Tag Archives: Persian classical music

Artist Profiles: Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh, born in Tehran (Iran) in 1951, studied with various masters of traditional Persian music including Ali Akbar Khan Shahnazi, Nur Ali Borumand, Abdollah Davami, Mahmood Karimi, and Houshang Zarif.

He further expanded his formal education by studying composition and musicology at the University of Berlin. Alizadeh was awarded a position with the National Orchestra of Iran and later became the conductor and soloist of the Iranian National Radio and Television Orchestra.

He founded the Aref Ensemble and performed with the Shayda Ensemble, both dedicated to the promotion and advancement of Iranian classical music, and participated in the orchestra of the Bejart Ballet Company in a performance of Gulistan by Maurice Bejart.

In 2000, the Ministry of Culture in Iran declared him to be the best contemporary artist. He has composed many works of contemporary and neo-classical Iranian music and published a number of etudes for tar and setar.

Notable works include Hessar, Ney Nava and Song of Compassion, as well as film scores for Gabbeh, A Time for Drunken Horses and Turtles Can Fly. In addition, he recorded the entire body of the radif based on the interpretation of Mirza Abdollah.

He has performed extensively throughout the United States of America, Europe and Asia and taught at the University of Tehran, Tehran Music Conservatory and the California Institute of the Arts.

His album Endless Vision received a Grammy nomination for Best World Music Album of 2006.

in 2016 he toured with percussionist Pejman Hadadi.

Discography

* Homayun

* Nava (Mahoor Institute, 1976)

* Paykubi (Mahoor Institute, )

* Chahargah & Bayat-e Tork (Mahoor Institute, )

* Savaran-e Dasht-e Omid (Riders of the Plain of Hope)(1977)

* Hamnavayi (Mahoor Institute, )

* Hesar (1977)

* Osyan (Revolt) (1983)

* Dream (1986)

* Torkaman (Mahoor Institute, 1986)

* Raz-o-Niaz (Mahoor Institute, 1986)

* Alizadeh Live at the Los Angeles Festival (Kereshmeh Records, 1995)

* NeyNava / Song of Compassion (Kereshmeh Records, 1995)

* Raz-O-Niaz (Kereshmeh Records, 1995)

* Shourangiz (Song of Campassion) (Mahoor Institute, 1988)

* Iranian Music: Saz-Eno (Buda Musique, 1998)

* Raz-e No (New Secret) (Mahoor Institute, 1999)

* Zemestan ast (It’s Winter) (Soroush Co., 2000)

* Masters of Improvisation (2002)

* Without You (World Village, 2002)

* Sallaneh (Mahoor Institute, 2003)

* Faryad (World Village, 2005)

* Endless Vision (World Village, 2006)

* Ode To Flowers, with Hamavayan Ensemble (Ba Music Records, 2007)

* Half Moon (Ba Music Records, 2009)

* Echoes of Light with Madjid Khaladj (Ba Music Records, 2009)

* Birthplace of Earth, with Hamavayan Ensemble (Ba Music Records, 2010)

* Eşqim Gəl, with Hamavayan Ensemble (2014)

web site: www.hosseinalizadeh.net

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Artist Profiles: Fariborz Azizi

Fariborz Azizi

Fariborz Azizi was born in Tehran (Iran) in 1961. He has performed on tar and setar for more than 30 years. Before devoting himself to classical Persian music, he obtained a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tehran University.

He first became attracted to music during his teenage years listening to the radio show Golchin Hafteh. He was heavily influenced by Chavosh musical masters including Hossein Alizadeh, who has been his master for more than 10 years.

Since 2006, he lives in Los Angeles where he teaches tar and setar classes, holds lectures, performs concerts and composes traditional and contemporary Persian music.

website: fariborzazizi.com

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Artist Profiles: Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh

Vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh was born in 1964, studied under the supervision of Mohammad Reza Shajarian, a living legend in Iranian classical music. He has performed with various renowned artists and groups, including the Shams Ensemble, the Aref Ensemble, the Ukraine Philharmonic Orchestra, and the great santur maestro Faramarz Payvar.

He performed with Kayhan Kalhor at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, and is currently the director of Iran’s House of Music. He made his New York debut at Zankel Hall at Carnegie in the fall of 2008.

