Kayhan Kalhor (born 24 November, 1963 in Kermanshah, Iran) is an Iranian
Kamancheh player, composer and master of classical Kurdish and Iranian
traditional music. He is from a Kurdish family.
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
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.
He is a graduate of the music program at Carleton University in Ottawa,
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.