Sarkash is the first of the three famous musicians of the Sassanids (alongside Barbad and Nakisa).

He was the top musician of the Sassanid court just before Barbad. He had the same ethnic background as Shirin (the wife of king Khosro II who is believed to be of Aramean origins). The name Sarkash (or Sarkesh) is probably the Persian version of Sergios.


Barbad (or Barbod) was a poet and musician of the Sassanid era who lived during the rule of Khosow II (590 to 628 AD). Only scant information, mostly of a legendary nature, is preserved about Barbod in the Arabic and Persian sources.  According to these, he was the most distinguished and talented minstrel-poets of his epoch. In most sources, Jahrom, a small city south of shiraz in the Fars province is mentioned as his birthplace.

Barbod was a poet-musician who used to compose verses and sing them to his own accompaniment on various state occasions, e.g.,the great Iranian festivals, especially Nowrooz and Mehregan, or at other state banquets, etc.  He also versified military victories and current events. He has been credited with creating an organisation of the Persian musical system consisting of seven “Royal Modes” named khosrovani. Based on this system he created thirty derivative modes for each day of the month (named lahn [tunes]) and 360 melodies (named dastan [story]) for each day of the year; to be played at the banquets of the king. Neẓāmī (in his Ḵhosrow Shirin) mentions the name of these 30 tunes.

His musical theories are not known, however the writers of later period have left a list for some e Shahryar [the Sovereign’s Garden], and haft Ganj [the seven treasures]. There are also some of a descriptive nature like roshan cheragh [bright lights]. This is the oldest Middle Eastern musical system of which some traces still exist. Its enduring heritage is the names given to some of today’s gushehs of the various dastgahs in the current system of Persian classical music.


Nakisa is the Arabicized pronunciation of the word Nagisa. It originates from the Persian word negin (meaning “jewel”). Nakisa was the court musician of the Sassanids.

The main theme of her songs were in praise of king Khosro II. She collaborated with Barbod on her famous septet piece the Royal Khosravani. She was also a master harp player in the Royal Persian Court and composed the national anthem of the time.


Ramtin is another of the famous musicians of the Sassanid period and a contemporary of Barbo and Nakisa. He is known as the developer of the Persian harp and a master of this instrument. Ramtin is a Persian name meaning he who gives solace. It is said the famous love story “Veys and Ramin” is based on him.


Bamshad was one of the famous and skilled musicians (with Barbad, Nakisa, and Ramtin) who lived in the Persian Sassanid dynasty when Xusro Parviz was in power (591-628). His name comes from his practice of playing music at dawn every day: “bam” and “shad” translate as “dawn” and “happiness”.

Ibrahim Al-Mausili

Ibrahim Al-Mausili or Mawsili (742–804), a singer, was born of Kurdish parents who had settled in Kufa. In his early years his parents died and he was trained by an uncle. At the age of 24 he met an ambassador of the caliph Al-Mansur, who enabled him to come to Basra and take singing lessons. His fame as a singer spread, and the caliph Mahdi brought him to the court. Harun al-Rashid kept him always with him until his death.

Ibrahim, as might be expected, was no strict Muslim. Two or three times he was imprisoned for excess in wine-drinking, but was always taken into favor again. His powers of song were far beyond anything else known at the time. He was one of the first Two of his pupils, his sons Isiaq and Muariq, attained celebrity after him. He founded the rhythmic makhori (mahoor) scale and was the first to introduce Persian music to Arabic singing. Many of his pupils, including his sons, in turn became very famous musicians.

Mansour Zalzal

Mansour Zalzal, (late 7th to early 8th century AD) was an Iranian Musician and composer of Al-Kufa during the Abbasid era. He was considered to be the best barbat player of his time. He contributed to the theory of musical scales that were later named after him (the Mansouri scale) and introduced positions (intervals) within scales such as the wasati-zalzal.

Mansour made improvements to the design of the lute instrument. He, himself taught by Ibrahim al-Mawsili, was the Teacher of his son, the great musician Ishaq al-Mawsili.

Ishaq al-Mausili

Ishaq al-Mausili (or Mawsili) was a Persian musician at the court of Harun al-Rashid.

He was born into a famous family of musicians from Kufa in Iraq; his father Ibrahim al-Mausili held the same position at the court before him. He was also the teacher of the influential Zaryab (or Ziryab). He summarised the known theories of music of the time and introduced the concept of harmony into Persian music which was lost after him and revived only by Ibn Sina.


 Abu l-Hasan ‘Ali Ibn Nafi’ (789-857), known as Ziryab (or Zaryab), was a musician, singer, oud player, composer, poet and teacher; probably born in Baghdad of Iranian, Kurdish origins, who lived and worked in Iraq, Northern Africa and during more than 30 years, in Andalus – Spain. He was also a polymath, with knowledge in astronomy, geography, meterology, botanics, cosmetics, culinary art and fashion. He was active at the Umayyad court of Córdoba in Islamic Iberia. He first achieved notoriety at the Abbasid court in Baghdad, as a performer and student of the Persian musician and composer, Ishaq al-Mawsili. He left Baghdad during the reign of the Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mun (833) and moved to Córdoba in southern Iberian Peninsula, where he was accepted as a court musician in the court of Abd al-Rahman II of the Umayyad Dynasty (822-52).

Ziryab revolutionized the court at Córdoba and made it the stylistic capital of its time. Whether introducing new clothes, styles, foods, hygiene products, or music Zaryab changed Andalusian culture forever. The musical contributions of Zaryab alone are staggering, laying the early groundwork for classic Spanish music. He established one of the first schools of music in Córdoba. This school incorporated both male and female students. Zaryab is said to have improved the Oud by adding a fifth pair of strings, and using an eagle’s beak or quill instead of a wooden pick. He also dyed the four strings a color to symbolize the Aristotelian humors, and the fifth string to represent the soul. He is considered instrumental in the invention of the Spanish Guitar. He created a unique and influential style of musical performance, and written songs that were performed in Iberia for generations. He was a great influence on Spanish music, and is considered the founder of the Andalusian music traditions of North Africa.


Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki was a Persian poet, and is regarded as the first great literary genius of the Modern Persian, who composed poems in the “New Persian” alphabet. Rudaki is considered as the “father of Persian classical poetry”.

His poetry contains many of the oldest genres of Persian poetry including the quatrain. Only a small percentage of his extensive poetry has survived. Of the 1,300,000 verses attributed to him, only 52 qasidas, ghazals and rubais survived; of his epic masterpieces we have nothing beyond a few stray lines in native dictionaries. However, the most serious loss is that of his translation of Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa’s Arabic version of the old Indian fable book Kalila and Dimna (Panchatantra), which he put into Persian verse.

Rudaki was also very adept singer and instrumentalist. he was considered an expert in Chang – the Persian Harp.


Abū Naṣr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Fārābī known in the West as Alpharabius , was born in Fārāb – between (950 – 951). His birthplace is given in the classical sources as either Fāryāb in Greater Khorasan or Fārāb in modern Kazakhstan. He was a renowned scientist and philosopher of the Islamic Golden Age. He was also a cosmologist, logician, and musician. Through his commentaries and treatises, Al-Farabi became well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals as “The Second Teacher”, that is, the successor to Aristotle, “The First Teacher”.

Farabi wrote a book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqa (The Book of Music). This book is in reality a study of the theory of Persian music of his day although in the West it has been introduced as a book on Arab music. He also presents in his writings, philosophical principles about music, its cosmic qualities and its influences. Al-Farabi’s treatise on “Meanings of the Intellect” dealt with music therapy too, where he discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.


Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā (c. 980 – June 1037), commonly known as Ibn Sina or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath, who wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, including music, of which around 240 have survived. In particular, 150 of his surviving treatises concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine. The two subjects for which he is better known.

His most famous works are “The Book of Healing”, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopaedia, and “The Canon of Medicine”, which was used as a textbook in the universities of Montpellier and Leuven as late as 1650. It provides a complete system of medicine according to the principles of Galen (and Hippocrates).

His corpus also includes writing on philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, geology, psychology, Islamic theology, logic, mathematics, physics, as well as poetry and music. He is regarded as the most famous and influential polymath of the “Islamic Golden Age”. A number of works related to his theory of music have also survived. Almost half of Ibn Sīnā’s works are versified. His poems appear in both Arabic and Persian.

Naser Khosro

Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani or Nāsir Khusraw Qubādiyānī [also spelled as Naser Khosrow or Naser Khosro] (1004 – 1088 CE) was a Persian poet, philosopher, Isma’ili scholar, traveler and one of the greatest writers in Persian literature.

He was born in Qubadyan, a village in Bactria in eastern Iranian province of Khorasan, present-day in modern Tajikistan, and died in Yamagan, Central Asia (now in Afghanistan). He is considered one of the great poets and writers in Persian literature. The Safarnameh, an account of his travels, is his most famous work. He was also a musician and is said to have written extensively on the subject.

Nasir al-Din al-Tusi

Khawaja Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Hasan Tūsī (born 1201 in Ṭūs, Khorasan – died 1274 in al-Kāżimiyyah district of Baghdad), better known as Nasīr al-Dīn Tūsī or simply Tusi), was a Persian polymath and a prolific writer: an architect, astronomer, biologist, chemist, mathematician, philosopher, physician, physicist, scientist and theologian.

He was also very interested in the theory of music. He wrote a treatise on the proportions of musical intervals perceivable in the pulse which influenced the musical theories of Safi al-Din al-Urmawi. He was of the Ismaili belief.

Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi

Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi (1236 – 1311) was a 13th-century Persian polymath and poet who made contributions to astronomy, mathematics, medicine, physics, music theory, philosophy and Sufism. He was born in Kazerun to a family with a tradition of Sufism. His father, Zia’ al-Din Mas’ud Kazeruni was a physician by profession and also a leading Sufi of the Kazeruni order. Zia’ Al-Din received his Kherqa (Sufi robe) from Shahab al-Din Omar Suhrawardi.

Quṭb al-Din began studying medicine under his father. He also studied the Qanun of the famous Persian scholar Avicenna and its commentaries. In particular he read the commentary of Fakhr al-Din Razi on the Canon of Medicine. Qutb al-Din raised many issues of his own. This led to a decision to write his own commentary, where he resolved many of the issues in the company of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi who was his teacher.

Qutb al-Din had an insatiable desire for learning, which is evidenced by the twenty-four years he spent studying with masters of the time. He was also distinguished by his extensive breadth of knowledge, a clever sense of humor and indiscriminate generosity. He was also a master chess player and played the musical instrument known as the Rabab. He contributed a number of important works in the study of Persian musical theories and in particular its relationship to Iranian mysticism.

Safi al-Din al-Urmawi

Safi al-Din al-Urmawi or Safi al-Din Abd al-Mu’min ibn Yusuf ibn al-Fakhir al-Urmawi (1216 – 1294) was a renowned musician and a authority on the theory of Persian and Arabic music. As a composer, Urmawi cultivated the vocal forms of ṣawt, qawl and nawba. In the anonymous Persian Kanz al-tuḥaf of the 8th century AH (14th century AD), he is also credited with the development of two stringed musical instruments, the nuzha and the mughnī.

Al-Urmawi’s most important work are two books on music theory, the Kitab al-Adwār and Risālah al-Sharafiyyah fi ‘l-nisab al-taʾlifiyyah. The Kitab al-Adwār is the first extant work on scientific music theory after the writings on music of Avicenna. It contains valuable information on the practice and theory of music in the Persian cultural area, such as the factual establishment of the five-stringed lute, the final stage in the division of the octave into 17 steps, the complete nomenclature and definition of the scales constituting the system of the twelve Makams (called shudūd) and the six Awāz modes. It also contains precise depictions of contemporary musical metres, and the use of letters and numbers for the notation of melodies. It is the first time that this occurs in history, making it a unique work of greatest value.

Urmawi was in contact with the Persian scholar Nasir al-Din Tusi who left a short treatise on the proportions of musical intervals perceivable in the pulse may have stimulated al-Urmawī’s interest in Greek science and music theory.

Amir Khosrow

Ab’ul Hasan Yamīn ud-Dīn Khusrow (1253-1325 CE) better known as Amīr Khosrow was a musician, scholar and poet. He was an iconic figure in the cultural history of the Indian subcontinent. A Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, Amīr Khusrow was not only a notable poet but also a prolific and seminal musician. He wrote poetry primarily in Persian, but also in Hindavi.

He is regarded as the “father of qawwali” (the devotional music of the Sufis in the Indian subcontinent). He is also credited with enriching Hindustani classical music by introducing Persian and Arabic elements in it, and was the originator of the khayal and tarana styles of music. The invention of the tabla is also traditionally attributed to Amīr Khusrow.

Amir Khusrow was prolific in tender lyrics as in highly involved prose and could easily emulate all styles of Persian poetry which had developed in medieval Persia, from Khāqānī’s forceful qasidas to Nizami’s khamsa. He used only 11 metrical schemes with 35 distinct divisions. The verse forms he has written include Ghazal, Masnavi, Qata, Rubai, Do-Beyti and Tarjiband. His contribution to the development of the ghazal, is particularly significant.

His writings on the Pardah system of music are a foundation stone of classical Indian music and probably explains the similarities that exist between North Indian and Iranian music. It is said he either invented the Indian Sitar or his Pardah system led directly to its invention. Sitar can make unlimited Pardah system by placing the 12-13 plectrums in various positions, thus exposing numerous potentialities.

Abdolqader Maraghi

Abdolqader ibn Ghaibi al-Hafiz al- Maraghi (died in 1434 AD) was the last great theorist-composer of the pre-modern era in the history of Iranian music. He was the author of Maqased al-Alhan, Djami’ al-Alhan and Sharh-I- Adwar as well as other books and treatises like Kanz al-Alhan, a treatise on Chinese instruments or Chinese Music. His music flourished in the Ottoman empire for more than five centuries. We know little about his childhood.

His place of birth, Maraghah, in Azerbaijan, was the capital of Halako Khan a century before his birth. His father, Safieddin, taught him music and the sciences. Abdolqader spent a few years of his  artistic life in the court of Ahmad and Houssin Jalayer in Baghdad. In 795 AH (1393 AD) Baghdad was occupied by Temore (Tamerlane 1336-1405), and sultan Ahmad Jalayer escaped to Egypt. Abdolqader was among those artists who had to be sent to Samarqand by Temore’s orders. Some historical evidence indicates that he remained in Samarqand until 800 AH(1398  AD). Abd al-Qadir became one of the brilliant men at the court of Timur’s son, Shahrukh . In 1421, he also wrote a musical treatise for the Ottoman Sultan Murad II. He died in Samarqand in 1435.

Ali-Akbar Farahani

Āghā Ali-Akbar Farāhāni was a musician and tar and setar player. He is the father of two significant musicians, Mirza Abdollah and Mirza Hossein Gholi, and the paternal grandfather of another outstanding musician, Ahmad Ebadi, Mirza Abdollah’s son.

The development of the modern repertoire (the seven “dastgah”) of Persian classical music is attributed to the Farahani family. The period after the decline of the Safavid period until Farahani’s time is considered as the “black” period of Persian music.

After his death, his nephew Agha Gholamhossein took over his mantle at the court and the teaching of his sons.

Soroor ol-Molk

Mohammad Sadegh Khan known as Soroor ol Molk (a title given to him by the Shah) was the director of court music during Nasereddin Shah (1831 – 1896).

