionists of his generation.
Born in 1980, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from Tehran’s Sureh University. He began learning music theory under the instruction of Naser Nazar at the age of five.
With the support of his father, be began studying the tombak under the guidance of Naser Farhanghfar. He also met members of the Masters in Persian Music, including Hossein Alizadeh and Kayhan Kalhor, and performed with them both locally and on tour in Iran and Europe.
He has collaborated with Irish harp player Diana Rowan and world music sensation Mamak Khadem.
Currently, Pezhham lives in San Francisco, California where he teaches private classes in tombak, daf and setar.
The Sky At Dawn, with Diana Rowan
Shahram Nazeri (Quartertone Productions, 2007) Tombak (2008) Percussions (2008) The Passion of Rumi, with
Liberated [Raha], with Payam Jahanman
Song-of-Sparrows [Avaze Gonjeshkha], with Hossein Alizadeh
Breeze and wheat field [Nasim o Gandomzar], with Aliakbar Moradi The Road, with Mamak Khadem (Innova, 2015)
Pedram Khavar Zamini, one of the world’s leading Iranian tombak players, has been living in France for few years now. Tombak is the main percussion instrument in classical Persian music, and Pedram is considered to be one of the most innovative players.
He started to learn playing the tombak alongside masters Kamyar Mohabbat and Bahman Rajabi. Pedram was a talented student.
Pedram founded his own tombak percussion group, named “Varashan”. He released his debut album “Koutah”, featuring compositions by Pedram for tombak, with Hamid Ghambary, which was produced in Iran and Europe.
Because of his rhythmical knowledge and his technique, he collaborated with important classical Persian musicians such as Sharam Nazeri, Dariush Talai, Kayhan Kalhor and Ali Akbar Moradi.
From 2002 to 2004, he toured the United States with Kayhan Kalhor’s Ensemble, organized by the World Music Institute, and in Germany with George Petrov and Ross Daly for the “Bowed Instrument Festival”.
After meeting with Ross Daly in Germany, Pedram decided to leave Iran and join Ross in Greece. He recorded “Iris” with and under the direction of Ross Daly, which was a meeting point of Pedram with some very popular artists from India and Iran: Dhruba Ghosh, Partha Sarathi Mukherjee, Hamid Khabazi, along with the Greek virtuosos Vasilis Rakopoulos, Kelli Thoma, Giorgis Xylouris.
Pedram also became a member of the Labyrinth group, led by Ross Daly. Always eager to explore in different musical worlds, Pedram, so far, has met and played with numerous gifted musicians for all around the globe such as Habil Aliev, Mohamad Rahim Khushnawaz, Dariush Talai, Sharam Nazeri, Djamchid Chemirani, Ballake Sissoko, Zohar Fresco, Kelly Thoma, Ellika Frisell, Dhruba Gosh, Khaled, Hossein Arman, Giorgos Xylouris, Siamak Aghaie, Stelios Petrakis, Vassilis Stavrakakis, etc. He has also recorded CDs with celebrated musicians such as Habil Aliev and Mohamad Rahim Khushnawaz.
Since 2005, he has developed his career as a soloist. In 2008, he recorded a CD with Siwan Project (Jon Balke, Amina Alaoui, Jon Hassell) on the the ECM label. As a result of this project, Jon Hassell invited Pedram to play with his band Marifa’s street for some concerts in Norway.
Pedram created the Abi Trio (Blue Trio) with Siamak Aghaie (santur) and Hamid Ghanbary (percussion), using the traditional Persian repertoire but giving a bigger role to percussion.
His dazzling tombak technique, coupled with his Persian, Indian, Turkish, and Jazz musical influences have given him the privilege of being a unique tombak player.
Pedram knows how to mix the traditional Iranian foundation with his own modern patterns. Through this alchemy, he creates new sounds. He has an extremely developed sense of improvisation.
“One of the foremost exponents of the younger generation is definitely Pedram khavarzamini who studied for many years with the great Master Bahman Rajabi,” said Ross Daly. “Pedram, apart from having worked extensively with major Iranian artists as both a soloist and accompanist, has also done a lot of groundbreaking work with ensembles of exclusively percussion instruments. The percussion group Koutah which he founded is without doubt at the forefront of what is in fact a new development in Iranian music which promises to open up many new avenues of expression in an already rich tradition.”
* Dar gozar, with Reza Fayaz (Kargah-e-mouseghi, 1998)
* Koutah (Avay-e-doost, 1999)
* Soor-va-soog, with Jahan Giri (Khane Honar, 2000)
* Dar khane aftab, with Reza Fayaz (Hozey-e-honari, 2001)
* Iris, with Ross Daly (Protasis, 2003)
* Zikr, with Kjetil Selvik (Etnisk Musikklubb, 2004)
* Ston Anamniseon Tin Exoria, with Mitsos Stavrakakis (Seistron Music, 2005)
* Ey ke Deldari, with Mohsen Keramati (Beethoven, 2006)
* Koutah (Seistron Music, 2006)
* Siwan (ECM, 2008)
Keyvan Saket is an Iranian composer and tar and setar instrumentalist. Keyvan is a master of traditional Persian music who, after recording and touring extensively throughout Iran and abroad with traditional ensembles, began experimenting with creative arrangements of well-known Western classical music using the tar and setar.
Saket was born in 1960 in Mashad, Iran. He learned tar from his uncle, Manoucher Zamanian. In 1989, Saket joined the Aref Ensemble under the leadership of Parviz Meshkatian.
In addition to his work with Aref Ensemble, Keyvan Saket created the Vaziri Orchestra.
Shabi Ba Khorshid
Yadgare Khone Sarv
Sashti Avaz Learn
Didare Shargh Va Gharb
Bi Karvane Koli
An Soye Abo Gel
Kaykhosro Pournazeri, born in Kermanshah (Iran), studied music under master musicians Ostad Vaziri and Darvish Khan. He began his university studies in engineering, but soon realized his musical interests were stronger and left engineering to start music training at the Department of Fine Arts at Tehran University.
In 1971, he began working at the Department of Culture and Art, studying and recording Kurdish music, and directing orchestras of both Kurdish and Persian traditional music. After the Iranian revolution he started to exclusively research the sacred, little-known tanbur, and began composing modern classical Persian music for it.
The establishment of the Shams Ensemble in 1980 by Kaykhosro was a turning point in the development of modern classical Persian music, combining a deep understanding of the music and the spiritual meaning of the tanbur with the poetry of Rumi and the daf frame drum.
Through the Shams School of Music that he founded, Kaykhosro has taught numerous students.
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.