Morteza Neydavoud (1900-1990), celebrated composer of music and performer and instructor of the tār was born to a Persian Jewish family in Isfahan during the Qajar times. His father Bala Khan played the tonbak, and Neydavoud taught himself to play the tar at an early age. Recognizing his son’s talent in music, the elder Neydavoud apprenticed the seven-year-old to Ramazan Khan Zolfaqari who was a student of the great master of the tar, Mirza Hosseingholi. After two years, Ramazan Khan took Morteza to his master Mirza Hosseingholi.
In Hosseingholi’s school, Neydavoud practiced the radif of the traditional music of Persia. After Hosseingholi’s death, Neydavoud continued his musical education with his best student and successor, Darvish Khan. With Darvish Khan, Neydavoud completed the study of radif and proceeded to learn other musical forms, such as pishdaramad, zarbi (rhythmic pieces), and tasnif. Neydavoud became Darvish Khan’s best student.
Several years later, Neydavoud participated in concerts with his brothers, Mousa and Soleyman, and other notable musicians, such as Abolhassan Saba, Reza Mahjoubi, Morteza Mahjoubi, Arsalan Dargahi, Reza Ravanbakhsh, and Qamarolmolouk Vaziri. In addition to his concerts and recordings, Neydavoud established a school for music, which he named Darvish. In 1940 he was invited, along with a group of other well-known musicians, to join the staff of the Radio Iran. However, administration of the Radio Iran made it impossible for Neydavoud to maintain a free and productive career in the organization and he left it and became reclusive at the height of his creativity.
He continued his involvement with music only through a small circle of close friends, acquaintances, and private students. Neydavoud returned to the radio some thirty years later, when he finally accepted its invitation to record his version of the radif of Persian traditional music. Within a period of about one-and-a-half years, he meticulously recorded the radif as he remembered receiving it from his masters, resulting in a body of almost 300 audiocassettes.