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Violin in Persian Music

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 4:00 pm

Conrad Prebys Music Center Recital Hall


Violin in Persian Music
Chehre-Azad Distinguished Lecture Series 
Wednesday May 30th, 4-5:30PM
Conrad Prebys Music Center (CPMC) 127, Recital Hall

The great masters of the improvisation repertoire of Persian traditional music (The Radif) were traditionally tar players in early eras. However, as tar is a plucked instrument, it has limited glissando and ornamentation capabilities.  The violin was introduced in the world of Persian traditional music in 1950s and quickly became one of the most prominent instruments among many Iranian Musicians due to the level of performative control it provides. Five prominent students of Abolhassan Saba (1902-1957), namely Mehdi Khaledi, Ali Tajvidi, Habib Badiee, Parviz Yahaghi and Asaddolah Malek became the most influential violinists in the two decades before the 1979 revolution. In this talk, using examples from these masters, I shall discuss the tuning and use of ornamentations on the violin in Persian music. I shall also briefly discuss the kamancheh, which is a folk instrument played in different regions of Iran. Asghare Bahari, Kamran Darooghe, and Hossein Ismaelzadeh are notable masters who did not play the kamancheh as a folk instrument for performing Persian traditional music in the 1970s. After the 1979 revolution, a number of folk kamancheh players integrated traditional Persian music to their style of playing. Approximately twenty different types of tuning exist for violin in Persian music, while kamancheh players often limit themselves to only four. I shall compare and demonstrate different tunings for the performance of the Radif for both the violin and kamancheh.

Click on the the image on the left for biographical information for Keyavash Nourai.

Additional Description:

Keyavash Nourai commenced his passion for playing the violin in Iran with renowned Kamancheh player Ostad Kamran Daroughe. Upon his arrival to the United States in the Late-seventies, he studied classical violin with Alexander Treger, the concert master of LA philharmonic. Later he studied Paganini Caprices under the tutelage of Eugene Fodor, and Indian style violin with L.Subramaniam and L.Shankar. He also studied jazz harmony and piano with Dr. Artashes Kartalyan.  Nourai holds a Bachelors and a Masters degree in World Music, and Classical Violin and Composition from Cal-Arts. During his academic training and career, he perused Classical Persian music and professionally mastering several Persian instruments such as Kamancheh, Santur, Setar and Tombak. Assimilating and teaching Saba's radif on violin and Santur; as well as Mirza Abdola's radif on Setar and Violin. Additionally performing radif on piano with the style of M.H Shahrdar. Nourai has combined his influence of both Western and Eastern training along with Indian and Jazz to create his own style of Violin and Kamancheh. Nourai's career includes multiple recordings of Indian and Arabic music on violin and cello along with pop-classical style for a variety of artists. He has performed internationally in Canada, Europe and Middle East with legendary singers Hayedeh, Ebi, Aref, Siamak Shajarian, Mohsen Namjoo, Sousan Dayhim and Strunz and Farah. Nourai has released two CDs with Shahrokh Yadegari named "Migration" and "Green Memories" (featuring Azam Ali). Currently, he is working on several original compositions and arrangement with Mohsen Namjoo for full orchestra. Arrangements also include a piece for him called "Daf" played by Netherlands Blazer Ensemble.

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