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Artist Profiles: Hamid Reza Taqavi

Hamid Reza Taqavi, born in 1976 in Iranian Azerbaijan, began playing santur at the age of 11 under the direction of Ibrahim Safari and continued his studies with Master Parviz Meshkatian and renowned santur player Ardavan Kamkar. In addition to Persian traditional music, he is also versed in modern music techniques. He joined the Shams Ensemble in 2001.

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Artist Profiles: Alireza Ghorbani

Alireza Ghorban

Vocalist Alireza Ghorbani, born in 1972, began studying the Persian classical repertoire (radif) at the age of 12 with such masters as Mehdi Fallah, Hossein Omoumi and Ahmad Ebrahimi. His later work with Ali Tajvidi and Farhad Fakhre’ddini opened new horizons as he experimented with art songs (tasnif) from radio broadcasts of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1999, he joined Farhad Fakhre’ddini’s National Iranian Orchestra as lead vocalist, performing in Iran and abroad. His warm, resonant voice and songs that speak to the spirit of the times in Iran have made him particularly popular. He has made many recordings and collaborated with Majid Derakhshani, Sadeq Cheraghi, Pezhman Taheri, Houshang Kamkar, the National Iranian Orchestra, and the Shams Ensemble.

On Rapture, Alireza Ghorbani collaborates with Tunisian singer Dorsaf Hamdani for the first time. It presents a dialog between the Arabic and Persian cultures.

Discography:

Ivresses / Rapture (Accords Croisés, 2011)

Eperdument (Accords Croises, 2015)

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Sahba Motallebi and T.J. Troy at Music Vault Academy in Laguna Hills

Sahba Motallebi
Sahba Motallebi

Iranian tar and setar maestra Sahba Motallebi and percusionist T.J. Troy are set to perform on Saturday, October 15 at The Music Vault Academy in Laguna Hills, south of Los Angeles.

Sahba Motallebi is one of the leading performers of the tar and setar, lute-style stringed instruments that are fundamental in Persian classical music. For the past years, Sahba has lived near Los Angeles.

T.J. Troy plays percussion from various parts of the world. He is one of the most multidimensional and sought after percussionist in Los Angeles. He is principal percussionist for MESTO, an internationally recognized orchestra specializing in Middle Eastern Classical Music.

Music Vault Academy
25255 Cabot Rd #100, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Tickets are still available at www.musicvaultacademy.eventbrite.com or by calling 949-257-2744.

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Artist Profiles: Sahba Motallebi

Sahba Motallebi
Sahba Motallebi

Sahba Motallebi is recognized internationally as a modern expert of the Iranian tar and setar, lute-type stringed instruments that are essential to one of the world’s great musical traditions. Sahba started studying music as a young girl in Sari, a small coastal city in the north of Iran.

In 1993, at the age of 14, she initiated her studies at the Tehran Conservatory of Music, where she was recognized as Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival for four consecutive years.

After graduating in 1997, Sahba Motallebi helped found the pioneering women’s music ensemble Chakaveh. In 1999, Motallebi was invited to join the Iranian National Orchestra.

In 2003, Motallebi left Iran to pursue graduate studies in music in Russia, Turkey, and the United States and has lived near Los Angeles for the past years. She continues to perform worldwide, and has released several CDs and published two books on Iranian classical music.

Sahba Motallebi is also much-admired as an innovator in music education, with her online instructional materials and courses reaching students throughout the world.

Discography:

Presentation of Young Artists (2003)
Dashti-Nava (2005)
Solace of the eyes (2006),
Ever lasting songs of Iran Vol. I & II (2001)
Ancient Heritage anew (2011)
Dream and Illusion (2012)
A Tear at the Crossroad of Time (2014)

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Classical Persian Music

Classical Persian music is an ancient art form and one of the earliest musical traditions known today. Because of the geographic location and sociopolitical role of the ancient Persian empire, Persian music and culture has contributed enormously to the foundation of many other musical traditions in Central Asia, Asia Minor, China and North India. Since becoming associated with Islamic culture after the Arab invasion (7th century AD), it has traveled throughout the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean.

The classical music of Iran is in some ways similar and analogous to the classical musics of the Arabic world, Turkey and even India, but it is also a self-contained system more or less independent of its neighbors. In the twelfth century, a second system, that of Western classical music, has grown up parallel to that of the Persian art , and today the two coexist, largely leaving each other alone but in various ways cross-fertilizing each other.

