Kayhan Kalhor born 1963, is a Kurdish Iranian kamancheh player, composer and master of classical Persian music.
Youth and studies
Kayhan Kalhor was born in Kermanshah. He began studying music at seven years of age. 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 Northern Khorasan. Kalhor also travelled in the northwestern (Kurdish) provinces of Iran. He later moved to Rome
to study European classical music
Music and musical partners
Kayhan Kalhor has a wide range of musical influences, he uses several musical instruments, and crosses cultural borders with his work, but at his center he is an intense player of the Persian violin. In his playing Kalhor often pins Persian 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 (see Masters of Persian Music) and Shahram Nazeri. He has also composed and performed with the Indian sitar player Shujaat Husain Khan, the two forming a ghazal group and publishing several albums. Kalhor's 2004 album Mirror of the Sky was a joint venture with the Kurdish Iranian lute player Ali Akbar Moradi. Kalhor's most recent album The Wind (2006) 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).
- Scattering Stars Like Dust, 1998
- Night Silence Desert, 2000
- In the Mirror of the Sky, 2004
- The Wind, 2006
- with Masters of Persian Music: Without You, 2002
- with Masters of Persian Music: Faryad, 2005
- with Ghazal: Lost Songs of the Silk Road, 1997
- with Ghazal: As Night Falls on the Silk Road, 1998
- with Ghazal: Moon Rise over the Silk Road, 2000
- with Ghazal: The Rain, 2003