Kayhan Kalhor's Art of Improvisation


Nazy Kaviani
by Nazy Kaviani

Iranian Kamancheh master and composer Kayhan Kalhor will be performing in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 15. Those who have not seen him perform live are in for a treat! The internationally acclaimed Kamancheh virtuoso's albums have been nominated for Grammy awards several times, and he is an original member of the Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, whose multiple albums have been well-received by audiences worldwide.

In my recent interview with him (photo essay here), Kalhor also shared another side of himself with us--the side of the teacher and the true master with concerns for the future of Iran's music and musicians. I am leaving a short clip of his Kamancheh improvisation and excerpts from my interview with him. If you live in the Los Angeles area, go see him perform with Behrouz Jamali on Tombak on Sunday, April 15 at Skirball Cultural Center's Magnin Auditorium, at 7:00 p.m., at an event presented by Butterfly Buzz, followed by an Artists Meet & Greet.


From "A Master's World," February 1, 2012


"On the other hand, there is no organization and no assistance to all these music lovers to serve Iran’s music. The work and interests in the Persian music field must be divided and distributed. There are many other areas within the field of music. For example, we don’t have enough music researchers. We don’t have very many good music teachers, for example individuals who can teach at school and university levels. We don’t have people who can write good music, composers, etc. If we learn how to divide those interested in music into all the different areas of need, we have made a very significant accomplishment. If we were able to divide the resources among our needs, we can also correct the way we teach traditional Persian music.”

"Our music education system has to change for sure, because it is not in its optimum position now. Our traditional music education started to move toward a more systematic method sixty years ago, but we have moved too slowly. We don’t have good books and textbooks. We now have millions of people who want to learn music, but we still don’t have a structured educational system that can teach and train all those who want to learn. We don’t have trained teachers; our students are teaching themselves. This leads to a lowered quality of the education. All of these factors have combined to create a lot of ambiguity in our music, such that we are not able to face the current situation successfully."

"And of course this is not too strange, considering all the other issues facing our country’s cultural landscape. It takes planning and funding to create an outreach program for our music. Committees will have to be set up, budgets will have to be assigned, and music schools will have to be established nationwide. All music schools, instruments, and other necessities have only been personally funded in our country so far. Those who want to learn music and those who want to teach music have so far only done it spontaneously. This spontaneity has always been a factor in our music and the lack of planning is now a bigger problem by virtue of the number of people who are interested in the music.?

"I don’t believe there are any large-scale plans for our country’s music at this time."


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Wonderful as always Nazy Jaan!

by bitamg on

You have an incredible talent of capturing and masterfully illustrating the artist's vision through words!