Masters of Persian Music

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Masters of Persian Music
The four original ensemble members sit atop rugs and cushions onstage. The men all have their respective instruments, with microphones and monitor speakers before them. Behind them is a large, orange drapery.
Original ensemble members (from left) K. Kalhor, M. R. Shajarian, H. Shajarian, and H. Alizâdeh
Background information
Origin Iran
Genres Persian classical music
Associated acts
Notable instruments
kemenche, tar, tonbak

Masters of Persian Music is a Persian classical music ensemble (or "supergroup") founded in 2000 by four internationally recognized ustāds (masters) of the genre: vocalist Mohammad-Reza Shajarian; composer-musicians Hossein Alizâdeh and Kayhan Kalhor; and M. R. Shajarian's son, multi-instrumentalist singer Homayoun Shajarian.[1]

The ensemble formed with a view to touring North America (where Kayhan Kalhor has lived for much of his adult life). Although not all of the four had collaborated together previously,[2] M. R. Shajarian had worked with Kahlor and Alizâdeh. In 1998 he sang for a studio album called Night, Silence, Desert,[3] which Kahlor produced. He also sang the score that Alizâdeh composed for Ali Hatami's historical drama Del Shodegan (1992).[4] Both albums were published on Delawaz Records,[5] a label Shajarian started for the preservation of Persian classical singing.[6]


Kalhor saw the group as cultural ambassadors.[2] They adopted the name Masters of Persian Music for touring abroad. (In Iran, they perform and record under the own names.) The first tour began in early 2001; however, due to visa difficulties, Alizâdeh missed the first nine of the 18 performances, and the other members had to play without him.[7] Nevertheless, the success of the tour led to another in 2002 (organized by the World Music Institute), and a third in 2005.[8][9] During this period, they released three live albums: Zemestan ast ("It's Winter") in 2001, Bi to be sar nemishavad ("Without You") in 2002, and the double album Faryad ("The Cry") in 2003.[1][10]

It's Winter (Persian: زمستان است‎) is a recording of the ensemble's first concert in California in 2001. The second album, Without You, was a nominee for the Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album in the 46th Annual Grammy Awards.[11] Faryad, recorded on a later tour, was nominated in 2005.[10][12] 2005 also saw the release of Hamnava ba Bam, a DVD video of the ensemble's 2003 memorial and benefit concert in Tehran, which raised relief funds for survivors of the 2003 Bam earthquake.[13][14] In 2007, Delawaz Records published the ensemble's two final live albums: Saz-e-khamoush (Persian: ساز خاموش‎) and Soroode-e-mehr (Persian: سرود مهر‎ "October Song").[5][15] Between the concert tours, the members also continued to perform and record with other artists.

Hossein Alizâdeh and Kayhan Kalhor toured North America again in 2010, this time with a younger generation of performers. They were billed as "Masters of Persian Music: Three Generations". This new, expanded ensemble included Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh (voice), Fariborz Azizi (bass tar), Siamak Jahangiry (ney), Pezhham Akhavass (tonbak), and Rouzbeh Rahimi (santur).[1][16] Kalhor saw a need to reach out to younger Iranian musicians, since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 created a "generational divide" by widely barring music practice and performance—thus driving many musicians of the older generation out of the country.[8][17] But the original lineup is also multi-generational: In 2005, M. R. Shajarian was age 62, Alizadeh 52, Kalhor 40, and H. Shajarian 28. Kalhor says that Iranians see the group as a symbol of continuity in the culture's traditions.[2]

Tours of North America[edit]

City 2001 2002 2005 2010
Atlanta ? ? 10 March[18][19] 26 February[20]
Austin ? 18 October[7] ? ?
Berkeley 10 February[21] ? 27 February[2] 13 February[22]
Boston 4 March[21] date missing[9] 12 March[18][19] 19 February[20]
Chicago ? ? 20 March[18][19] 23 February[20]
Cleveland ? date missing[7] 18 March[18][19] 20 February[20]
Durham 2 March[23] 11 October[9] ? ?
Honolulu ? ? 1–2 March[18][19] ?
Irvine ? ? ? 12 February[24]
Ithaca ? date missing[25] ? ?
Los Angeles ? ? 26 February[19] 10 February[24][26]
New York City 24 February[21] date missing[9] 6, 13 March[18][19] 18 February[20]
Portland 9 February[21] ? ? ?
San Francisco ? date missing[9] N/A ?
Saratoga ? ? 24 February[19] 14 February[22]
Toronto ? ? 18 February[19] 5 February[27]
Vancouver ? date missing[7] 20 February[19] ?
Washington, D.C. 25 February[21] ? 5 March[18][19] 28 February[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Beres, Derek (23 April 2010). "Masters of Persian Music Again Evolve Iran". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Curiel, Jonathan (27 February 2005). "Poetry from Persia". SFGate. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Night, Silence, Desert at Discogs
  4. ^ Delshodegan at Discogs
  5. ^ a b "Discography § Ensemble". Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "تاریخچه و اهداف" [History]. (in Farsi). Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Kalhor, Kayhan (17 October 2002). Masters of Persian Music. Interview with Jacki Lyden. All Things Considered. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Kalhor, Kayhan; Shajarian, Mohammad-Reza (21 March 2005). The Masters of Persian Music Tour the U.S. Interview with Renée Montagne. Morning Edition. Culver City. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c d e "Masters of Classical Persian Music: On Tour". FarsiNet. FarsiNet, Inc. 2002. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Tsioulcas, Anastasia (5 March 2005). "Billboard Picks: Albums § Faryad". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media): 40–41. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Complete list of Grammy Award nominations". East Valley Tribune. 4 December 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Staff writer (9 December 2005). "The Complete List of Grammy Nominations". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Masters of Persian Music". Cindy Byram PR. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "استاد محمد رضا شجریان" [Mohammad-Reza Shajarian]. (in Farsi). 20 January 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  15. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Artist Biography: Kayhan Kalhor". Allmusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Masters of Persian Music: Three Generations". Opus 3 Artists. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  17. ^ Gilbert, Andrew (19 February 2010). "Rebuilding music in Iran: Masters turn to new generation". Boston Globe Media Partners. Archived from the original on 19 February 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Staff writer (October 2004). "Masters of Persian Classical Music: North American Tour - February/March 2005". Iranian Ltd. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Masters of Classical Persian Music". FarsiNet. FarsiNet, Inc. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f Staff writer (19 February 2010). "Concert Review: Masters of Persian Music in NYC 2/18/10". Lucid Culture. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c d e Staff writer (7 February 2001). "International Beat: Ry Cooder, Masters of Persian Music, Lunasa". MTV News. Viacom International. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Gilbert, Andrew (11 February 2010). "Masters of Persian music". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "Masters of Classical Persian Music: North American Tour, January–March 2001". FarsiNet. FarsiNet, Inc. 2001. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  24. ^ a b Heckman, Don (13 July 2012). "Picks of the Week: Feb. 8–14". The International Review of Music. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  25. ^ Staff writer. "Past Highlights". Cornell Concert Series. Cornell University. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  26. ^ "Virtuosic Masters of Persian Music Weaves Contemporary Element into Ancient Persian Classical Music in Rare U.S. Appearance at Walt Disney Concert Hall". Pars Times. 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  27. ^ Benes, Derek (19 February 2010). "Masters of Persian Music on 'Three Generations' Tour". SHOUTcast Radio Blog. AOL. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]