Alfred Jean Baptiste Lemaire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Alfred Jean-Baptiste Lemaire (Persian: آلفرد ژان باتیست لومر‎; 15 January 1842 – 24 February 1907) was a French military musician and composer who went to Iran in 1868, during the reign of King Nasser-al-Din Shah to train the staff of the music department of Dar ul-Funun. He was the composer of the first Iranian national anthem.[1]


Lemaire was born in Aire-sur-la-Lys and entered the Paris Conservatory in 1855, graduating in flute and composition in 1863. By 1867 he had become Deputy Music Master for the Infantry of the Imperial Guard.[2] When King Nasser-al-Din Shah visited Paris, he admired the French military bands that had welcomed him. At the time Iranian military music had used only traditional drums (naqareh) and trumpets (karnay). On his return to Iran in 1867 the King asked his ambassador to France, Hassan-Ali Garrussi, to hire a French musician to reorganize his military orchestras along Western European lines. Adolphe Niel, then France's Defence Minister, selected Lemaire to take up the post.

Once in Iran, Lemaire procured western instruments and organized the training of military musicians at the Dar ul-Funun, where one of his students was Darvish Khan. At the request of the King he also composed the first Iranian national anthem and other military pieces.[3] Lemaire was to spend the rest of his life in Iran but sent piano arrangements of classical Persian music back to Paris where the vogue for orientalism made them popular. In November 1906, three months before his death, he became the first Worshipful Master of the Réveil de l'Iran, the first regularly affiliated Masonic Lodge to operate in Iran.[4] Lemaire died in Tehran at the age of 65.

Mirza Ali-Akbar Khan Naqqashbashi's translations of Lemaire's lessons into Persian were the country's first introduction to European music. The music department where he taught later became an independent music college providing training in Western martial music.[5]

The grave of Alfred Jean-Baptiste Lemaire


  1. ^ Khaleqhi (2002)
  2. ^ Le Ménestrel (2 August 1885 p. 279
  3. ^ Wright (2009) pp. 3-4
  4. ^ Algar (2000)
  5. ^ Daniel and Mahdī (2006) p. 199