Kayhan Kalhor

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Kayhan Kalhor
Kayhanm kalhor.JPG
In year 2010 in Milan
Background information
Birth name Kayhan Kalhor
Born (1963-11-24) November 24, 1963 (age 51)
Kermanshah, Iran
Origin Tehran, Iran
Genres Traditional Iranian Music
Kurdish Music
Occupation(s) Professional Kamancheh player, Composer
Instruments Kamancheh, Setar
Years active 1973–present
Website kayhankalhor.net
Notable instruments

Kayhan Kalhor (Kurdish: کەیھان کەلھور, Keyhan Kelhur, Persian: كيهان كلهر‎; born 1963) is an Iranian Kamancheh player, composer and master of classical Kurdish and Persian music.[1] He is from a Kurdish family.[2]

Youth and studies[edit]

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. At a musical conservatory in Tehran around age 20 Kalhor worked under the directorship of Mohammad-Reza Lotfi who is from the north-east of Iran. Kalhor also travelled in the northwestern provinces of Iran. He later moved to Rome and Ottawa to study European classical music.[2] He is a graduate of the music program at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.[3]

Music and musical partners[edit]

Kayhan Kalhor has a wide range of musical influences, uses several musical instruments, and crosses cultural borders with his work, but at his center he is an intense player of the Persian violin. In his playing Kalhor often pins Persian classical music structures to the rich folk modes and melodies of the Kurdish tradition of Iran.

Kalhor 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 in the group Ghazal. Kalhor's 2004 album Mirror of the Sky was a joint venture with the Kurdish Iranian lute player Ali Akbar Moradi. His 2006 album The Wind is a collaboration with the Turkish baglama virtuoso Erdal Erzincan, with both Turkish and Persian pieces performed. At other times Kalhor has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project Ensemble in the USA and the Kronos Quartet.

Kalhor now resides in USA and has been commercially successful in USA over the past decade. Two of his works were nominated for Grammy Awards in 2004.

In 2010 Kalhor composed "I was there", which was based "on a melody attributed to Ziryab, a ninth-century Persian Kurdish musician", for a Maya Beiser concert. This piece was performed by Kalhor alongside Maya Beiser, the renowned cellist Bassam Saba, an oud player, and two percussionists, Glen Velez and Matt Kilmer.[4][5]


  • Ghazal: Lost Songs of the Silk Road, 1997
  • Solo Album Scattering Stars Like Dust, 1998
  • Ghazal 2: As Night Falls on the Silk Road, 1998
  • Shahram Nazeri and Dastan: Through Eternity, 1999
  • Ghazal 3: Moon Rise over the Silk Road, 2000
  • Night, Silence, Desert, with M.R. Shajarian 2000
  • Kronos Quartet: Caravan, 2000
  • Masters of Persian Music: It's Winter, 2001
  • Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Ensemble: Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, 2001
  • Masters of Persian Music: Without You, 2002 *(Grammy Nominated)
  • Ghazal: The Rain, ECM 2003 *(Grammy Nominated)
  • Ali Akbar Moradi: In the Mirror of the Sky, 2004
  • Masters of Persian Music: Faryad, 2005 *(Grammy Nominated)
  • Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble: Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon, 2005
  • Erdal Erzincan: The Wind, ECM 2006
  • Masters of Persian Music: Saze Khamoosh, 2007
  • Masters of Persian Music: Soroude Mehr, 2007

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  • The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma: New Impossibilities, 2007
  • Brooklyn Rider: Silent City, 2008
  • The Silk Road Ensemble: Off the Map, 2009 *(Grammy Nominated)
  • Voices of the Shades, 2011
  • Soundtrack for the film "Cinema Jenin" by Marcus vetter, recorded with the Dresdner Sinfoniker, 2011
  • Soundtrack for the film " Rhino Season" by Bahman Ghobadi, Recorded with Brooklyn Rider Quartet, 2012
  • I Will Not Stand Alone, with Ali Bahrami Fard, 2012
  • Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi (ECM, 2013) with Erdal Erzincan

See also[edit]


External links[edit]