He learnt Kamanche from his father (Matlab Khan) and santur from Hassan Khan Santurchi, but played most instruments of the time. After the death of his teacher Hassan Khan he was considered to be the leading santur player. He had a number of famous students, including Habib Sama Hozoor who learnt Santur from him. He was also the first to tune Western piano for Persian music.

Habib Sama Hozoor

Habib Sama Hozoor (1852-1917) was a percussionist and a santur player.

He was a student of Sorour ol Molk and played tonbak for him from a young age. He later also learnt santur from him. He was the father and teacher of Habib Samaii who became the most famous santur player of the Qajar period.

He was also a sportsman and a sufi of the Nemotallahi order and rarely played in public.

Mirza Abdollah Farahani

Mirza Abdollah, also known as Agha Mirza Abdollah Farahani (1843 – 1918) was a tar and setar player. He is among the most significant musicians in Iran’s history. Born in Tehran, he and his younger brother Mirza Hossein Gholi started learning music from their father Ali Akbar Farahani, and after his death from their cousin Agha Gholamhossein.

He is best known for his radif for tar and setar and for his fruitful music lessons. Abolhasan Saba, Esmaeil Ghahremani and Ali-Naqi Vaziri were among his students.

Gholamhosein Minbashian

Gholamhosein Minbashian (1861 – 1935) also known as Salar Moazez was a musician and the head of ntional Army’s orchestras.

He studied music in the famous dar-ol-fonoon school and after graduation went to St-Petersburg Conservatoire where he studied under Rimsky Korsakov. On his return to Iran he first worked with military band of the Kossak brigade stationed in Iran at the time. During the constitutional revolution because of his sympathies with the constitutionalists he left that post and left Iran for France. On his return to Iran he was appointed as the head of all the military orchestras. In 1921 he established the Musical Department of the Iranian army.

Minbashian was also well familiar with the traditional music of Iran. Indeed a number of important musicians that came later were trained by him. He was the first to introduce Western notation system to Iranian music.

Agha Gholamhossein

He was a tar player and worked for the Qajar court. He was taught by his uncle, Ali Akbar Farahani after whose death he took over the training of his sons, Mirza Abdolah and Agha Hoseyngholi  who in turn became a renowned tar players.

Mirza Hosseingholi

Mirza Hosseingholi, also known as Agha Mirza Hosseingholi Farahani, (1853– 1916) was a musician and tar player. He and his older brother Mirza Abdollah started learning music from their father Ali Akbar Farahani.

He is best known for his radif and for his unique style of playing tar. His best student was Ali Akbar Shahnazi, who collected and performed his father’s radif.

Hosein Khan Esmaiilzadeh

A famous Kamanche player of Qajar period who was a student of his father, Esmaiil, himself a well-know Kamanche playeruncle, and also his uncle Gholi Khan. He also learnt to play the violin.

He later joined the sufi group “anjoman-e okhovvat” (Brotherhood Association) and stopped performing music in public. He, bevertheless, continued to teach music.  Of his students, one can name, Abolhasan Saba, Rokeneddin Mokhtari, Hesamolsaltaneh and Hosein Yahaghi.

He is considered to be one of the greatest Kamanche players of the Qajar period who established many of the techniques still used in playing this instrument.

Mohammad Irani Mojarrad

Mohammad Irani Mojarrad (1872-1971) was a setar player and a student of Mirza Abdollah Farahani.

He was considered an expert on the Iranian musical radifs and created a school of music where he taught many famous musicians, including Daryush Safavvat, Abdollah Davami,and Mahmud Karimi. He has recorded a series of Iranian radif  for the Centre for Preservation and Devolopment of Iranian music.

Darvish Khan

Darvish Khan, Gholam Hossein Darvish (1872 –1926) was a Persian classical musician and a tar player. Darvish Khan was born in Tehran. His teachers included his father and Aqa Hosseingholi Farahani. He was a member of the Aziz Soltan music group. Later, he attended the Dar ol-Fonoon Music School.

He played an exceptional concert in the Grand Hotel of Tehran with other great masters of Persian music such as Aref Ghazvini, Hadji Khan Zarbgir, Ebrahim Mansouri, and Reza Mahjoubi. He also went to London in a 3-month journey to recorde a disc with Habibollah Shahrdar, Hussein Taher Zadeh, Bagher Khan Rameshgar, Asadollah Khan, and Akbar Flout. He also went to Teflis, in Georgia with Bagher Khan, Hussein Taher Zadeh, Eghbal Azar, and Abdollah Davami for one year.

Darvish was a very talented player and composer of tar. Despite the fact that he was considered as one of the masters of the ninteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, he had a really modern ways of performing and composing. Indeed he was very talented in compositing. He also recorded many disc playing Tar and singing. He added a sixth cord to this instrument in order to extend its tuning possibilities and to enhance its sound. He is known to have invented ‘pish-daramad’, a free-standing composition played at the beginning of a performance.

Hesam al saltaneh

Jahangir Morad, known as Hesamalsaltaneh (1881 – 1961) learnt violin in his youth but moved on to become also a well known piano, setar and oud player. He was a close friend of Aref Ghazvini and a supporter of the constitutionalist movement. He  wrote many songs for the movement with critical social and political themes.

Moshir Homayoun Shahrdar

Habibollah Shahrdar known as Moshir Homayoun Shahrdar (1886–1969) was an Iranian pianist. He was born in Tehran and was the first known Iranian pianist.

He played and composed Persian Music for piano. His father was Nasrollah Khan Sepah Salar. His teachers were Agha Bozorg (Army Music officer), Mirza Hossein Gholi Farahani, Hussein Esmaeil Zadeh, and Mohammad Sadegh Khan Sorourol Molk. He went to London with Darvish Khan to record Gramophone Discs. He recorded many albums with Darvish Kahn, Zelli, Farah Angiz and Taher Zadeh. He has composed over 50 songs for piano. The famous song “mara beboos” (kiss me) is a creation of his. He also wrote a number of operas based on Persian music.

Ali-Naqi Vaziri

Ali-Naqi Vaziri (1887 – 1979) was a musicologist, composer, a celebrated player of the tar, and the founder of the Academy of Music of Iran as well of Iran’s National Orchestra.

Ali-Naqi Vasiri (better known as Colonel Ali-Naqi Vasiri) is one of the seven children of Musa Khan Vaziri (a prominent official in the Persian Cossack Brigade) and Bibi Khatoon Astarabadi, a notable Iranian writer, satirist and one of the pioneering figures in the women’s movement of Iran; her book Ma’ayeb al-Rejal (Failings of Men, also translated as Vices of Men) is considered by some as the first declaration of women’s rights in the modern history of Iran. The celebrated artistic painter Hasan Vaziri is Ali-Naqi’s brother.

Ali-Naqi Vaziri was a master of Iran’s classical music and played the tar in a style very reminiscent of that of Mirza Abdollah. He always looked for new dimensions and perspectives in musical expression, and by doing so he revolutionized the style of playing the tar. He was the first to transcribe the classical radif of the Persian music.

Rokneddin Mokhtari

Rokneddin Mokhtari (1887–1970) was an Iranian musician and violinist. Mokhtari was born in Kermanshah. As well as being a musician, he was also the head of police department in Reza Shah era. He studied kamancheh with Hossein Esma`ilzadeh and befriended Darvish Khan. He had an exceptional gift for composing pishdaramads. Of his output one can name a Mahur Pishdaramad with metric variations, also pishdaramads in Homayun (to be sung later as a tasnif: “Asheqam man” by Moluk Zarrabi), Shur, Esfahan, Bayat-e Tork, Dashti, and Segah. A tasnif in Bayat-e tork on the lyrics of M. Bahar (“Gar raqib ayad”) is one of his famous pieces.

His compositional style was known as “rokni.” His reng in Homayun, his 3 pishdaramads in Dashti, Esfahan, and Chahargah have been published in the Method of Violin of Conservatoire, vols II-IV. During his administrative years, he often used to play violin and accompanying Vaziri who played tar in Amir Showkat-ol-Molk’s house.

Mousa Maroufi

Moussa Maroufi ( 1889 – 1965) began studying the tar with Darvish Khan. He had a keen interest in learning the theory of music and studied music notation with Hossein Khan Hangafarin. When Alinaqi Vaziri founded his School of Music in 1924, Moussa Maroufi was one of the first students who joined the school.

He collaborated with Vaziri on many levels, and most of the music notation examples in Vaziri’s books were written by him. Alinaqi Vaziri had accumulated several notebooks containing the radifs by Mirza Abdollah and Aqa Hossein-Qoli. Moussa Maroufi had already learned Darvish Khan’s version of the radif, which was somewhat shorter than the radif played by the masters who preceded him.  Maroufi combined the radifs of Mirza Abdollah and Aqa Hossein-Qoli with that of Darvish Khan and other notes provided by Mehdiqoli Hedayat. The Ministry of Culture and Art published this valuable collection of the  radif of Persian classical music in 1963.

Moussa Maroufi was one of the first musicians who performed at Radio Iran. He worked closely with Rouhollah Khaleghi and was a member of the National Music Society Orchestra. He taught at the School of National Music from the very beginning of its founding and has trained many of the country’s finest musicians. Several of his works were included in the instrumental methods that were published by Khaleghi for the School of National  Music.

Abdollah Davami

Abdollah (Khan) Davami (1891 – 1980) was a master musician and singer of traditional Iranian music.

He was a teacher of traditional music and had studied under Mirza Abdollah Farahani and Hossein Khan Esmailzadeh. Many famous Iranian singers were his student. He alongside Darvish Khan and others were the first to travel to Europe with the purpose of researching ways of preserving and developing classical music in Iran.

Hossein Gol-e-Golab

Hossein Gol-e-Golab  (1895 – 1985) was an Iranian scholar and musician who wrote the nationalist anthem “Ey Iran”.

Gol-e-Golab was born in Kerman. He learned to play both the setar and tar as a boy. He taught at Dar al-Fonun and later enrolled at the law school there, earning degrees in law and political science in 1922. However, he displayed a great talent for the natural sciences, especially botany, and in 1928 was tenured at the school of medicine. This later became the Faculty of Medicine at the emerging University of Tehran.Gol-e-Golab never lost his interest in music, finding time to translate Western operas into his native Persian while teaching and writing on botany and serving on the Academy of Persian Language and Literature, to which he was appointed in 1935. In 1944, after witnessing an ugly incident where an American soldier serving on the Persian Corridor beat up a native Iranian greengrocer, Gol-e-Golab composed the poem Ey Iran, which was set to music by Rouhollah Khaleghi and soon became a de facto Iranian national anthem.

Nour Ali Elahi

Nour Ali Elahi (1895 – 1974) was a Kurdish spiritual thinker, musician, philosopher and jurist.  His father, Hajj Nematollah (1871–1919), was a mystic poet who was a revered leader of a sufi group. From early childhood, he led an ascetic, secluded life of rigorous discipline under his father’s supervision with a special focus on mysticism, music, and ethics. He never performed in public and did not make any recordings of his music in a professional setting.

Elahi’s music is rooted in a tradition involving the rhythmic recital and invocation of sacred texts in devotional gatherings, accompanied by various instruments such as the tambour,  ney and daf. Elahi was a master of the tanbour. His musical ornamentations and complex playing technique, which for the first time involved the use of all five fingers of both hands, as well as his physical modifications to the instrument itself – namely, the doubling of the higher string so as to dramatically increase its expressiveness – earned him a reputation as an innovator of this art form and a master of the tanbour .

Sa’id Hormozi

Ostad Sa’id Hormozi (1897–1976) was born in one of the old neighborhoods of Tehran called Sangalaj. He was a great radif master and virtuoso tar and setar player. His most important teacher was Darvish Khan, who awarded Hormozi with the medal of the “Golden Hatchet”, which was given to his most prominent students.

In 1928 Hormozi founded a school of music in Tehran. Later he cooperated with the “Center for preservation and propagation of Persian music” as an ostad of setar. Some invaluable recordings have been preserved of him. In terms of performance techniques one can find traces of his ostad Darvish Khan in Hormozi’s style. His phrasing is mostly influenced by that of Aqa Hossein-Qoli.

Two of his most important students are ostad Mohammad Reza Lotfi and ostad Hossein Alizadeh.

Ali Akbar Shahnazi

Ali Akbar Shahnazi (1897 –1985) was an Iranian musician and master of the tar. His father, Mirza Hossein Gholi, the great master of tar named him Ali Akbar after his grandfather. Ali Akbar Khan Farahani, the great master of tar. He started learning tar from his father at the age of 7. After five years he reached a level that enabled hime to teach some of his father’s students. At the age of 18 after the demise of his father he was the responsible of his father’s class and started teaching them. Later, he established the Shahnazi Music School in 1929.

He recorded many pieces with the great vocalists of his time such as Eghbal Azar, Nakisa and so on. Also he has collaborated with other great master of his time such as Reza Mahjubi (violinist) and Hosain Tehrani (father of modern tonbak).

Reza Mahjubi

Reza Mahjubi (1898 – 1954) was an Iranian violinist and composer. Mahjubi’s first teacher was Hossein Hang Afarin, an army music officer. He was later taught by Ebrahim Ajang, but left these lessons after disagreeing with Ajang’s emphasis on musical theory over less formal learning. Instead, he trained with Hossein Khan Esmail Zade, a master player of kamancheh, from whom Mahjubi also learned to play the violin.

At 25 Mahjubi began to teach music classes; he continued composing new works and performing concerts at the same time. In 1923 he conducted some popular concerts with Darvish Khan and Aref Qazvini. Poet Amiri Firuzkuhi was among his close friends. Among Mahjubi’s most famous students were Roohollah Khaleghi and Majid Vafadar.

Morteza Neydavoud

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.

Habib Samayi

Ostad Habib Samayi (1901-1947) was a virtuoso santur player.

His main teacher was his father Habib Sama Hozoor. He also attended a musical school run by Gholamhossein Minbashian. 10 years before Radio Tehran started, he had recorded few albums (with vocals from Parvaneh). He worked with Radio Tehran in its first 5 years. He was one of the founding members of the National Musical Association established in 1945.

He became disillusioned with performance music and stopped playing in public. After him, santur went through a period of decline in Iranian music until it was revived by Ostad Saba who was familiar with Samayi’s techniques and taught famous musicians such as Faramarz Payevar who helped to re-establish santur.

Adib Khansari

Adib Khansari (1901 – 1982) was a vocalist.

He was a student of Nayeb Asadollah (The Ney player). He also traveled extensively in the Bakhtiari province to research the style of Lori Music in Iran. In 1924, he moved to Tehran to study under Hossein Taher Zadeh, and also Hossein Esmaeil Zadeh. He was invited in the 1940s to work on the National Radio and was one of the prominent artists in this organization. He, jointly with Esmaeil Mehrtash, founded the community of Barbad as a place for theatre and music.

Abol Hasan Saba

Abol Hasan Sabā (1902 – 1957), was a renowned Iranian musician, composer, violinist, and setar player. He studied several of Iranian and non Iranian musical instruments and became an Ostad in Radif, but selected violin and setar as his specific instruments. He was a student of Mirza Abdollah as well as Darvish Khan. Saba is considered one of Iran’s most influential figures in traditional and instrumental Persian music.