The term "maqam," as a modal entity, for the first time appeared in a Persian musical treatise, i.e. the music section of Durrat al-Taj by Qutb al-Din Shirazi, in the 13th century. This concept with its nominal variants (maqam, makam, maqom, mugham, etc.) has dominated many musical cultures in the Islamic world, from Chinese Turkistan and Kashmir to Turkey and the Arab world. Although it has been the main modal concept (along with other modal entities such as avaza/avaze and shu’ba/sho’be and later gushe) in Persian music for a long time, seemingly around the late Safavid period (ruled 1502-1736) and afterwards gradually a new concept, the dastgah, was introduced to Iranian music.

The history of Persian music in the twentieth century has seen the development of strategies for survival in the face of Western music, and these strategies often involved borrowing from those elements in which Western music is strong. For example, Western notation has been adapted to Persian music and while it has done its share to change the character of Persian music, it has also increased the degree to which Iranian music students are willing to learn their tradition.

Persian music is mainly melodic. It makes almost no use of harmony, and its performance is most typically solo, although sometimes a soloist is accompanied by an instrument which echoes and recapitulates each phrase as the artist performs it, a technique also widely used in Arabic, Turkish and Indian music. Its essence is neither the dramatic nor is it the intellectual or cerebral, but rather its quality is mystical and contemplative. Persian musicians recognize this, for in speaking of their music they never fail to relate it to the great lyrical tradition of Persian literature and to Sufism, the mystical movement of Islam whose special home is Iran.

Much of the music has no meter, no beat, but proceeds with a rhythm akin to that of speech. Its rhythmic structure is surely related to the rhythms of Persian poetry. Nevertheless, there is also a great deal of metric music, and this, normally accompanied by a drum.

Improvisation is the most important tenet of classical music of Iran. The musician creates in the moment and simultaneously performs for the audience. The presence and spirit of the audience plays an important role in the feeling and the creative process of the improvisation. The improviser combines creativity and technique with the internalized melodies and rhythms to express his or her individual feelings. To become an improviser is to reach the ultimate stage in the musician’s creative development. To reach such a level of mastery the musician must be rich in technique, emotions, innovation, experience and knowledge. The musician becomes a master once he or she has achieved such a level of virtuosity and has cultivated the art of performance and teaching.

The collection of melodies in Persian classical music called Radif is organized into twelve modes. Seven larger ones called dastgahs (Mahour, Shour, Nava, Rast Panj-gah, Homayoun, Segah, Chahargah) and five smaller sub-sets to these called avaz or maqam (Abu-Ata, Bayat-E-Zand or Bayat-E-Tork, Dashti, Afshari, Bayat-E-Isfahan). Each of these modes are divided into smaller melodic forms called gushehs, which vary in terms of meter, length, expression and importance.

Each dastgah is thought to have a specific character and mood. The material of the dastagh is, then, the basis for actual performance. During the early part of the twentieth century, a model for what might be called a complete performance evolved. It consists of five parts, all cast in one dastgah, but, in fact, not all of them need appear and it is quite common to hear one or two of them used alone. These five pieces are: pishdaramad, chahar mezrab, avaz, tasnif, and reng.

The Radif is memorized by musicians and students, which is how the repertoire has been preserved throughout the ages. The Radif also serves as a musical vehicle to teach, and as a reference point for improvisation.

[This article is partially based on texts by the World Music Institute in New York and Hooman Asadi, Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Director of the Ethnomusicology Program, Music Department, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran].

Recommended recordings:

Bibliography:

Classical Persian Music (Radif) (Paperback) by Freydoon Arbabi. Publisher: Freydoon Arbabi (December 12, 2000).
ISBN: 0971840806.

Traditional Persian Art Music: The Radif of Mirza Abdullah (Bibliotheca Iranica – Performing Arts Series , No 3) (Hardcover) by Dariush Tala’I. Bibliotheca Persica; Bk&CD edition (August 1, 1999). ISBN: 1568590393.

Classical Persian Music: An Introduction (Hardcover) by Ella Zonis. Harvard University Press (January 1, 1973).
ISBN: 0674134354.

Music and Song in Persia: The Art of Avaz (Persian Art and Culture) (Hardcover) by Lloyd Miller. University of Utah Press (October 1999). ISBN: 0874806143.

Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Annemarie Schimmel. University of North Carolina Press (June 1975). ISBN: 0807812714.

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