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 52)
Kermanshah, Iran
Origin Kermanshah, 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 Iranian traditional music 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 Iranian violin. In his playing Kalhor often pins Iranian 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 In the 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]


Problems playing this file? See media help.
Album artists Album Release date
Ghazal Lost Songs of the Silk Road 1997
Ghazal As Night Falls on the Silk Road 1998
Kayhan Kalhor Scattering Stars Like Dust 1998
Shahram Nazeri and Dastan Ensemble Through Eternity 1999
Ghazal Moon Rise over the Silk Road 2000
Kayhan Kalhor and Mohammad Reza Shajarian Night, Silence, Desert 2000
Kronos Quartet Caravan 2000
Masters of Persian Music It's Winter 2001
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet 2001
Masters of Persian Music Without You 2002
Ghazal The Rain 2003
Ali Akbar Moradi In the Mirror of the Sky 2004
Masters of Persian Music Faryad 2005
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon 2005
Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan The Wind 2006
Masters of Persian Music Saze Khamoosh 2007
Masters of Persian Music Soroude Mehr 2007
Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble New Impossibilities 2007
Kayhan Kalhor & Brooklyn Rider Silent City 2008
Silk Road Ensemble Off the Map 2009
Kayhan Kalhor & Madjid Khaladj Voices of the Shades 2011
Dresdner Sinfoniker Cinema Jenin OST 2011
Brooklyn Rider Quartet Rhino Season OST 2012
Kayhan Kalhor & Ali Bahrami Fard I Will Not Stand Alone 2012
Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi 2013

† Nominated for a Grammy Award

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schweitzer, Vivien (August 26, 2008). "A Master Iranian Musician Plays Cultural Ambassador". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.hamshahrionline.ir/news.aspx?id=90272
  3. ^ "Video - Carleton grad plays the Iranian kamancheh - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences". carleton.ca. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Smith, Steve (19 April 2010). "A Cellist and Her Friends Explore Multicultural Harmonies". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ "Provenance - Maya Beiser". mayabeiser.com. Retrieved 29 October 2015. 

External links[edit]