Amongst his many students who went on to become great masters of Persian traditional music were Faramarz Payvar, Manoochehr Sadeghi, Habibollah Badiei, Rahmatollah Badiyi, Abbas Emadi, Ali Tajvidi, Mahmoud Tajbakhsh, Sassan Sepanta, Parviz Yahaghi, Dariush Safvat, Gholam-Hossein Banan and Hossein Tehrani.

Javad Badizadeh

Javad Badizadeh (1902 – 1979) was one of the prominent musicians of his time, both as a singer and composer.

He is one of the first male singers in Iran whose songs were recorded and released on HMV label (1925). During the following 10 years he released 24 more records.

With the establishment of Radio Tehran, he was one of the first to join and alongside, Habib Samayi, Abolhasan Saba, Morteza Neydavoudi and Hossein Tehrani produced some of the most memorable pieces of traditional Iranian music.


Esmail Mehrtash

Esmail Mehrtash (1904-1980) was a tar player and teacher. He studied tar under Darvish Khan and Alin Naghi Vaziri. Hecreated a school for teaching music and speaking skills. Amongsts his students were, Abdolvahab Shahidi, Molook Zarrabi and Mohamad Reza Shajarian.


Ali Asghar Bahari

Ostad Ali Asghar Bahari (1905 – 1995) was an Iranian musician and kamancheh player. He was born in Tehran and started his music lessons under his grand father Mohammad Taghi Khan, who was a kamancheh player as well. After three years, his father sent him to his uncles who were all famous kamancheh players to learn more advanced techniques. His first major success was with Ebrahim Khan Mansouri’s Orchestra at the age of 18. He started his own music school in Mashhad, then he moved back to Tehran and became a kamancheh instructor in Honarestan under Ruhollah Khaleghi. He played with most famous Iranian musician such as Hossein Tehrani, Ahmad Ebadi, and Abolhasan Saba. He was also a professor of music in Tehran University for a few years.

Among his students who went on to become great masters of Persian traditional music in their own right were Mastro Mazdak Tehrani and Mortezâ Varzi.

Andre Hossein

Known in Iran also as Aminoullah Hossein (1905  – 1983) was a celebrated Iranian born composer of  the neo-Romantic style and a virtuoso tar soloist residing in Paris. He studied in Moscow, Russia and later in Germany where he attended the Berlin Conservatory (1934 – 1937). He later moved to Paris where he studied privately under Paul Antoine Vidal in Conservatoire de Paris. He is the first modern Iranian composer whose works were played by Western Symphonic orchestras.

In 1935 he wrote his first ballet, Towards the Light. He also composed numerous pieces for the piano. In the 40s he wrote a number of symphonies. Aminoullah’s love for his native Iran is evident in many of his early works. He converted to Zoroastrianism which influenced his musical work in his early symphonies such as “Persian Miniature”, “I love my Country” and especially “Symphony Persepolis” – also known as The Rubble of the Forgotten Empire (1947). Aminollah Hossein also made a symphony based on Khayyám poems in 1951. Other works by him include three piano concertos, Persian Miniature, Scheherezade (Shahrzad), and Arya Symphony. He also composed some film scores, including films directed by his son Robert Hossein, the Paris-born actor and director.

Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri

Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri (1905 – 1959) has been called in Iran the “queen of Persian music”. She was the first prominent female vocalist of the 20th century in Iran. She was also a progressive thinker and befriended mostly those artists who were progressive and pro constitutionalist. Aref Ghavini and Iraj Mirza were both her close friends and artistic collaborators. Many of her songs are still popular and memorized by many Iranians.

Her early teacher was Morteza Neydavoud who introduced her to radifs (classical Persian music), but in her career she worked with many distinguished musicians of her time. What was significant in her condition was the fact that she began her career when women were not allowed to have their voices heard by men. She held her first open concert in 1924 after which she was arrested and hade to promise in she will not sing in public without a veil. It is said about her that she used to spend all she earned on the poor. The national radio paid her a meagre superannuation salary when she retired and it is known that she died in poverty.

Ahmad Ebadi

Ahmad Ebādi (1906–1992) was an Iranian musician and setar player. Born in Tehran, he was a member of the most extraordinary family of Iranian musicians. Ahmad’s father, Mirza Abdollah, is arguably the most influential figure in Persian traditional music, and his paternal uncle, Mirza Hossein Gholi, is also well known for his mastery in playing the tar. Ahmad’s paternal grandfather, Ali Akbar Farahani, was also a talented musician.

Ahmad started learning music at early age. At the age of seven, he was able to play Tombak well enough to accompany his father. Unfortunately he lost his father soon, but continued his education with his sisters especially Moloud Khanom. He became later one of the best setar players of his time.

For years he played on Iranian radio especially in the famous Golha programme, produced by Davood Pirnia. Ebadi had a unique style in playing the setar. He also invented a variety of different tunings for setar. He also trained a number of students amongst which were, Bahram Vadani and Behdad Babayi.

Ruhollah Khaleghi

Rūhollāh Khāleqi (1906 – 1965) also spelled as Khaleghi, was a prominent Iranian musician, composer, conductor and author. Ruhollah Khāleghi was born in Mahan, a small town near Kerman, in a musically minded family. He first became acquainted with the tar, but later started to learn to play the violin. As soon as Ali-Naqi Vaziri established his School of Music, Khāleghi left school and joined Vaziri’s school, where he studied for eight years. Soon he became his master’s assistant and was placed in charge of teaching music theory.

In 1944 Khāleghi established the National Music Society and in 1949 thanks to the efforts of this great artist, the School of National Music was founded. After his first journey to the former U.S.S.R. in 1955, he became involved in the Iran-Soviet Society and was selected as a member of its Board of Directors.

He also began to serve as the director of the Payām-e-Novin Magazine. His work, The History of Persian Music, which was published in two volumes, took shape during these years. His other published works include: Harmony of Western Music, Theory of Eastern Music, and Theory of Persian Music.

For many years Khāleghi worked as a musical advisor for Radio Iran and was one of the founders of the program known as Gol’hā (Flowers). He also conducted the Gol’hā Orchestra, for which he composed many pieces and revised the original compositions of his contemporaries as well as older masters.

Parviz Mahmoud

Parviz Mahmoud (1910 – 1996) was a Persian composer and conductor. He was the founder of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in its modern form. His father Mahmoud Mahmoud was a famous Persian writer, researcher and politician. Parviz studied composition at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and for a few years he was professor and director of Tehran Conservatory.

In 1959 he moved to the United States and did not continue his musical activities seriously anymore. A few years later he received his PhD from the University of Indiana. His dissertation was about the theory of Persian music and its relation to Western practice.

Gholam-Hossein Banan

Gholām-Hossein Banān (1911 —1986) was an Iranian musician and singer. He was born into a musical family. His father, Karim Khān Banān ol-Douleh Nurí was was an accomplished pianist (and calligrapher); one brother and two sisters also played the tar as pupils of the renowned musician Morteza Neydāvood. From the age of six he began to take lessons in singing and playing the piano and organ through the encouragement of Morteza Neydāvood. Gholām-Hossein’s first teachers were his parents. He subsequently studied with Mirzā Tāher Ziā oz-Zākerin Rasā’í  and Nāser Seif. Ali-Naqi Vaziri later introduced him to Rouhollah Khāleghi.

Banān joined the Iranian National Music Association in 1942, and appeared on Iranian National Radio that same year. He then joined the orchestra of Javād Maroufi, becoming the lead vocalist. In 1957, or 1958, (1336 AH) Banān became blind in his right eye following a car accident. He is still remembered by lovers of traditional Persian music.

Fereidoun Farzaneh

Fereidoun Farzaneh (1911-1985) was an Iranian composer of Western classical music. He was the son of Ismail Farzaneh (Iranian diplomat and ambassador) and Fatemeh Sheikh.

He completed his studies at the Music Conservatory in Brussels, Belgium, before returning to Iran. After retirement, he moved to Spa, Belgium.

Hossein Tehrani

Hossein Tehrāni (1912 – 1974) was an Iranian musician and tonbak player. He is regarded as the father of the modern tonbak. He was born in Tehran. At an early age he was going to Zurkhaneh (an Iranian gymnasium) and was impressed by the big clay vase covered on open bottom with skin called Zarb. At the age of he found a similar type of Zarb but in a smaller size which was called tonbak and began practicing by himself.

In 1928 Hossein Tehrani became interested in studying music professionally, and took private lessons from music master and kamancheh player Hossein Khan Esmail-Zadeh.  He was keen to observe different tonbak playing styles so he attended the music classes of master tonbak players such as Reza Ravanbakhsh and Kangarlo. He wanted to learn more about Iranian traditional music, and therefore formed a relationship with the great music master and multi-instrumentalist Abolhasan Saba, from whom he learnt music theory and different aspects of Iranian traditional music. He also wrote a book titled Amouzesh Tonbak about the style and practice of the tonbak.

In 1940 the first radio station was established in Tehran and Hossein Tehrani was an active tonbak player accompanying musicians while performing live music programmes. He was a permanent member of the National Music Ensemble and National Music association. Hossein Tehrani formed and organized a tonbak players ensemble with seven members and performed several pieces with his group for the first time at the Shiraz Arts Festival.

Javad Ma’roufi

Javād Ma’roufi (1912 — 1993), was a celebrated Iranian composer and pianist. He was born in Tehran to the musician father Musā Ma’roufi and mother Ozrā Ma’roufi who both were distinguished pupils of Darvish Khan, a renowned music master of the time in Iran. He was taught in music first by his father, playing both the tar and the violin. At fourteen he attended the Academy of Music of which Ali-Naqi Vaziri was the director and where he studied the piano under the music master Tatiana Kharatian. During this period he studied works by Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. In addition to studying western classical music, he studied Persian classical music under Ali-Naqi Vaziri.

Javād Ma’roufi was one of the most notable composers of the Persian classical music and one of the first pianists who wrote Persian pieces for the piano. Amongst his celebrated pieces are Khābhā-ye Talā’i (Golden Dreams) and Jilā.

Majid Vafadar

Majid Vafadar (!912 – 1978) was a violinist and a composer.

He was a student of Hossein Esamilzadeh, Reza Mahjubi, Parviz Yahaghi and Abolhasan Saba. He began to perform solo concerts in the 50s. Alinaghi Vaziri was so impressed with him that encouraged him to join the National Radio organisation. He was the leader of Radio Iran’s Orchestra number 3 until 1960.

He has left some 300 pieces of work. some of which were written for the cinema. He was involved in some of the most memorable iranaian songs such as mara beboos, golnar, and gol amad bahar amad.

Abdolvahab Shahidi

Abdolvahab Shahidi was an Iranian oud player and singer (1922 – ). His teacher was Esamiil Mehrtash. He collaborated with “golha” programme on the Radio for many years. He has worked with many musical masters such as Jalil Shahnaz, Faramarz Payevar, Asghar Bahari, Hossein Tehrani and Rahmatollah Badiyii.

Emanuel Melik-Aslanian

Emanuel Melik-Aslanian ( 1915 – 2003), was a pianist and composer. He studied in Hamburg and graduated from the Berlin Music Academy. On his return to Iran he taught music at Tehran University and Tehran Conservatory of Music. His works have been played by Tehran Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions.

His first works were composed for piano where he tries to fuse traditional Iranian music with Western standards. These early works quickly established him as thinker and a theoretician in his field. His most well known work was the ballet, “myth of creation” (afsaneh afarinesh) was based on Mithraism.

Rouben Gregorian

Rouben (Rubik) Gregorian (1915 – 1991) was a violin player, classical composer and teacher of music. He studied at Tehran Conservatory which he directed later. He was also a leader of Tehran Philharmonic Orchestra for a period.

He was one of the first Iranian musicians who collected Iranian folk songs and composed classical pieces based on them. He settled in Boston in 1952. For more than 25 years, he was affiliated with the Boston Conservatory, where he taught violin and was the conductor of the orchestra and chorus.

Heshmat Sanjari

Heshmat Sanjari (1918 – 1995) was a well-known conductor and composer, the son of Hossein Sanjari who was a well-known tar player. Heshmat Sanjari studied violin at Tehran Conservatory of Music under Serge Khotsief and Conducted at the Vienna Music Academy as a pupil of Hans Swarowsky. He also studied Persian Classical music under Ali-Naqi Vaziri.

Sanjari was the conductor of Tehran Conservatory Students Orchestra and the director of the Conservatory in 1951. From 1960 until 1971 he was the permanent conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, the longest in the history of orchestra. Many notable musicians like Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern played with the orchestra, with him as the conductor.

He composed the works Persian Pictures (in 5 movements) and Niayesh (Praise). The former is regarded by some as a masterpiece of contemporary Persian symphonic music.

Qolamhossein Bigjekhani

Qolamhossein Bigjekhani (1918 –1987) was an Iranian musician and tar player. He was born in Tabriz. He learned tar from his father, Hossein Qoli Bigjeh-Khani.

He had left a number of recordings mostly in Persian Dastgah music. He collaborated mainly with his old friend and Dayereh player M. Farnam. He has also accompanied Mohammad-Reza Shajarian.


Ali Tajvidi

Ali Tajvidi (1919 – 2006) was an Iranian musician, composer, violinist, songwriter, and music professor at the School of National Music and Tehran University. He composed more than 150 songs and has produced for many Persian performers such as Delkash and Hayedeh.

In his youth he took violin lessons for two years under Hossein Yahaghi (uncle of Parviz Yahaghi) and for many years was under the tutelage of Abol-Hassan Saba. He also took Harmony lessons under Houshang Ostovar.

After 1941, Tajvidi performed regularly as a violin soloist in Radio Iran programs. In later years, he conducted two orchestras, for which he wrote numerous compositions. Asheqi Sheyda, Be Yad-e Saba, Atash-e Karevan, Didi ke Rosva Shod Delam, and Sang-e Khara are among his best known works. He also wrote a three-volume book, entitled “Persian Music”.

During his career Tajvidi cooperated with outstanding contemporary artists including Delkash, Gholamhossein Banan, Hossein Qavami, Mahmoud Mahmoudi-Khansari, Akbar Golpaygani, Hossein Khajeh Amiri (a.k.a. Iraj), Jalil Shahnaz, Farhang Sharif, Habibollah Badiei, Parviz Yahaghi, Javad Maroufi, Faramarz Payvar, Mehdi Khaledi, Homayoun Khorram. He is regarded as one of the best violinists in Iran, on a par with Parviz Yahaghi. He also played the sitar.

Haj Ghorban Soleimani

Haj Ghorban Soleimani (1920 – 2008) was a celebrated dotar player and vocalist. Dotar or is a form of Central Asian lute. He was also the pioneer of a new model of the ancient stringed Azeri instrument the gopuz. Soleimani was born in northeastern Iran. His father, Karbalaii Ramezan, an accomplished musician taught him the dotar from a young age. Following his father’s death he continued learning the dotar and sought singing lessons from singers such as Avaz Bakhshi, Gholamhossein Bakhshi Jafarabadi and Mohammad Qeitaqi. By his early twenties he had mastered the traditional Iranian instrument, the dotar, and at the age of 21 he received the coveted ‘Bakhshi’ title, given to people of musical excellence in Khorasan province.

