M.R. Shajarian is the undisputed master of Avaz (Persian traditional
singing). Under the tutelage of his father, he began singing at the
age of five, in his native Mash'ad (Khorasan, in northeastern Iran). By
the age of twelve, he was studying the Radif (the traditional repertoire
and basis of all Persian traditional music, made up of twelve Dastgahs,
or modes). He was inspired by the late master Banan, and also studied
under master Davami. His singing career began in 1959 at Radio Khorasan,
where he quickly rose to prominence in the 1960s. Shajarian has had
an illustrious career--teaching, researching the music of Iran, and
performing around the world. In 1999, UNESCO awarded him the prestigious
Picasso Medal, which is awarded annually to musicians who have contributed
to peace, dialogue and international cooperation. Previous honorees
include: singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; composer, Dimitri Shostakovich;
and violinist, Yehudi Menuhin.
Hossein Alizadeh --on tar and setar--graduated from the Tehran Music
Conservatory and later received a baccalaureate in composition
and performance from the University of Tehran School of Music.
Contemporaneously, he studied under various masters of traditional Persian
music, including, Zarif, Shahnazi, Borumand, Karimi and Davami. He has
conducted and performed as a soloist for the Iranian National Radio and
Television Orchestra, co-founded the Aref ensemble, and performed with
the Shayda ensemble. Alizadeh has performed around the world and composed
extensively, including numerous orchestral works, as well as film scores;
he has also taught at the University of Tehran--where he was Rector of
the School of Music--and at California Institute of the Arts.
Kayhan Kalhor --kamancheh virtuoso, began his music studies at the age
of seven, under master Mohajer, and appeared with the Iranian National
Radio and Television Orchestra, and the Shayda ensemble during his teens.
He has composed works for Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Kronos Quartet, and
most recently, for cellist Yo-Yo Ma's "Silk Road Project." Kalhor has
toured extensively, performing with Shahram Nazeri and Hossein Alizadeh.
He is also one of the founders of the Dastan ensemble--one of the
most important Iranian ensemble groups today--and of the collaborative
Indo-Persian group Ghazal.
Homayoun Shajarian, the son of Mohammad Reza Shajarian, grew up with
Persian classical music, playing the tombak at the age of five, then
progressing to daf, and finally Avaz. He studied tombak and daf under
master Farhangar and Mohebbi, and has performed with many ensembles and
accompanied his father on tombak at concerts around the world. During
this time, he has also quietly been studying Avaz with his father. At
this concert, you will witness the beauty and technical ability of another
Shajarian voice--a voice, which is said to rival his father's--as Homayoun
Shajarian makes his singing debut.