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Music & Artists

Kamancheh player and composer Kayhan Kalhor rehearses his composition "Silent City"


Composer at Work
Kamancheh player and composer Kayhan Kalhor rehearses his composition Silent City with members of the Silk Road Ensemble and young musicians during a "Tradition and Innovation" commissioning workshop at Tanglewood in Massachusetts. Kalhor invited contributions from the performers by incorporating improvised sections into the final work.

Kayhan Kalhor


"Over the years I've tried to share my music and to share the culture of which I am a part. With the Silk Road Project I am learning about other cultures myself. Usually I don't get this kind of opportunity, to meet musicians from other cultures and travel together, talk, become friends and learn about their musical ideas."


Kayhan Kalhor

Kamancheh, composer (Iran) Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kemancheh. His performances of traditional Persian music and his many unique collaborations have attracted audiences around the globe.

Born in Tehran, Iran, he began his musical studies at the age of seven. At thirteen, he was invited to work with the National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran, where he performed for five years. When he was seventeen he began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center, the most prestigious arts organization in Iran at the time.

He has traveled extensively throughout Iran, studying the music of its many regions, in particular those of Khorasan and Kordestan.

Kalhor has toured the world as a soloist with various ensembles and orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and l'Orchestre National de Lyon. He is co-founder of the renowned ensembles Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations and Masters of Persian Music.

Kalhor has composed works for Iran's most renowned vocalists Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri and he has performed and recorded with Iran's greatest instrumentalists. Kalhor has composed music for television and film and was most recently featured on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Copolla's Youth Without Youth in a score that he collaborated on with Osvaldo Golijov. In 2004, Kalhor was invited by American composer John Adams to give a solo recital at Zankel Hall as part of Carnegie Hall's Perspectives and in the same year he appeared on a double bill at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, sharing the program with the Festival Orchestra performing the Mozart Requiem.

Kalhor is an original member of the Silk Road Ensemble, and his compositions appear on all three of the Ensemble's albums released by Sony Classical: When Strangers Meet, Beyond the Horizon and New Impossibilities, on which he also performed. He is also featured on the Ensemble's most recent album Off the Map. Four of his recent recordings have been nominated for Grammy® Award(s), including two previous World Village releases, Faryad and Without You. Kalhor's music and publishing administration is with A Side Music. Kalhor is an ASCAP member.




Artist website

Kayhan Kalhor on "Silent City"
Songs of Hope

News articles
New York Times
Payvand Iran News

Other kamancheh players
Rauf Islamov

Other Ensemble members from Iran
Siamak Aghaei
Siamak Jahangiry