Throughout his career he participated in many international concerts and venues, but was more popular in France than anywhere else where he believed his music was more appreciated. He also performed notably at the Festival of Iranian Arts in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Mahmoud Zoufonoun

Mahmoud Zoufonoun (1920-2013) was an accomplished musician and Tar player. Zoufonoun’s interest in music began after he listened to his father (Habib Zoufonoun) playing and teaching the tar.  Habib began teaching his son the instrument at the age of 8. Aged twelve, already having become a local teacher for tar, Zoufonoun became interested in the violin.

In the 1930s Zoufonoun moved to Shiraz where he learned musical notes and took lessons in the violin. In 1936 (aged 16) Zoufonoun, at the prompting of his first violin teacher Mr. Vaziritabar, moved to Tehran where he took lessons from Rouben Gregorian. In the early 1940s Zoufonoun began playing solo’s on Radio Iran. In 1942 he helped form Anjomane Mooseeghee Melli where he met Rouhollah Khaleghi (who conducted the orchestra).

Zoufonoun worked as a soloist, composer, arranger and conductor at the National Radio and Television. He was a member of the “Golha orchestra”. Over the course of his career he has made efforts to compile, transcribe a compilation of regional folk songs, modes, and styles to date. The work is currently uncompleted. Following his retirement in 1976 from the National Radio and Television, Mahmoud and his family emigrated to the USA. He has continued to teach and compose and perform traditional Persian music, usually with his sons as the Zoufonoun Ensemble.

Hassan Zirak

Hassan Zirak (1921–1972) was a celebrated Kurdish singer from Bukan, known for his recordings of classical Kurdish folk songs. He was famous for his erotic and sensual lyrics, and it’s believed that he composed over thousand songs in his lifetime.

In 1953, he left Iran for Iraq and recorded a great number of songs in Kurdish for the Kurdish section of the Baghdad broadcasting station. After 1958, Zirak immigrated to Tehran where he was employed by Tehran Radio Station. After spending few years in Tehran and recording some of his memorable hits, Zirak went back to Kurdistan he worked with the Kurdish Fine Art Groups. He ended up in Seqiz  where he lived up to his death.

Jalil Shahnaz

Jalil Shahnaz was born in 1921 in Isfahan. Shahnaz studied under the supervision of Abdolhossein Shahnazi and Hossein Shahnaz and befriended ney player Hassan Kassai.

Shahnaz started his acivities in 1949 at Radio Isfahan and in 1957 he was invited to cooperate with Radio Tehran. In the capital he worked as a soloist at Golha program and also later he was quite active at Persian music programs of Shiraz Arts Festival. Shahnaz in the late 1980s became a member of “Persian Music Maestros Ensemble”. The ensemble performed various concerts inside and outside of Persia.”

Persian classical vocalist Shajarian named his most recent musical group “Shahnaz” in honor of Masetro Shahnaz. Jalil Shahnaz died in Tehran on 17 June 2013.

Hasan Gol Naraghi

Hasan Golnaraghi (1921-1993) was not a singer by profession but became a celebrity with the song “kiss me” (mara be boos). Only 2 songs remain from him. This song became very famous because of its coincidence with the 1953 coup. It was rumoured at the time that it was written by an army officer about to be executed. Gonaraghi few years later dismissed this story and revealed that it was in fact written by Heydar Reghabi who was a lecturer in Iranian literature at Tehran University.

This song was first performed by a well known singer Parvaneh but not very successfully. In fact it was Reghabi himself, a friend of Golnaraghi, who encouraged him to sing it knowing his unique voice. The music for it was written by Majid Vafadar and was performed by Yahaghi.


Morteza Varzi

Mortezâ Varzi (1922 –2004) was a kamanche player. He started his music lessons on the violin at age 15 with Morteza Neydavoud, one of the greatest Persian instrumentalists of the twentieth century. After his father advised him to play music on a traditional Persian instrument, he began studying setar with master Nasratollah Zarrin Panjeh, and kamancheh with master Ali-Asghar Bahari.

In 1970, Mr. Varzi took up residence in the United States, promoting Persian music and culture, and instructing both Iranians and Americans in the Persian classical musical repertoire.

Monir Vakili

Monir Vakili (1923 – 1983) was an Iranian opera singer.

Monir was born to a family of art and music enthusiasts. Monir studied voice and the Conservatoire National de Paris and continued her training in opera directing at the New England Conservatory of Music in the U.S. A pioneer in the true sense, Monir started the very first opera company in Iran. Her passion was to bring the level of artistry in Iran up to international standards. She produced and hosted a TV series featuring the best selections from Rudaki Hall; she created an opera film festival which was the first of its kind in the world and established the Academy of Voice, a government-funded, co-ed boarding school to educate and train students in the art of opera and choral singing.

Throughout Monir’s life, her love for her country permeated all of her work. A manifestation of this love is an album recorded in Paris in 1958, of songs from different regions of Iran. She dazzled the public and international critics with her performance, and the album, Chants et Danses de Perse, won the Grand Prix du Disque of the Académie Charles Cros. Monir died in 1983. The memory of her ever-lasting spirit and talent lives on in Baazgasht (“Resurrection”), a glorious rendition of the 1958 award-winning album.

Gholamhossein Gharib

Gholamhossein Gharib Gorgani (1923-2004) was a clarinet player. He headed the Tehran Conservatory for 20 years.

He studied clarinet under Czechoslovakian instructors and harmony with Parviz Mahmoud. He participated in an ethnomusicology project of The Iranian Art and Culture Organization with Lotfollah Mobashery to gather folklore and local songs of different ethnic groups of Iran. He also joined The Tehran council Orchestra Symphonic as the first Iranian clarinetist.

He was also a poet and published his first collection of poems Sareban in 1948 edited by his friend the great Iranian poet Nima Yushij. He was one of the founding members of The Fighting Cock Society, an Iranian progressive body devoted to the promotion of modern arts,

Morteza Hannaneh

Morteza Hannaneh (1923 – 1989) was a composer and horn player. He studied horn at the Tehran Conservatory of Music and basic composition with Parviz Mahmoud. Hannaneh also studied composition in Italy. He established the Farabi Orchestra in Radio Tehran in 1963. Hannaneh also composed soundtracks for Persian films.

His most famous works included, “shahr-e marjan”, “The Execrable Capriccio per pianoforte e Orchestra”; “Hezar-Dastan Overture” (on a melody by Morteza Neydavood; for symphonic orchestra); “In Memory of Ferdowsi” (for soprano and piano), the books “Lost Scales”; “The Even Harmony”  (in Persian).


Delkash, Esmat Bagherpour Baboli (1924 – 2004) was a popular Iranian singer with a rare and unique voice and vocal range. She was one of the most prominent Iranian vocalists. She came to Tehran to study, but she was discovered soon and was introduced[1] She was named Delkash by Khaleghi.

Delkash started public singing in 1943 and was employed in Radio Iran in 1945. There, she worked with the composer Mehdi Khaledi for seven years, until 1952, which made them both very famous. The best of her songs were written by Rahim Moeini Kermanshahi, Iranian lyricist, and Ali Tajvidi, Iranian composer, from 1954 until 1969.

She also worked as a song writer under the pen name of Niloofar and played in a few Iranian movies, including Sharmsaar, Maadar, Farda Roushan Ast, Afsoungar, and Dasiseh. She worked with singer and electric guitar musician Vigen Derderian. Their duet “Delam Mikhast” became very poular.


Ashraf o-Sadat Mortezaie (1924 – 2010), known professionally as Marzieh, was a Tehran-born singer of Persian traditional music. Marzieh started her career in the 1940s at Radio Tehran and cooperated with some of the greatest 20th century Persian songwriters and lyricists like Ali Tajvidi, Parviz Yahaghi, Homayoun Khorram, Rahim Moeini Kermanshahi and Bijan Taraghi. Marzieh also sang with the Farabi Orchestre, conducted by Morteza Hannaneh, a pioneer of Persian polyphonic music, during the 1960s and 1970s.

Following the “Islamic Revolution” of 1979 public performances and broadcasts of record albums by solo female singers were banned outright for ten years. In 1994 she left Iran making her new home in Paris. She performed several concerts in Los Angeles, California and Royal Albert Hall (London) in 1993, 1994 and 1995. The Paris-based composer Mohammad Shams and the Persian tar soloist Hamid Reza Taherzadeh were the main musicians who worked with Marzieh in exile.

Hossein Nassehi

Hossein Nassehi (1925 – 1977) was a composer and trombone player. He studied Trombone at Tehran Conservatory and composition at the Ankara State Conservatory. For many years he was the professor at Tehran Conservatory; Hossein Dehlavi, Ahmad Pejman and Parviz Mansouri were among his pupils.

Nassehi’s son, Fereydoun is a pianist and his daughter, Nasrin, a member of Tehran Symphony choir.

Samin Baghtcheban

Samin Baghtcheban(1925 –2008) was an musician, composer, author and translator. hE WAS BORN in Tabriz, and grew up in Shiraz and Tehran, where his father established the first modern kindergartens and schools for the deaf in Iran. His father, Jabbar Baghtcheban, was a leading Iranian educator and a pioneer of Persian sign language.

In 1944 Samin Baghtcheban was awarded a scholarship to study music composition in Ankara State Conservatory. He returned to Iran in 1949 and started teaching in Music Conservatory of Tehran. In 1984 he moved to Turkey where he continued his activities and composed several new pieces, some of which were performed by Manouchehr Sahbai in Switzerland.

Ahmad Ebrahimi

The artist, Ebrahimi, (1926 – 2013) was a vocalist and a prominent music teacher. He grew up in a family of music lovers and artists. His training in music was under the supervision of Iranian maestros such as Abolhassan Saba, Hossein Tehrani and Gholam Hossein Banan.

Many of Ebrahimi’s performances were presented on Radio Tehran. His most successful period came after 1954 when he joined the Orchestra conducted by Morteza Mahjoubi. He was appointed as the head of the Artistic department from 1963 to 1975 whilst continuing with his own artistic activities. In 1975 he became the head of the National Organisation for Iranian Folklore Music. He remained at this post until 1979 soon after which he retired.

He is considered one of the best teachers of traditional singing.

Houshang Ostovar

Houshang Ostovar(1927 – ) is a Persian symphonic music composer and Instructor. He studied basic composition with Parviz Mahmoud and finished his music studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels with, he also spend 2 years in Geneva conservatory to learn more about Piano and Clarinet . Came back to Iran 1957, for many years Ostovar was a professor at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. Mostly performed by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, his works is inspired by Persian folk and classical music in a modern form. He is also known as a developer of different genres of western music such as Jazz in Iran.

A few years after the 1979 Revolution Ostovar moved to France. In 2001 he returned to Tehran and continued his activities as a professor of composition. He has thought many notable musicians like Ali Tajvidi. The only released work of Ostovar is Suite Iranienne (Persian Suite) which was performed in 1980 by Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ali Rahbari in the LP Symphonische Dichtungen aus Persien (Symphonic Poems from Persia

Mahmoud Karimi

Mahmoud Karimi (1927 – 1984) was a vocalist and a teacher of Persian classical singing. His teachers were Abdollah Davami and Mohammad Irani Mojorrad. He has taught many of the Iran’s singers including Parisa, Mohammad Baghban and Shahram Nazeri.


Hossein Dehlavi

Hossein Dehlavi was born in 1927 in Tehran and studied composition at the Tehran Conservatory of Music with Hossein Nassehi. He studied Persian music with Abolhassan Saba and, from 1957 to 1967, was the principal conductor of the Persian Fine Arts Administration Orchestra

For ten years, Dehlavi was the director of and professor at the Persian National Music Conservatory in Tehran, and Ali Rahbari was one of his pupils. In 1992, with the cooperation of nearly 70 players of Persian instruments, Dehlavi established the Plectrum Orchestra. His works include several pieces for Persian instruments and orchestra, voice and orchestra, choir and orchestra, and three operas. As his contribution to the Year of the Child (1979), he wrote an opera for children called Mana and Mani.

Hassan Kassayi

Hassan Kassayi (1928 – 2012) was a renowned player of ney, the traditional reed flute of Persia. He is one of the first Iranian musicians to introduce ney to the traditional orchestra.

Mohammad Navayii was his ney teacher. He studied the radif with Taj Esfahani and Adib khansari and when he went to Tehran he was also taught by Abolhasan Saba. He worked with many famous orchestras and in 1956 joined the golha programme. During the 60s he toured Europe and performed on a number of concerts and Radio programmes.

In 1999 Kassayi was honoured by the Ministry of Art and Culture and was nominated for the Iranian cultural Hall of Fame.

Daryush Safvat

Dariush (Daryush) Safvat (1928 – 2013) was an internationally recognised Persian music master and ethnomusicologist. Dr. Safvat was the founder and a former director of the Center for Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music. The Center counts among its graduates some of the most prolific and admired masters of classical Persian music, including Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh, Hossein Omoumi, Parisa, the late Nasser Farhangfar, Dariush Talai, Majid Kiani and Mahmoud Farahmand.

Dr. Safvat is best known for his mastery of Setar and Santour. He began learning to play the Setar at an early age from his father, Ali Asghar Safvat. He also studied with two other Masters of Persian classical music, Abolhasan Saba and Haj Agha Mohammad Irani.

Evelyn Baghcheban

Evelyn Baghcheban  (1928 –  2010) was an opera singer (mezzo-soprano) and one of the pioneers of opera and choral music in Iran. Baghcheban was born in Mersin, Turkey to a French mother and a Turkish father. She was married to the Iranian composer Samin Baghcheban whom she met when they were both students at the Ankara State Conservatory and moved to Iran.

She was instrumental in establishing Tehran’s opera house, Rudaki Hall, and the Tehran National Choir. She also taught singing at the Tehran Music School, where her pupils included Mohammad Nuri, Pari Zanganeh and Sudabeh Tajbakhsh. She herself was very proud of her work in establishing a choir group for the orphaned children.



Mohammad Baharloo

Mohammad Baharloo (1929 –  2007) was a violinist, composer and conductor. He was born in Tehran. Baharloo began playing the violin as an adolescent under the directions of Seyed Mohammad Bahrinipur. Baharloo also took lessons from Carl Yan Zubeck who was one an instructor from the Czech Republic. After Yan Zubeck left Iran, Baharloo became a pupil of Rubick Gregorian, a skillful Armenian violinist.

Baharloo also started a research work into the founding techniques of classical Persian music that led to the publication of six volumes of his work fifteen years later. His pupils were Mohsen Molana, Salmak Saghaie and Hamed Ibrahimi.

Lotfi Mansouri

Lotfollah “Lotfi” Mansouri (1929 -) is an opera director and manager. He began his musical career with a production of cosi fan tutte at Los Angeles City College, and several musical theater productions at Marymount College. From 1960 to 1966, he worked as a stage director at the Zurich Opera. In his first year there, he staged new productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, La traviata, Don Pasquale, and Samson et Dalila. From 1966 through 1976 he worked as the head stage director at the Geneva Opera.

Fom 1971 to 1988 Mansouri worked as the general director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Mansouri introduced subtitles for the January 1983 staging of Elektra, and this is generally regarded as the first use of such a translation system. In 1988, Mansouri become the general director of the San Francisco Opera. He commissioned several new works which have received critical acclaim, including John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer (1992), Conrad Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons (Fall 1994), Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk (1996) (co-commissioned with Houston Grand Opera and New York City Opera), André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire (Fall 1998), and Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking (Fall 2000).

