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Masters of Classical Persian Music

Mohammad Reza Shajarian - "The Iranian Paravotti"
Kayhan Kalhor - "Composer, fiddler, and collaborator with Yo Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project
Hossein Alizadeh - "Master of Persian Lutes (Tar)"
Homayoun Shajarian - "Tombak, Percussion, Vocals"

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.

Shajarian, Master of Persian Music in Farsi Shajarian the greatest Iranian Musician in Persian

"We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust" Rumi

2001 North America Tour => Boston, New York, San Francisco and Duke University in Durham North Carolina


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