Moshir Habibollah Homayoun Shahrdar
Habibollah Shahrdar Moshir Homayoun (1886–1969) was an Iranian pianist.
He was born in Tehran in 1886. He 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 Hussein 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 discs with Darvish Kahn, Zelli, Farah Angiz, Taher Zadeh and… His Discs:W029, GPX8, WXGPX6, GFX7, G.C.7-12250, G.C.7-19272.
First Iraninian Piano Player
His father, Nasrollah Khan Sepahsalari Kompani Shirazi, was a merchant who spent 6 months out of the year in France and 6 months in Tehran. He would take Persian rugs and artworks to Paris and trade them for French articles. In 1890, Nasrollah Sepahsalari Kompani returned to Iran with 2 pianos and chandeliers. He gave one of the pianos to the Royal Court under Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar. The second piano, he took to his home. At the time, being a wealthy merchant, Nasrollah Sepah Salar Kompani had an estate in Tehran whereby there was a large home towards the aft of the property where his wife and children lived, and near to the entrance of the property, there was a separate building used to entertain guests and finalize business transactions. Apparently, the piano was placed in the business building of the property and no one knew how to play the piano. Nasrollah Khan had 11 children. His 5th child was Habibollah. When he brought the piano, young Habibollah was 4 years of age, and his father would bring him to the entertainment building in the evening and force him to play the piano. He had no formal training in piano playing however, he was accustomed to hearing the traditional Persian instruments such as the Tar, Santoor,and Kamanche. Young Habibollah was able to apply the sounds from these instruments to the piano and produce beautiful music. This became a passion of his which lasted his lifetime. He was often heard on Iranian National Radio playing his piano in the 1950s and was referred to as Goldfingers.
He became a civil servant and worked with Reza Shah in the modernization of Iran. He was instrumental in the organization of the first Iranian census whereby all citizens of Iran had to be registered and a surname had to be recorded for all families. At the time, he was a Mayor in Shiraz, and therefore, he adopted the name of Shahrdar, which means holder or possessor of the city. His last name was then given to all his brothers and sisters. He also was a chief of police in Tehran prior to being appointed mayor of Shiraz. He also was CEO of national Iranian steel company. This was a company established by German engineers.
Politically, he was opposed to religious ruling and to dictatorships. For this, in the early 1900s he was shortly imprisoned. He was soon released with no consequence.
World War II
During World War II Nazi Germany requested Iranian assistance in building a railroad track from Iran to Europe. In the late 1930s with the help of German companies and Reza Shah, the Iranian Steel Corporation was formed. Reza Shah appointed Shahrdar in charge of overseeing the development of the corporation. Even though Iran was a neutral country during World War II, Reza Shah seemed to favor Nazi Germany, which alarmed the Allied Forces. On August 25, 1941 the Allied Forces invaded Iran with Russia invading from the North and the British from the South. Shahrdar feared the Russians would retaliate for his involvement with the Iranian Steel Corporation so he took his family and fled to Shiraz. Shiraz is a southern city and was occupied by the British and the Americans. Eventually hostilities subsided and he returned to Tehran.
Personal Life & Family
He married at an early age. His wife died from illness and he did not remarry until age 39.
Marriage to Farough Afkham Afkhami. When he lived in Shiraz, he had the opportunity to be friend with a noble by the name of Emamgholi Afkham-Ebrahimi that he was the son of Soltan Ali Khan VAZIR AFKHAM a prime minister in Qajar dynasty. One day, Emamgholi showed a picture of one of his daughters to Habibollah Shahrdar. Habibollah khan was able to obtain the picture from him and then he sent a message to his sister in Tehran to propose to young Farough Afkhami. Her family and her accepted and in Tehran, Habibollah Shahrdar's sister acted as proxy for civil marriage to her. Therefore he was not present at his wedding. Then a caraven was arranged where both families travelled to Shiraz for the wedding party and at which time Habibollah Shahrdar met his wife Farough. They had 5 children: Cyrus, Farideh, Shahrdokht, Cambize, and Pirooz.
He developed Parkinsons disease and in 1969, he died from complications of the disease.
He is remembered for his contributions to Persian music and his civil service.