He was the General Director of the Canadian Opera Company and of the San Francisco Opera from 1988 through 2001. He introduced opera subtitles — projected subtitles above the stage – that allow the audience to follow the libretto during the performance.

Mohammad Nouri

Mohammad Nouri (1929 – 2010) was a folk singer. His tunes were often serious and thought-provoking. Nouri did not like to ranked among pop singers.  He studied the English Language and Literature at the University of Tehran, but continued his professional career in music.

He studied Persian music under Esmaeil Mehrtash and music theory and piano under Sirous Shahrdar and Fereidoun Farzaneh. In his singing style he was considered as a follower of Hossein Aslani and Naser Hosseini. His song Jaan-e Maryam, Gol-e Maryam is well known.

Hormoz Farhat

Hormoz Farhat (1929 -), is a composer, ethnomusicologist and lecturer. He studied music at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Mills College, California, graduating with the degrees of BA in music, MA in composition and PhD in composition and ethnomusicology. His composition teachers included Darius Milhaud, Lukas Foss and Roy Harris. Farhat’s PhD dissertation “The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music” was published in 1990 by Cambridge University Press.

His works include, Mazandarani Rhapsody and Fugue in Dashti. He has also composed a number of film scores, including Gaav (Cow), Postchi, and Aagha-ye Haaloo, all directed by Dariush Mehrjui and Aaraamesh dar hozoor-e digaraan, and Saadegh Kordeh, both directed by Naaser Taghvaaei.

Homayoun Khorram

Homayoun Khorram (1930- 2013) was a violinist and composer. He began his music career as a violinist at the age of 10 by participating in master Abolhassan Saba violin and Radif classes. After only four years Khorram entered the State National Radio Orchestra as a violin soloist. He was working as a leading composer by the age of 21.

During his work in the famous radio musical program Golha, Khorram composed many songs for notable singers including Hossein Ghavami (Fakhteh), Marzieh, Hayedeh, Shajarian and made hundreds of instrumental pieces for violin and orchestra.

Farhang Sharif

Farhang Sharif (1931-) a tar player. He studied music under his father. He played his first solo in Radio when he was 12 and has collaborated  with notable musicians like Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Akbar Golpaigani, Gholam Hossein Banan and Mahmoud Khansari.

Hossein Khaje Amiri (Iraj)

Hossein Khaje Amiri – known as Iraj is a singer born near Kashan.

His grandfather was a singer during Nasser al-Din Shah and his first mentor  He studied in the school of Abolhasan Saba. Iraj joined Radio Tehran in 1958 performing with Ebrahim Khan Mansouri’s orchestra.  He became well known during his work on the Golha programme on the radio in the 60s.

He has a unique voice and has contributed more than his fair share in promoting and preserving traditional music in Iran.

Jahangir Malek

Jahangir Malek (1932 – 2002) was a tonbak player. He was one of the more distinguished students of Hossein Tehrani. He became well known during his collaboration on the Golha programe for the radio in the 60s.

Ali Tajvidi was so impressed with his skills that he introduces him to Moshir Homayoun Shahrdar, head of the National Radio Organistion at the time where the young Malek becomes involved with a number of orchestras directed by famous musicians of the time such as Tajvidi himself, Badyi, Majid Vafadar and Parviz Yahaghi.

Habibollah Badyi

Habibolah Badyi (1933-1992) was a violinist and composer. He worked with Iranian radio from the early 50s and became well known for his contributions to the golha programme during the 60s. He has written more than 200 songs.

He studied first under Lotfollah Mofakhar and later Abolhasan Saba. He set up his own orchestra in 1954. Badyi was invited by Davood Pirnia to join the golha programme in 1958 where he worked alongside many of the top musicians of the time such as Gholamhossein Banan, Akbar Golpayegani and Mahmood Khansari

He was the head of the music section of Iran Radio from 1967 to 1972. He also led Barbod Orchestra for many years.

Mahmoud Mahmoudi Khansari

Mahmoud Mahmoudi Khansari (1933-1989) was a traditional singer with a style of his own. He was also very familiar with tonbak and setar.

Abolhasan Saba, recognising his talent, took him under his wing. After Saba passed away, he went to Shiraz and collaborated with Radio Shiraz. He later became the director of the traditional music section of the Radio.

From 1970 he worked on a programme led by Asadollah Malek, “navayi az mooseghi melli” (“tunes from the national music”) where he produced some of his most famous recordings. He was one of those artists who considered art as a divine gift never to be tainted with commerce or celebrity.

Faramarz Payvar

Farāmarz Pāyvar (1933 – 2009) was a composer and santur player. He studied under Abolhasan Saba and after him under Abdollah Davami and Mousa Maroufi.

Payevar was instrumental in reviving interest in santur in Iranian classical music which was going through a downward trend after the death of Habib Samayi. He also studied English literature in Cambridge and whilst in the UK did a lot to introduce Iranian music to British audiences. BBC archives has a an excellent collection of recordings from his performances. On his return to Iran he became involved with the annual Shriaz Art Festival and produced some of his best works for it.

Reza Vohdani

Reza Vohdani (1933 in Tehran – 2003) was an Iranian musician. Reza learned classical Persian music from masters such as Vaziri, Shahnazi, Saba, Mehrtash and Khaleghi. He himself taught classical Persian music at his private music school, while working for the Iranian Art and culture ministry. Many famous Iranian composers and entertainers were taught by him. In 1997 he published the collection of old Iranian songs known as Radife haft dastgah Agha Hoseingholi.

Akbar Golpayegani

Akbar Golpayegani (1934 -), commonly known as Golpa, is a celebrated Iranian vocalist who started his career under maestros Noor Ali Boroomand and Adib Khansari. He also studied under Abolhasan Saba, Abdolah Davami and Mohammad Mojarrad Irani. In 1956, he was invited to perform before UNESCO. He is also one of the first Iranian musicians to have doctorate degree in singing (from UCLA).

He is a very popular singer and has collaborated with many of the Iran’s musical greats. His album “Maste Eshgh” (drunk with love) is a beautiful and memorable album which features one of Iran’s master violinist Assadollah Malek, with a piece by Master Ali Tajvidi.

He joined Radio Tehran in 1958 and collaborated with the Golha programme.

Shusha Guppy

Shushā (Shamsi) Guppy (1935 — 2008), was a writer, editor and, under the name of “Shusha”, a singer of Persian and Western folk songs. She had lived in London since the mid-1960s. She studied in Paris where she became interested in singing and in particular folk songs. She also trained as an opera singer. She moved to London in the 60s. Her first British release, in 1971, was an album of traditional Persian music. By now, influenced by the Folk Revival, she was writing and singing some of her own songs, as well as covering the works of many contemporary singer-songwriters. She gave successful concerts in Britain, America and continental Europe, and appeared on television and radio programmes.

She contributed music and voice-over to the 1976 documentary film People of the Wind. The following year the film was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar and also for a Golden Globe. The film follows the annual migration of the nomadic Bakhtiari tribes in southern Iran. The soundtrack was later released in the USA.

Parviz Yahaghi

Parviz Yahaghi (1936 – 2007) was a distinguished composer and violinist. His birth name was Parviz Sedighi Parsi. He was musically educated primarily by his uncle Hossein Yahaghi, a violinist and violin teacher, from whom he adopted the name, Yahaghi.

In the 1960s and 1970s he worked for radio where he composed hundreds of pieces both for violin and for celebrated singers in Iran such as Banan, Marzieh, Delkash, Pouran, Elahe, Homeyra, Mahasti, Dariush Rafei, Homayoonpour, and Iraj (Hossein Khajeh Amiri). These compositions were often produced in connection with the long-running radio program Golha.

Yahaghi’s ability in playing violin, his compositions, and his musical approach made him a central figure in Persian music during his lifetime.

Varoujan Hakhbandian

Varoujan Hakhbandian, mostly known as Varoujan (1936 – 1977) was an Armenian Iranian songwriter, composer and arranger. He has composed and written songs for Ebi, Googoosh, Dariush, Leila Forouhar, and Farhad Mehrad.

The music for the movie “Bar Faraaze Aasemaanha” (High in the Skies), composed shortly before his death, is one of his famous works. He has also made songs for some films, for example, The Dagger and The Beehive

Rahmatollah Badiyi

Rahmatollah Badiyi (1936-) is a violinist and kamanche player. He was a student of Rubik Gregorian. He also studied at the Tehran Music Conservatory and attended Abolhasan Saba classes.

He worked on the radio and was a collaborator on the “golha” programme. He also taught at the music conservatory. He left Iran for Holland in 1978.

Farhad Fakhreddini

Farhad  Fakhreddini (1938-) is a renowned Iranian composer, conductor and founder of  Iran’s National Orchestra (1998). His teachers were, Abolhasan Saba, Ali Tajvidi and Aslanian. Fakhreddini has composed music for Fereydoon  Moshiri’s poetry. In July 2008, a stamp was issued in his honour.

In July 2009, Fakhreddini quit his position with the Iran’s National Orchestra. He has now established a non-governmental orchestra, Mehrnavazan.  The orchestra is scheduled to perform a wide repertoire of Iranian national music.

Ahmad Pejman

Ahmad Pejman (1937), also pronounced as Ahmad Pezhman, is a classical composer. Pejman was exposed to the sounds and rhythms of southern Iran from early childhood. In high school he started violin lessons with Heshmat Sanjari and music theory with Hossein Nassehi.

As a young violinist with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, he was awarded a scholarship to study composition at the Music Academy in Vienna. He studied composition with Thomas Christian David, Alfred Uhl, and Hans Jelineck. Upon graduation from the Academy of Music in Vienna, Pejman returned to Iran in 1969. He continued to compose symphonic works, operas, ballets, and also wrote many scores for motion pictures and television programs.

He entered Columbia University’s Doctorate of Music program in New York in 1976 and continued his studies with Buelant Arel, Vladimir Ushachevsky and Jack Beeson. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Pejman moved to Los Angeles and continued to compose and arrange music for jazz and pop ensembles, and motion pictures Threat, 1985.

In 1992, Pejman was commissioned to write a cantata for choir and orchestra for the liberation of Khorramshahr, Beh Yade Khorramshahr, 1992. He was then commissioned to write music for a musical theater to be performed at Vahdat Hall (previously called Rudaki), Mokhtar, 1993. Since 1993 Pejman has been writing film music and composing for the orchestra and choir and released various soundtracks and CDs.

Loris Cheknavarian

Loris Tjeknavorian (also spelled Cheknavarian, born in 1937) is a contemporary Iranian composer and conductor. He was born in Borujerd in the province of Lorestan, southwestern Iran, and was educated in Tehran. In the course of his career, Tjeknavarian has made about 100 recordings and written more than 75 compositions (symphonies, operas, a requiem, chamber music, concerto for piano, violin, guitar, cello and pipa (Chinese lute), ballet music, choral works and an oratorio. And over 45 Film mosaics. Tjeknavarian also has conducted international orchestras throughout the world: in Austria, UK, US, Canada, Hungary, Iran, Finland, former USSR, Armenia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Denmark, Israel, etc.

In October 2010 he became the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra in Southern California. His own compositions have been performed by major orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Symphony Orchestra in New York and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra.

Jalal Zolfonun

Jalal Zolfonun (1937 – 2012) was a master of the setar, as well as a composer and teacher of Persian music. He received his earliest musical training from his father, Habib Zoufonoun, and his older brother, Mahmoud Zoufonoun on the tar. At the age of 13, Zolfonun enrolled the National School for Iranian Music to study musical theory, composition and technique under Ruhollah Khaleghi and Musa Khan Maroufi. In 1967, Jalal Zolfonun was accepted into the faculty of the fine arts department of Tehran University, where he would further study the setar with Master Noor Ali Boroumand and Dariush Safvat.

From then on, he dedicated himself to the delicate instrument. He began combining the techniques of the older masters of Setar (an Iranian instrument with four metal strings) with his own ingenuity and mystic sensitivity. For the first time, with Iran’s leading classical singer Shahram Nazeri, he founded an ensemble composed of only Setar players. Zolfonun also wrote a seminal book on “Setar Playing / Teaching Method”.

Manoochehr Sadeghi

Manoochehr Sadeghi (born in 1938) is a santur player. He has been lecturing, teaching, recording and performing Persian classical music on the santur professionally for over 50 years. Sadeghi began studying the santur at the age of 7 and by the age of 14 he became the prized pupil of Ostad Abol Hassan Saba. At the age of 19 he performed in Saba’s first. In 1964, Sadeghi emigrated to the United States to pursue his education and career. First at the California State University, Fullerton and then at UCLA, where he began teaching and performing while earning his degrees.

Sadeghi has a variety of students and is compiling his lessons into an online music school. Sadeghi was a teacher at the Conservatory of Persian National Music in Iran from 1958–1964 and on the faculty at UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology from 1967 to 1997.

Farhad Meshkat

Farhad Meshkat (1938-) is an Iranian conductor. He studied music in Geneva, New York and Rome. He performed his first concert in New York in 1963. Whilst studying in Italy he also studied music composition and wrote a number of film scores. He returned to Iran in 1969 and was appointed as the conductor of Iranian National Radio and Television Orchestra. Three years later he became the conductor of Tehran Symphony Orchestra (1972-78). He was known as a reformer and moderniser and during his tenure the TSO expanded its repertoire, recruited a number of renowned international instrumentalists and became a truely modern Iranian orchestra. He now lives in USA.

Houshang Zarif

Houshang Zarif (1938-) is a tar player.

He was a graduate of Tehran Music conservatory and a student of Ruhollah Khaleghi, JavadMaroufi and Hossein Tehrani. From 1963 he taught at the Music Conseratory. Amongst his students were Hossein Alizadeh, Daryoush Tala’ii and Hamid Motebassem.

He was the main tar soloist for Faramarz Payevar’s orchestra and has toured many European and Asian countries with that group. He has continued with his effort in introducing Iranian music to audiences abroad. He has also published a number of books on various aspects of Iranian music.

Pari Zanganeh

Pari Zanganeh (1939-) is an opera and folklore singer (spinto soprano), a writer and an untiring humanitarian campaigner for the blinds.

She is a graduate of Tehran Conservatoire and was taught by Evelyn Baghtcheban. She also continued her studies in Europe. In 1971 she lost her eyesight during a car accident but after a short pause continued with her artistic activities. She travelled extensively in Iran to research Iranian ethnic and folk music and her reproduction of these in a classic style is considered one of her notable achievements.

She has also authored a number of children books and a major work about Iranian names. She has also been extensively involved in charity work for the blinds.

Anoushirvan Rohani

Anoushirvan Rohani (1939 – ) is an Iranian pianist and songwriter. Anoushiravan received music lessons from his father Reza Rohani, himself a poet and violinist and later studied piano with Javad Maroufi at the Persian National Music Conservatory in Tehran. In 1958, Anoushirvan officially began his long collaboration with the National Iranian Radio. Whilst on the Radio he wrote and performed with many famous Iranian singers including Vigen, Marzieh, Pouran, Hayedeh, Mahasti, and Ahdieh. Since the late 70s however he has been living abroad, manly in LA.

His productive career includes over 500 compositions that includes numerous vocals, orchestral music, piano pieces and film scores, among them “Soltan-e-Ghalbhaa”, “Dele Kuchuloo,” and “Gol- e-Sang.” His most famous piece, “Tavalodat Mobarak,”(lyrics by Nozar Parang), the Iranian version of the “Happy Birthday” song is undoubtedly the most often-played Iranian song.

What is unique about Anoushirvan’s accomplishment is his immense success outside of Iran, where he is much admired among international music circles. Indeed, Anoushirvan defines much of his work in the genre of light classical, and a bridge between the Eastern and Western musical traditions. Many of his songs have been performed in different languages in several countries.

Mohammad-Reza Shajarian

Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (1940 -) is an internationally acclaimed Persian traditional singer, composer and ostad (master) of Persian music. He has been called “Iran’s greatest living master of traditional Persian music.” Shajarian is also known for his skills in Persian calligraphy, and humanitarian activities.

Shajarian started singing at the age of five, under the supervision of his father, and at the age of twelve, he began studying the traditional classical repertoire known as the Radif. Shajarian started his singing career in 1959 at Radio Khorasan, rising to prominence in the 1960s with his distinct style of singing. His main teachers were Ahmad Ebadi, Esmaeil Mehrtash, Abdollah Davami, and Nour-Ali Boroumand. When asked what teacher was most influential to his development, he cited legendary Iranian tar musician Jalil Shahnaz, indicating that Shahnaz’ playing style was what he most tried to mimic with his own singing style.

Shajarian has collaborated with Parviz Meshkatian, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh, and Faramarz Payvar. In 1999 UNESCO in France presented him with the Picasso Award and in 2006 with the UNESCO Mozart Medal.

Alireza Mashayekhi

Alireza Mashayekhi (born 1940) is a notable Iranian musician, composer and conductor. He is one of the first Iranian composers who has pioneered Persian Symphonic Music. His first teachers were Lotfollah Mofakham Payan (Iranian music), Hossein Nasehi (Composition) and Ophelia Kombajian (Piano). He then pursued his passion in music in Vienna. His teachers in Vienna include Hanns Jelinek and Karl Schiske. After completing his studies at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, he went to Utrecht, the Netherlands, to pursue his study of electronic and computer music, which included attending lectures by Gottfried Michael Koenig.

In 1993, with cooperation of the pianist Farima Ghavam-Sadri, Mashayekhi founded Tehran Contemporary Music Group. He also established the Iranian Orchestra for New Music, in 1995. This orchestra alongside many concerts in Tehran, produced its first CD in 2002, which was released by Hermes Records. In 2007, Sub Rosa (label) released a double-disc anthology titled Persian Electronic Music: Yesterday and Today 1966–2006, which included classic compositions of Mashayekhi’s work along with Ata Ebtekar. In 2009, Brandon Nickell’s Isounderscore label released the vinyl double LP Ata Ebtekar & The Iranian Orchestra for New Music, Performing Works of Alireza Mashayekhi “Ornamental”.

Asadollah Malek

Assodollah Malek (1942 – 2002). was a violinist and conductor.

He was a student of masters such as Abohasan Saba and Ruhollah Khaleghi. He is a graduate of Tehran University (Faculty of Fine Arts). He started working in Radio from the early 60s and worked with many musicians and singers such as Delkash, Golpayegani and Shajarian.

After the “Islamic Revolution” he continued with his efforts in preserving the musical traditions of Iran. He invited many of the musicians previously working on the golha programme to join him in reviving those efforts. He also recorded many of his orchestral pieces in the same period.

Sheida Gharachedaghi

Sheyda Gharachedaghi (born 1941) is a composer, piano player and teacher of music.

She graduated from Vienna Conservatoire and on her return to Iran started teaching at Tehran Conservatoire. She was also working with the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults and established a centre for music education within the institute.

She has composed the music score for a number of films and TV serials, including Cloudburst by Bahram beyzayi and the famous TV serial Dear Uncle Napoelon.

Reza Shafieian

Reza Shafieian (born 1941) is a virtuoso santur player especially known for his improvisations. His teachers were, Mohammad Irani Mojarad, Nourali Boroumand and Houshang Ostovar. He is also a graduate of the Fine Art faculty of Tehran University.

He started working with Radio Tehran’s orchestras in 1963 and the National TV from 1975. He is one of the founding members of the Darvish group which has performed in Iran and abroad.

Sima Bina

Simā Binā (born 1944) is a composer, singer and song-writer of Iranian folk music. She is currently living in Cologne, Germany. She began to learn music when she was nine under the direction of her father Ahmad Bina (Tafreshi) an Iranian Classical musician and poet, After graduating from Tehran University in 1969 with a major in Arts, Sima Bina continued and completed her studies with master Abdollah Davami.

Her main focus is Iranian folk music. Bina has been able to gather and revive a collection of almost forgotten Iranian folk songs and melodies. Sima Bina is one of the leading exponents of the traditional music of Khorasan. For decades she has done extensive research on Persian folk songs, collecting, recording, writing and re-interpreting popular regional music. Her works cover the whole spectrum of Iranian folk music including Mazandarani music, Kurdish music, Turkmen music, Baloch music, Lor music.

Mohammad Baghban

Mohammad Baghban (born 1944) is a vocalist and a teacher of traditional music.  He was taught by Shapur Delshadi in Meshed and later from Javad Badizadeh and Esmail Mehrtash in Tehran. He returned to Meshed in the late 70s and has performed a number of concerts there and continued with his teachings.

Hossein Omoumi

Hossein Omoumi (born 1944) is a ney player and teacher of Persian music.  He was taught by Hassan Kasaii and Mahmud Karimi. He also has a doctorate in architecture from Florence University.

He is a noted scholar and teacher of Persian music, having served on the National Conservatory, Tehran University, Center for Conservation and Diffusion of Music (Iran National Television) in Tehran, Center for Oriental Music Studies (CEMO) of Sorbonne University in Paris, the Ethnomusicology departments of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle. He is currently Maseeh Professor in Persian Performing Arts of music at the University of California, Irvine.

He considers himself a follower of the Isfahan school of ney players. He has introduced some innovations for ney which has increased its range. He has also done some work on how to tune Iranian percussion instruments such as Tonbak and Daf.

Hasan Nahid

Hasan Nahid (born 1944) is a ney player. He was a member of a group of musicians which included Asadollah Malek, Farhang Sharif and Mahmudi Khansari performing “national music” on the radio. He was also a member of “Darvish” group which performed concerts and worked for Radio Iran. He also worked on the Golha programme.

Rashid Vatandoost

Rashid Vatandoost (born 1945) is an opera singer. He studied singing under Michael Caratto and worked in Tehran’s Opera company for a number of years.  He has performed with Tehran’s Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra on many occasions. He currently teaches classical singing. The famous song Ey Iran was performed by him  and also “danaye tus” (Esfandiar Gharehbaghi).


Parvaneh Amir-Afshari (born 1945), also known as Homeyra is an Iranian singer. She is a veteran celebrity of Iran’s Golden Years of music and considered to be one of the great female vocalists. Homeyra was exposed to Persian music from an early age. Her family often hosted large dinner parties to which Iran’s greatest musicians and singers were invited for guest entertainment. Revering other musicians and singers, the young novice became interested in singing.

Babak Bayat

Babak Bayat (1946-2006) was an Iranian composer. He studied music under Samin Baghcheban and Nosratollah Zaboli at the Tehran Opera. He also worked with Mohammad Oshal who helped to develop Bayat’s knowledge of harmony and accompaniment.

He began his career as a soundtrack composer with Ali Hatami’s “Bald Hassan” in 1970 and continued the work with Shapur Gharib’s film “The Stranger” (1972). In 1979, he began working with the Ebtekar Studio and released “Dandelion”, an album featuring songs written by Simin Ghadiri about Iranian writer of children’s stories Samad Behrangi. He also recorded the albums “Zari’s Rooster, Pari’s Shirt”, “The Silence”, and “Pick of the Dawn” with renowned Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlu. He has composed soundtracks for many Iranian films and TV series.

The Epic Music Festival, which is sponsored by the Tehran Municipality, awarded Bayat a lifetime achievement award in September 2005.

Mehran Rouhani

Mehran Rouhani (1946). He studied at Tehran University, School of Fine Arts, and then at the Royal College of Music in London. He held professorship position at the College of Fine Arts and Tehran Conservatory.

He has composed many pieces which include two string quartets, three symphonic poems, a ballet for large orchestra, a clarinet concerto, two pieces for string orchestra, Trio Fantasy No.1 for Flute, Guitar and Cello, and Trio Fantasy No.2 for Flute, Clarinet and Piano, over twenty piano works, and many pieces for Chamber Ensembles.

Since 2000 he has moved to London.

Shahin Farhat

Shahin Farhat (born 1947, Tehran) is a composer. He is a music graduate from the University of Tehran and a post-graduate in composition from the state University of New York in Binghamton. He continued with his research at the University of Strasbourg in France. His doctorate thesis was about the works of Iranian composers.

Farhat is a professor and the head of the department of music at the University of Tehran.

Mohammad Reza Lotfi

Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi (1947) is a Persian classical musician known for his mastery of the tar and setar. He studied at the National Conservatory in Tehran under Habibollah Salehi and Ali Akbar Shahnazi. Some of his other eminent teachers were Abdollah Davami, from whom he learned the Radif, and Sa’id Hormozi, who taught him the setar. While attending the College of Fine Arts at Tehran University, Lotfi also became the student of Nour-Ali Boroumand. He also worked at the Center for the Preservation and Propagation of Traditional Iranian Music, both as a soloist and a conductor.

After graduating in 1973, Lotfi joined the faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University. He continued his collaboration with Radio and Television and co-founded the Shayda Ensemble. Between 1978 and 1980, Lotfi became the Head of the School of Music at Tehran University. He also served as the director of the Center for the Preservation and Propagation of Traditional Iranian Music and the Chavosh Conservatory.

He has been living in the United States since 1986 and has performed widely throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. A prolific musician, he has made numerous recordings both as a solo artist and with major Iranian musicians such as, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Shahram Nazeri, Hossein Alizadeh, and Parviz Meshkatian.

Bagher Moazen

Bagher Moazen (1948) is a classical guitarist and composer. He first started guitar under Abdullah Mafakher who introduced him to the delights of Spanish music. His next inspiration and teacher was the well-known French musician, Dr. Jean During, who had come to Iran to study Persian music. Later, in 1973, Bagher continued his studies in London. He studied with Joseph Urshalmi, Timothy Walker and John W. Duarte.

In 1979, Bagher returned to Iran to become the first teacher of the classical guitar for full-time students at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Later he opened his own school of music. Since 1987, Bagher has been living in Canada.

Ali Rahbari

Ali (Alexander) Rahbari is a composer and conductor. Born in Tehran in 1948, Rahbari studied violin and composition with Rahmatollah Badiee and Hossein Dehlavi at the Persian National Music Conservatory. After receiving his violin diploma from the National Conservatory, he moved to Austria to continue his studies in composition and conducting at the Vienna Academy with Gottfried von Einem, Hans Swarovsky and Karl Österreicher.

On his return to Iran, he became the director of the National Music Academy in 1973 and the director of the Tehran Conservatory of Music from 1974 to 1977. During this period Rahbari, in co-operation with the young musicians of the time, established Iran’s Jeunesse Musicale Orchestra where he was its music director and permanent conductor. He also occasionally conducted the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, the National Iranian Radio and Television Chamber Orchestra and the Tehran Opera Orchestra as a guest conductor.

Rahbari moved to Europe in 1977. In 1978 he recorded “Symphonische Dichtungen aus Persien” [Symphonic Poems from Persia] with Nürnberg Symphony Orchestra in Germany, with works of some of the best Iranian composers: “Bijan & Manijeh” by Hossein Dehlavi, “Dance”, “Ballet-Immpressionen” and “Rhapsodie” by Ahmad Pejman, “Sheherazade” by Aminollah (Andre) Hossein, “Iranian Suite” by Houshang Ostovar, “Persian Mysticism in G” (his own composition) and “Mouvement Symphonic” by Mohammad Taghi Massoudieh.

He was invited in 1979 to conduct Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1980 Salzburg Easter Festival he became Karajan’s assistant. Since then he has been mostly conducting. From 1988 to 1996 Rahbari was the principal conductor of the Belgian Radio and Television Philharmonic Orchestra and later, the music director of Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.

Fariborz Lachini

Fariborz Lachini (1949) is an Iranian film score composer based in Canada. He started his career in Iran writing music for children. The title theme of National Iranian TV’s children programme for more than two decades, was one of his earlier works. He also created music for some of Iran’s pop icons of the time. He studied Musicology in the Universite de Paris – Sorbonne.

He returned home and created a contemporary solo piano albums with a unique style, a combination of Persian and European Romantic styles called “Paeez Talaee”. He started composing for motion pictures and soon earned himself recognition as a pioneer of computer technology in music in Cinema of Iran. Since 1988, he has scored for more than a hundred feature films, some of which have been showcased internationally in North America, Europe and Asia.

Manuchehr Sahbayi

Manuchehr Sahbayi is a classical composer and conductor. He also plays the oboe.

He did his early studies at Tehran Conservatory. His first teacher was Hossein Nasehi. After graduation he started teaching at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University. As an Oboe player he was actively involved with Tehran Symphony Orchestra. In 1975 he went abroad to further his studies in classical music.

His doctoral theses at the University of Strasburg was about the history of symphonic music in Iran. As part of these studies Sahbayi has conducted and recorded many of the symphonic works written by Iranian musicians.


Fātemeh Vā’ezi (1950), commonly known by her stage name Parīsā is a Persian Classical vocalist and musician. A student of Mahmoud Karimi, Parisa has published several albums and performed numerous concerts throughout the world, sometimes with Dastan ensemble. Her major debut in Tehran was a concert at the Iran-America Society arranged by Lloyd Miller, a disciple of Dr. Daryush Safvat. After that concert, Miller, through writing reviews and other articles in various Terhan newspapers and magazines, was able to influence the Ministry of Culture to allow Parisa to be transferred from there to Dr. Safvat’s Center for Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music where her skills as a purely traditional dastgah vocalist would enhance their excellent instrumental ensemble.

After she was established at the Center, Miller convinced the CBS Iran A & R person to produce tapes of Parisa with the Center’s instrumental ensemble the most sought after being in Dastgah-e Mahur and Dastgah-e Nava. These became hit releases and Parisa was invited to perform Chahargah at the famous Shiraz Arts Festival and other major venues. Her best work was with the Center where now famous virtuosi such as Dr.Dariush Talai (Tar, Setar), Hossein Alizadeh (Tar,Setar), Jalal Zolfonun (Setar)and Majid Kiani (Santour) were established.

Reza Ghassemi

Reza Ghassemi (1949) is an Iranian novelist and musician. He is a master of the Persian setar. He has composed a number of songs for Shahram Nazeri. He has also been on stage with some other leading Iranian vocalists such as Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Sepideh Raissadat.

His best-known composition is the last track on one of the best-selling classical Iranian album, Gol-e Sadbarg released in 1984. This album, which includes compositions from Jalal Zolfonoun, Shahram Nazeri as well as Reza Ghassemi, is believed to have the most influential effect on Iranian young artists who were reluctant to learn the Setar.

Since the release of the album Gol-e Sadbarg, Setar found unbelievably great popularity among Iranians. Though he lives in France, Ghassemi has not given up teaching Iranian music.

Hossein Alizadeh

Hossein Alizadeh is an Iranian composer, radif-preserver, researcher, teacher, and tar and setar instrumentalist and improviser. He has made numerous recording with prominent musicians including Shajarian, Nazeri, Khaladj, and Gasparyan, and is a member of the Musical group, Masters of Persian Music.

Alizadeh was born in 1951 in Tehran. He graduated from the music conservatory in 1975 and entered the school of fine arts in the University of Tehran where he studied composition and Persian music. He continued his education at the Berlin University of the Arts in composition and musicology. He has also studied with various masters of traditional Persian music such as Houshang Zarif, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, Nur-Ali Borumand, Mahmoud Karimi, Abdollah Davami, Yusef Forutan, and Sa’id Hormozi. From these masters he learned the radif of Persian classical music.

He plays the tar and setar, and has recently derived the sallaneh and shurangiz from the ancient Persian lute barbat. He was nominated for the 2007 Grammy Award along with Armenian musician, Djivan Gasparyan, for their collaboration album, The Endless Vision. In 2008, he was voted as “Iran’s most distinguished musician of the year”.

Shahram Nazeri

Shahram Nazeri (1951) is a contemporary Kurdish tenor who sings classical Iranian music from Kermanshah. He has been accompanied by some of the authorities of Iranian traditional music such as Jalil Shahnaz, Alizadeh, Jalal Zolfonoun and Payvar. He was the first vocalist to set Rumi’s poetry to Iranian music thirty-five years ago, thus establishing a tradition of Sufi music within both Iranian classical music. Nazeri has released over forty recordings to date. His Gol-e Sadbarg (The One-hundred-petalled Rose) is among the best-selling albums of Persian classical music and Sufi music.

His Throughout his childhood, he was under the tutelage of various Persian musicians, including Abdollah Davami, Nourali Boroumand, and Mahmood Karimi. He specializes in the tradition of Sufi music, which turns to song the mystical poetry of Rumi, Hafez, Attar, and others. Nazeri is known particularly for several decades of works on Rumi poetry. He is also working on the composition and arrangement of a symphony on Firdowsi’s Shahnameh.

Reza Vali

Reza Vali (1952) is an Iranian musician and composer. He studied at the Tehran Conservatory. In 1972, he attended the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, where he studied composition. He later attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received his PhD in composition and theory. He is currently on faculty at Carnegie Mellon University.

Vali’s orchestral works have been performed in the United States by the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001. His chamber music has been performed by groups such as the Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Da Capo Chamber Players.

Ghashang Kamkar

Ghashang Kamkar (1953) is an Iranian Kurdish musician. She is the only female member of the musical group Kamkarha, composed of her seven brothers and her. She learned to play the Setar from her father, Hassan Kamkar, and later from musical masters such as Saeed Hormozi, Ahmad Ebadi, Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Hossein Alizadeh. She also plays the violin. She now teaches Setar.

The Kamkars group is one of the leading musical ensembles in Iran today. Their repertoire ranges from the vast array of Kurdish music with its poignant, entrancing melodies and uplifting high energy rhythms to the traditional classical music of Iran.

Dariush Talai

Dariush Talai (1953) plays both the Tar and Setar. He studied Persian music with masters of the Radif. His teachers include Ali Akbar Shahnazi and Nur Ali Borumand with whom he studied radif and old compositions, as well as youssef Forutan and Abdollah Davami, with whom he studied Setar and vocal techniques and repertories.

Master Talai has taught at the University of Tehran, University of Sorbonne-Paris, University of Washington-Seatlle and was awarded a number of major prizes for his contribution to Persian Art Music. He has collaborated with artists such as Maurice Béjart, Carolyn Carlson and Michel Portal

Mohammad Shams

Mohammad Shams (1954) is a composer and conductor. Born in a family of musicians, he has composed more than 650 pieces of traditional, classical and modern music. Despite the troubles an artist in exile must face, Shams found ways to introduce Classical Persian music in international events such as the London Festival in England.

He describes his music as being attached to poetry and to the roots of Persian music. His style is described ample and accurate, paying attention to tones and sounds, to contrasts and to orchestral material full of expression. Shams has said about Persian music: “To me, music has to bring love, harmony, pleasure, happiness, but also rhythm and movement. Our music is so-called sad. It is not. When talking about classical music, I mean it has to keep its nature, but also evolve with time”.

Andre Arezoomanaian

Andre Arezoomanaian (1954-2011) was an Iranian-Armenian pianist and composer. He has written musical scores for a number of films and has performed with Fariborz Lachini and Majid Entezami.

“Golden Autumn” (composed by Lachini) is a good example of his playing skills. Another album of his published posthumously was “The Last Song of Love”.

Shahrdad Rohani

Shahrdad Rohani (1956) is a composer, violinist/pianist, and conductor. He studied at the Academy and Conservatories of Music in Vienna and has received several important scholarships and awards both in Europe and United States.

Mr. Rohani is the music director and conductor of the COTA symphony orchestra in Los Angeles. He has appeared as a guest conductor with a number of orchestras including London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras and many others.

In December 1998 Mr. Rohani was commissioned by the government of Thailand and the committee of the 13th Asian Games to compose and conduct the music for opening ceremonies. The composition became the most popular song of the Asian Games. Mr. Rohani has also recorded several classical CDs with the Slovak Radio Symphony orchestra for Discover/Koch International including the Tchaikovsky Ballet music.

Dariush Pirniakan

Dariush Pirniakan (1955) is an Iranian musician, tar and setar player, and music researcher. He studied tar under the supervision of Mohammad Hasan Ozari, maestro Ali-Akbar Shahnazi, Dr. Dariush Safvat, Yousef Foroutan, Saeed Hormozi, and Mahmoud Karimi. While being a student of late maestro Ali Akbar khan Shahnazi, he studied the radif of Mirza Hossein-gholi and Shahnazi’s advanced level repertoire.

After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran University, he started to work and teach at the Centre for Preservation and Propagation of Persian Classical Music. He has had long term collaboration with maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian since 1979. This collaboration lead to more than 220 concerts in Iran, USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, and UAE. He also had been one of the members of Aref Ensemble, directed by late maestro Parviz Meshkatian. He has been a music professor at Tehran University, the deputy chairman of Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Tehran University, as well as spokesman of Iran Music House. As the founder of Shahnazi Ensemble, he has also had several collaborations with Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh as singer.

Behzad Ranjbaran

Behzad Ranjbaran (1955) is a Persian composer. Ranjbaran was born and raised in Iran. He entered the Tehran Conservatory at the age of 9. Ranjbaran continued his study of composition at Indiana University. He obtained a DMA from the Juilliard School.

Ranjbaran’s music is strongly rooted in the Neo-Romantic movement of the late 20th Century, as well as showing the influence of Iranian and other non-Western music. He has written compositions for, among others, Joshua Bell, Renée Fleming, and Yo-Yo Ma, as well a piano concerto for Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Many of his works are inspired by Persian culture and literature. Persian Trilogy, a large orchestral cycle completed in 2000, was inspired by the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. He has been on the faculty of the Juilliard School since 1991.

Parviz Meshkatian

Parviz Meshkatian (1955-2009) was a composer, santur player and university lecturer. He studied music theory in Tehran University where he  was introduced to radif by the masters Nour Ali Boroumand, Dariush Safvat, Mohammad Taghi Massoudieh, and Mehdi Barkeshli. He focused on the radif of Mirza Abdollah for santur and setar.

Meshkatian was one of the founding members of the Aref Ensemble (1977) and the Sheyda ensemble. He was also one of the founding members of the Chavosh Artistic and Cultural Foundation. The Chavosh foundation has played a major role in the development of Iranian music for a few decades.

Meshkatian toured Europe and Asia and regularly performed in countries such as France, Germany, England, Sweden, Netherlands, and Denmark. Meshkatian’s collaboration with Mohammad Reza Shajarian produced some of the most memorable recordings of contemporary Persian traditional music. While continuing his work as a composer and a researcher, Meshkatian was also teaching music at Tehran University.

Hengameh Akhavan

Hengameh Akhavan (1955) is a vocalist. She studied classical singing first with her father and later with Adib Khansari.

She started singing for Radio in 1975 collaborating with the Shayda, Aref and Samai Ensembles, recreating the works of Ghamar. In 1984 she was invited to collaborate with the Archive of Iranian national Radio and TV. She has performed many concerts in Iran and Europe.

Alireza Eftekhari

Alireza Eftekhari (1956) is a vocalist of Iranian classical and popular music. He learnt music from several well-known Iranian musicians, such as Taj Esfahani and Ali Tajvidi.

Eftekhari is a popular and prolific Persian singer. He put significant effort in changing the situation of popular music in Iran. In his own words: “In order to introduce pop music to Iranian music culture, I have made myself a scapegoat.”

Iraj Rahmanpour

Iraj Rahmanpour (1956‎) is an Iranian poet, singer, songwriter, and writer. He developed in the field of music and played a pivotal role among neo-folkloric artists, movement which led to a revolution in the popular, folk music of his local culture (Lorestan and Bakhtiary).

His activities began from 1977. He has performed in numerous concerts in Iran, Sweden, Norway, UAE, Portugal and Iraq. He is very popular in the Bakhtiari, Lorestan, Ilam and Kurdistan regions. His goal is the development of his native culture. His style in singing is unique. He researches about the lost and obsolete songs and the forgotten ancient languages of Iran and revives them with his songs.

Maryam Akhondy

Maryam Akhondy (1957) is a classical trained singer from Tehran. She was a student Esmail Mehrtash and Nassrollah Nassehpour, two masters of classical Iranian music. She moved to Europe and, since 1986, has lived in Cologne, Germany. After 1986, Maryam Akhondy started working with other Iranian musicians in exile. With Nawa and Tschakawak, two groups of traditional Iranian musicians, she performed in Germany and Scandinavia.

At the same time she founded Ensemble Barbad, which has been touring all over Europe for the past years. Maryam Akhondy and Ensemble Barbad’s newest project is called Sarmast (intoxicated) based on her own compositions in the style of classical Persian art and music.

Between 1999 and 2000, Maryam Akhondy created an all-female acapella group, Banu. Over the years, she has been collecting songs and has published some of them them in 2004 on her album Banu – Songs of Persian Women.

Majid Derakhshani

Majid Derakhshani (born in 1957) is an acclaimed tar player. He studied string instruments and composition at the University of Tehran, twhere Mohammad Reza Lotfi became his teacher. Subsequent to his emigration to Germany he founded the Nawa Musikzentrum in Cologne; an active centre for Persian classical music outside of Iran.

He has composed for many musicians, such as Mohammad Reza Shajarian (Album Dar Khial). Majid’s declared ambition is to familiarize western culture with Iranian classical music. He has developed a musical style that spices oriental music with European elements. Majid Derakhshani’s cd’s: -sobhe omid -shahre ashenai -lahzeye nab -fasleh baraan -ensemble Didar -Chavoshi -Dar Khial -rendaneh mast. With Mohammad reza Shajarian -morghe khoshsokhan and Boudan o soroudan -toranjestan.

Nader Mashayekhi

Nader Mashayekhi (1958) is a Persian composer and conductor. He studied at University of Music in Vienna and his teacher was Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. During the 1990s he was music director of an Austrian new music ensemble named “Wien 2001”.

He was also the conductor of Tehran Symphony Orchestra (2006-07). His compositions have been performed by Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna, Ensemble Zwischen Töne, Berlin, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Work in Progress, Berlin, Savarian Symphony Orchestra and Tehran Symphony Orchestra.

Hamid Motebassem

Hamid Motebassem (1958) is a classical Persian musician and tar and setar player. His first teacher was his father. Later he started to study with musicians like Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh and Hushang Zarif. In 1991 Motebassem founded Dastan ensemble.  His works include:

– Simorq (based on Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh) for voice, choire and orchestre of Persian instruments

– Zemzeme-haa [Whispers], for voice and Persian instruments

– Darya, for traditional Persian instruments.

Mario Taghadossi

Mario Taghadossi (1958) is an opera singer. He studied violin and singing in his hometown  Tehran and completed his singing education in LA. He then attended the famous  Juilliard School, where he took part in the “Master Classes”, with “Sherill Milnes”, “Renate Tebaldi” and “Luciano Pavarotti”. At the age of 21, Taghadossi won the first  prize in the “Artist of the Future” voice contest.

Among his foreign performances, his tour of Leningrad and Japan rate as one of his best performances. Mario Taghadossi has a large opera repertoire exceeding 36 parts. Recently  he performed the major part of Pinuccio in a musical that was composed and led by  Mr. Rahbari, another Iranian artist.

At the moment he is working on some Persian classical and folkloric songs. He has already  produced a CD with some selected pieces from his present work. He also recorded the opera “La Fanciulla Del West” with the “Hessischen  Rundfunk Orchestra in Frankfurt” with “Gwenth Jones” and “Marcello Viotti”.

Kayvan Mirhadi

Kayvan Mirhadi (1960) is an Iranian composer, conductor, and guitarist. In the course of his career Mirhadi has conducted many choirs and chamber orchestras dedicated to classical music. He esablished a choir and chamber orchestra called Camerata and has begun to perform contemporary classical music in Iran. He has also arranged some tracks of Rock-band celebrities for his orchestra such as Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Scorpions, Iron Maiden and has begun to give live concerts.

He has taught choir, Guitar, Theory of western music and History at the University of Tehran, Azad University, Tehran conservatory and the old and prestigious Tehran college of music (Honarestan).

Parviz Rahman Panah

Parviz Rahman Panah (1961) is a tar player. He entered the Conservatory of Music in Tehran when he was 9. He has introduced a unique style of playing the tar by blending the traditional Persian solos with Western arrangements.

Saeed Farajpouri

Saeed Farajpouri (1961) is an Iranian kamancheh player of Kurdish descent. He is also a prolific Persian music composer and a lecturer at School of Music, Tehran University. He studied under the supervision of Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hossein Alizadeh and Hassan Kamkar.

He has been a member of the Dastan ensemble since 2000, and toured with Mohammad-Reza Shajarian in 2008 as part of the Ava ensemble.

Hossein Behroozinia

Hossein Behroozinia (1962) is a barbat and oud player. He studied oud, playing under the supervision of Mansour Nariman. Behrooznia also learned the radif under the supervision of Mohammad Reza Lotfi. He was a student at the Conservatory of Persian music, and later the music director of Ensemble Khaleghi as well as the director of music education at the Center of the Preservation of Persian music.

In 2003 the Ministry of Culture of Iran decorated him with the “First Order of Arts”. From Stone to Diamond, Behruzinia’s latest album won the second prize in the Middle Eastern Album category at the Just Plain Folks Music Awards.

Kayhan Kalhor

Kayhan Kalhor (1963) is a kamancheh player, composer and master of classical Kurdish and Persian music. Kayhan Kalhor was born in Kermanshah but grew up in Tehran. He began studying music at age seven. By age thirteen he was playing in the National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran. Continuing his music studies under various teachers, he studied in the Persian radif tradition and also travelled to study in the northern part of Khorasan province, where music traditions have Kurdish and Turkic influences as well as Persian. He later moved to Rome and Ottawa to study European classical music. He is graduated from music program of Carleton University.

Kayhan Kalhor has a wide range of musical influences and uses several musical instruments, and crosses cultural borders with his work, but at his core he is an intense player of the kamanche. He has composed works for, and played alongside, the famous Iranian vocalists Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri. He has also composed and performed with the Indian sitar player Shujaat Husain Khan and Indian tabla player Swapan Chaudhuri, the three forming the group Ghazal, and producing several albums.

Kalhor now resides in USA. His composition from 2010, “I was there”, is based on a melody attributed to Ziryab, a ninth-century Persian Kurdish musician.

Davood Azad

Davood Azad (1963) is an accomplished instrumentalists and singer of Iranian classical music  He is also known for his Azeri folk music and sufi music..

In his recent work, “The Divan of Rumi & Bach”, Davod Azad combines Iranian Traditional music with Bach’s melodies.

Hamid Reza Noorbakhsh

Hamid Reza Noorbakhsh (1965) is a classical vocalist and musician.

He studied Iranian classical music under the supervision of Mohammad Reza Shajarian and has performed with several music ensembles, including the Shams Ensemble and the Aref Ensemble, as well as with the Ukraine Philharmonic Orchestra.


Cyrus Forough

Cyrus Forough is an Iranian violinist noted for his “fiery intensity” and “poetic vision”. He is a Laureate of the Tchaikovsky International Competition and first prize winner of the Milwaukee Symphony Violin Competition.

He is a graduate of the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music. He also studied under David Oistrakh at the Moscow Conservatory. Following Oistrakh’s death, Forough went to the United States to study with Josef Gingold at Indiana University. He has toured extensively in recital and with orchestras throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East. He is a professor of violin and chamber music at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.


Ardavan Kamkar

Ardavan Kamkar (1968) is an Iranian-Kurdish santur player. He is a member of the Kamkaran ensemble.

He studied santur under his father Hassan Kamkar. In addition to playing the santur, Ardavan has also taken music composition, harmony and counterpoint lessons with Houshang and Arsalan Kamkar. Ardavan has developed his own unique style. Technically he is considered as an innovator.

Peyman Yazdanian

Peyman Yazdanian (1968) is a pianist and composer. He studied under the supervision of Farman Behbud and also took part in master classes held in Tehran with Austrian Masters from Vienna and Graz conservatories as well as an advanced stage course in Marseille with professor Ginette Gaubert.

Taking part in the international piano competition, Concour Musical de France, held in 1998, he was awarded the second prize and the year after he won the first prize at the same competition. Since 1979 he has written 37 pieces for the Piano, most of which have been performed in various concerts in Iran, Italy and France.He has also composed the score of the opening announcement of the Locarno International Film Festival in 1998 (Birth of Light directed by Abbas Kiarostami). He has introduced a new form of expressionism based on Persian motives and its oriental moods.

Hooman Khalatbari

Hooman Khalatbari is an Iranian Pianist and conductor. He graduated from Tehran University of Art in 1996. From 1988 to 1996, he was the principal pianist of Tehran Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor of Tehran Symphony Choir. He then moved to Austria and continued his education in University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz. He finished his studies in orchestra conducting and choir conducting and graduated from the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz with honours. He was the assistant conductor and later the principal conductor of the Junger Kuenstler opera festival in Graz between 1999 to 2001. Since 2001, he is the founder and artistic director of the Kirchstetten Castle International Music Festival in northern Austria.

Zohreh Jooya

Zohreh Jooya is a singer born in Meshed, Iran. She studied music in Amsterdam and Vienna in 1980. She earned a masters degree in opera at the Conservatoire of the City of Vienna. She has created a style of her own in interpreting the traditional music of Persia.

Her work with Majid Derakhshani, “Music of the Persian Mystics”, based on Hafez poetry played on Oriental and European instruments was published by ARC Music. She also sings mystical songs from the ancient poet Nezami in “Shirin and Farhad”, “The Indian Princess” and “Shahrzad” .

Her European classical engagements have been, mostly in opera but she has also performed songs of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on television and radio shows.

Darya Dadvar

Daryā Dādvar (1972) is an accomplished Iranian soprano soloist and composer living in Paris, France.

In 1991, she left Iran for France where she studied music. She is a graduate of The National Conservatory in Toulouse. She earned her Diplôme d’Etudes Musicales in voice in June 1999, and has, subsequently, completed a four-year professional course in the Baroque style at the Conservatory of Toulouse in 2000. Darya also holds a postgraduate Master of Arts degree from School of Fine Arts of Toulouse.

Darya has given concert performances in Canada, France, Germany, Iran, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States of America. In 2002, Darya was a guest performer in Tehran with the Armenian Symphony Orchestra in the role of Tahmineh, in a work composed and directed by Loris Tjeknavorian based on the tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab from Ferdowsi’s shahname.

Mehrdad Pakbaz

Mehrdad Pakbaz (1973) is a classical guitar player. He started playing the Guitar with Dariush Abolhassani and Henrik Eivazian and attended music theory courses offered by Mehran Rohani. He also studied the  Persian Musical Repertoire under the supervision of Hossein Alizadeh and Dariush Talaii. He is a graduate of the Music and Performing Arts University of Vienna. He is currently continuing his doctorate studies  at the University of Vienna.

He is one of the artists working with Hermes Records in Iran and has performed various concerts in Austria, Iran, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic

Abdolreza Razmjoo

Abdolreza Razmjoo (1975) is a composer, arranger and Tenor singer.

At the age of 14, he began playing Tanbur and later Tar and Setar. He has written three pieces for symphony orchestra (Kermanshah, Iran, and sleep). He has produced a number of albums. He has also been involved with music for films.

Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour

Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour (1974) is a composer. He received his BMus from the Academy of Music in Esbjerg, Denmark in piano and pedagogy in 2001. In 2003 he gained a BMus in composition at Trinity College of Music and in 2004 his MA in composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

In 2003 he won first prize at the Biennial Competition for New Music at Tehran University for his solo piano. In the same year he was awarded a Silver Medal for outstanding achievement at Trinity College of Music, presented by the Duke of Kent.

In 2005 he was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra to compose a harp concerto ‘A Persian Reflection’ under the baton of Pascal Rophé in 2006 in London, featured on BBC Radio 3 in a special programme of music from Persia.


Homayoun Shajarian

Homayoun Shajarian (1975) is a classical vocalist, as well as a Tombak and Kamancheh player.

He is the son of Mohammad Reza Shajarian, the renowned vocalist of Persian traditional music. He studied Nasser Farhangfar and Jamshid Mohebbi. He also attended Tehran Conservatory of Music and chose Kamancheh as his professional instrument.. In 1991, he accompanied his father in concerts of Ava Music Ensemble in US, Europe and Iran, playing Tombak; and from 1999 onward has started accompanying him also on vocals. His first independent work Nassim-e Vasl, composed by Mohammad Javad Zarrabian, was published  in May 2003.

Maziar Heidari

Maziar Heidari (1976) is an Iranian Conductor, Composer, and Pianist. He is a graduate from Tehran Art University where he studied under Ahmad Pejman, Sharif Lotfi and Hossein Dehlavi. He was also a composer, assistant conductor and pianist for Iran National Music Orchestra for more than 10 years.

In 2006 he was awarded as the best composer in Iranian Music Festival. In summer 2011, he won the Tirgan Festival trophy for his conducting of Pardis Orchestra. He is also one of the co-founders of an Iranian classical music group named ICOT (Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto).

Sahba Motallebi

Sahba Motallebi (1978) is a songwriter and a tar player. She has also authored two books on Persian classical music, namely “Tolou” and “Nyaiesh”.

She is a graduate of Tehran conservatory. Her teachers were Fariborz Azizi, Hossein Alizadeh and Mehran Rouhani.


Mohammad Motamedi

Mohammad Motamedi (1978) is a vocalist and a ney player. He studies under Hossein Taherzadeh and Hamidreza Noorbakhsh. He was also a student of Taj Esfahani and Adib Khansari.

He has performed with a number of music groups including, Khordhid (Majid Derakhshani), Hamnavazan Sheyda (Mohammadreza Lotfi) and his own group Adib. He has also performed with Iran’s Nationa Orchestra (under Farhad Fakhreddini).

Hooshyar Khayam

Hooshyar Khayam (1978) is an Iranian pianist and composer. His music has been performed by Hossein Alizadeh, Aram Talalyan, Wayne Foster-Smith, Todd Palmer, Zsofia Boros, Isabel Villanueva, Golfam Khayam, Artur Avanesov, Stephen Prutsman, and the Kronos Quartet.

His works include music for solo piano, chamber works, large symphonic ensembles, string orchestra, improvisational works, vocal works, music for film and theatre, and arrangements of traditional music of Iran. Khayam has released a number of albums  with Hermes Records and others.

Monika Jalili

Monika Jalili is a vocalist. She studied singing at Manhatan Conservatory in New York. She lives in USA and has performed many concerts in different cities. With others she has created a new musical group, Noorsaz, which performs Persian songs.

Monika has performed with her ensemble in Paris, London, Budapest, Copenhagen, Montreal and Dubai, and has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada. She has appeared at The Kennedy Center, Place des Arts with The Montreal Symphony Orchestra (La Maison Symphonique), The Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, Old Town School of Folk Music, The United States Naval Academy, Maison des Cultures du Monde, Place des Arts (Cinquième Salle), Libby Gardner Hall with the Salt Lake Symphony, Gallivan Center, and many others.

Mehdi Hosseini

Seyed Mehdi Hosseini Bami (1979) is a composer of contemporary classical music.

Hosseini received his Masters degree and Doctor of Music degree in Composition from Saint Petersburg State Conservatory. His main teachers include Farhad Fakhreddini, Prof. Alexander Minatsakanian, Prof. Nigel Osborne and Prof. Sergei Slonimsky in composition, and Professor Tatiana Bershadskaya in Musicology. He also completed a composition course from the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna in 2007.

Hosseini’s compositions include works for large orchestra, chamber orchestra, voice, solo piano and various ensembles and has been performed and recorded by the Saint Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra and the Saint-Petersburg State Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra.

Golfam Khayam

Golfam Khayam is classical guitarist and a composer. She received her Master’s degree from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), University of Cincinnati. She continued her studies at the Geneva Conservatory with Dusan Bogdanovic.

Her final degree project concerned the performance  improvisation in the music of Dusan Bogdanovic and adaptation of ethnic elements. This project was promoted as a recording published with Yppan record label in Canada under the title “Ravi”( Storyteller). She works with Hermes Records in Iran  and has published a number of works with them.

Ardavan Vossoughi

Ardavan Vossoughi is a classical guitarist. He is one of the young Iranian musicians of the minimalist school. His latest album (Black Silence) produced jointly with Nima Atrkar Roshan was well received.

He works with Hermes Records founded in Tehran in 1999 by Ramin Sadighi under the slogan music for music. Hermes has released a number of works by him: Dark Clouds, String Quartet, Development of Silence and Pairika.

Hamed Sabet

Hamed Sabet (1980) is a pianist, composer and a painter who has been writing music since he was 18.

He has composed music for a number of short films and animations but his score for the feature film parse dar meh (strolling in the fog) directed by Bahram Tavakoli is probably his most well known work.

Parvaz Homay

Parvaz Homay (1980) is a composer, lyricist and vocalist specializing in Persian classical-style music. He is the founder of the Mastan Ensemble. He received his formal education in art studies and his degree from The Conservatory of Music in Tehran.

Homay & the Mastan Ensemble enjoyed instant success after the release of their album entitled “Molaghaat Ba Doozakhian,” (Meeting with Sinners among the Flames). Since then, Homay has received acclamations and honours as a performer and singer. He has had many concerts at notable and sizable venues across the globe, including Los Angeles’ Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Lincoln Center in New York, Strathmore Hall in the Washington D.C. area, and Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto, Canada.

Idin Samimi Mofakham

Idin Samimi Mofakham (1982) is a Persian Composer, Musicologist and Sound Artist.

He began music by learning classic guitar and later enrolled at the Tehran Conservatory where he received his B.A. in Classic Guitar (2003–2005). He also received a B.A. and M.A. in composition and musicology from Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory in 2011 where he studied under Ashot Zohrabian

His music has been performed in USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Austria, Georgia and Armenia. His works are mostly composed for chamber ensembles and based on traditional and folk music of Iran. He is also a founding member of Composition and Music Theory Department at Music Department of University of Applied Science and Technology in Tehran, Iran.

Mahan Esfahani

Mahan Esfahani (1984) is a harpsichord player. He first studied the piano with his father and as a teenager went on to explore an interest in the organ and harpsichord. He was named a BBC New Generation Artist and to awarded a fellowship prize by the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. Recent highlights of his work include performances of Kalabis’ Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Martinu’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Orchestra with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Poulenc’s Concert Champetre with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

During his time with the BBC he also gave his solo debut at the Wigmore Hall. In addition, his recording of the Poulenc concerto was issued in May 2010 with BBC Music Magazine. His recent New York recital debut at the Frick Collection was praised by the New York Times for its ”impressive technique…soulful flair and sense of spontaneity.”

Andrew Farid

Andrew (Mehrdad) Farid is a composer and conductor and also an accomplished flute and oboe player. He studied at Tehran Consevatoire where he was eventually appointed Professor of Undergraduate Composition. He also holds a Pre-Masters in art from Cambridge, a conducting diploma from the Royal Academy and has just finished a Masters in composing for film and media at the University of Hertfordshire.

He is a member of the Collaborative Orchestra set up so that more composers have their works performed and more musicians have a platform to play.

Payman Mansouri

Payman Mansouri is an Iranian pianist and composer born in 1985 in Meshed. He is a music graduate from the Free University of Tehran. His specialist instrument is piano but he has also undertaken a serious period of work on musical composition and is now mostly involved in this field. He joined the Austrian Cultural Society in Tehran as a pianist and has also performed a number of piano recitals both as a soloist and in orchestral works. He has studied conducting under Christian Shultz the musical director of the Society and was chosen as the conductor for a performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute in Tehran which was met with great acclaims and unprecedented enthusiasm of the lovers of opera in Iran.

In addition to musical production Mansouri also teaches piano and has published an album of his works, “Some Pieces”.

Soheil Nasseri

Soheil Nasseri, born to Persian parents in Santa Monica, California, is a pianist He began studying the piano at the age of five and at the age of twenty moved to New York to study with Karl Ulrich Schnabel (1909–2001). Following the death of Schnabel, Nasseri he became a protégé of Jerome Lowenthal and Claude Frank. Other significant teachers include Irina Edelman, Anna Balakerskaia, Clinton Adams, Eva Pierrou, and Ann Schein.

Nasseri has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Berliner Philharmonie, among other venues. He has premiered over two dozen works by contemporary composers since 2001. In the past few years, he has performed thirty of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas at various major venues to fulfil his pledge to perform all of Beethoven’s piano works before his 25th birthday.

Lily Afshar

Lily Afshar (1959‎) is an Iranian American classical guitarist. Afshar won the 2000 Orville H. Gibson Award for Best Female Classical Guitarist, as well as the Tenth, Eleventh, and the Twelfth Annual “Premier Guitarist” awards by the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. Lily was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award, the 2000 Eminent Faculty Award, and the 1996 Distinguished Research Award at The University of Memphis.

She was chosen as “Artistic Ambassador” for the United States Information Agency to Africa. Afshar was among twelve guitarists selected to play for Andrés Segovia in his master classes held at the University of Southern California. Afshar wrote her doctoral thesis 24 Caprichos de Goya, Op. 195, for guitar by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and their relation to Goya’s etchings at the Florida State University.