Iran’s Famed Composer, Instrumentalist and 2006 GRAMMY® Nominee HOSSEIN ALIZADEH Leads Groundbreaking HAMAVAYAN ENSEMBLE in First North American Tour, Beginning March 1st;

Concerts to Debut New Repetoire and Alizadeh’s Innovative New Instrument, the Shurangiz;

Tour Follows Release of “Endless Vision” CD, nominated for Best Traditional World Music Award

Friday March 9th
Toronto, ONT, CN :: The Recital Hall at the Toronto Centre for the Arts
Wednesday March 14th
Saratoga, CA :: The Carriage House at Villa Montalvo
Friday March 16th
Los Angeles, CA :: Royce Hall at UCLA
Sunday March 25th
Atlanta, GA :: Pace Academy
Thursday March 29th
Washington, DC :: Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University
Friday March 30th
Cleveland, OH :: Cleveland Playhouse, Drury Theatre
Saturday March 31st
New York, NY :: Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall
Sunday April 1st
Boston, MA :: Somerville Theater


Led by Iranian master instrumentalist and composer Hossein Alizadeh, the Hamavayan Ensemble performs new interpretations of classical Persian music. The unique ensemble features female vocalist Afsaneh Rasaei and male vocalist Pouria Akhavass with musicians Pejman Hadadi (tombak, daf-percussion); Ali Boustan (setar-lute); Hossein’s fraternal twin sons Nima Alizadeh (robab-lute) and Saba Alizadeh (kamancheh-spike fiddle) and Hossein Alizadeh on the shurangiz, a new instrument designed by him and here making its North American debut. The six-string shurangiz, the newest of Alizadeh’s many innovations in the Persian classical tradition, is considered a cross between a tar, setar and tanbur (both Persian lutes) and played by combining all those instruments’ techniques.

The Hamavayan Ensemble will be performing all-new material on their North American debut. The tour also coincides with the recent GRAMMY® nomination for Alizadeh’s latest CD, Endless Vision (World Village Music/Harmonia Mundi USA). The CD, nominated in the “Best Traditional World Music” category, is an exploration of Iranian and Armenian tradtitions. Hossein Alizadeh has two prior GRAMMY® nominations for his work with the Persian classical ensemble Masters of Persian Music. Those nominations were for the group’s 2002 debut release “Without You” and their follow-up 2005 live recording “Faryad.” He is also internationally-known for his soundtracks to a long list of award-winning Iranian films, including Gabbeh and A Time for Drunken Horses. This tour will offer American audiences a special opportunity to see why Hossein Alizadeh is considered one of the greatest innovators in Persian classical music, an artist who continues to surprise and challenge within this ancient – yet dynamic -- tradition.

HOSSEIN ALIZADEH BIO NOTES Hossein Alizadeh, born in Tehran in 1950, is one of the most important figures in contemporary Persian music. He learned the radif of Persian classical music with various masters of the tradition including Houshang Zarif, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, NurAli Borumand, Mahmood Karimi, Abdollah Davami, Yousef Foroutan, and Saied Hormozi, and later recorded the entire body of the radif based on the interpretation of Mirza Abdullah for tar and setar. He also received a B.A. in Music Composition and Performance from the University of Tehran, and later studied Composition and Musicology at the University of Berlin. He has taught at the University of Tehran and the Tehran Music Conservatory. Alizadeh has performed as a soloist in Iran, North America, Europe and Asia. He was the conductor and soloist in the Iranian National Orchestra of Radio and Television, established the acclaimed Aref Ensemble, and worked with the Shayda Ensemble.

His first professional experience in Europe was playing in the orchestra of the famous Bejart Ballet Company in Maurice Bejart's ballet, Gulistan. Some of Alizadeh's most noted compositions are The Nava Improvisations (1976), Riders of the Plains of Hope (1977), Hesar (1977), Revolt (1983), Ney Nava (1983), Dream (1986), Torkaman (1986), Raz-O-Niaz (1986), Delshodegan (1987), Song of Compassion (1991), New Secret (1996), A Time for Drunken Horses (2000), Turtles Can Fly (2004), Endless Vision (2004), Nive Mang (2006), Under the Razor (2007) and Ode to Flowers (2007). The recording Endless Vision was recently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album of 2006. Alizadeh established the Hamavayan Ensemble in 1989 with a new approach to traditional Iranian choral singing. The ensemble, using traditional instruments, has performed many of Alizadeh's works, including New Secret, Gabbeh, Song of Compassion and Endless Vision.

NB: Djivan Gasparyan is not appearing on the 2007 tour dates; program will feature all-new material

World Village 468047
Release date Feb 14, 2006

“Best of 2006: World Music Top 5:"
“A spellbinding contemporization of Persian and Armenian traditional music” – Don Heckman,
LOS ANGELES TIMES (December 17, 2006)

“A rare mixed-gender ensemble singing recent and ancient poetry with a somber concentration that almost suspends time.”
Jon Pareles, NEW YORK TIMES (February 11, 2007)

“Gloriously graceful, deeply evocative and sumptiously colored performances”
Anastasia Tsioulcas, BILLBOARD (March 4, 2006)

“[Alizadeh is] a master sorcerer”
Greg Burk, LA WEEKLY (June 13, 2002)

Two Musical Masters, Hossein Alizadeh and Djivan Gasparyan, Connect Persian and Armenian Traditions

It takes a certain level of artistry for musicians from two different ethnic backgrounds to join together to explore common ground. It is quite another for two master artists—one an elder statesman and the other at the height of his creative powers—to transcend simple cultural exchange.

In the case of Endless Vision, Armenian duduk virtuoso Djivan Gasparyan (GEE-vahn gas-PAH-ree-yan) and Iranian instrumentalist Hossein Alizadeh (Huh-SAIN Ah-lee-ZAH-day) transform such a meeting into an event so thrilling that all who are present know that they are having a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The CD was just nominated for a 2006 Grammy® in the “Best Traditional World Music” category. It is Hossein Alizadeh’s third nomination for a Grammy® in the last 5 years.

Armenian duduk player Djivan Gasparyan’s haunting, mournful sound is well-known to American audiences familiar from dozens of popular films and television programs in which it’s been used, including the soundtracks to Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, and Gladiator. Since his professional career began in the late 1940s, Mr. Gasparyan has been one of the pillars and ambassadors of Armenian music throughout the world, and he has collaborated with a wide range of artists from Peter Gabriel to the Los Angeles Philharmonic to the Kronos Quartet. His awards include four gold medals awarded by UNESCO.

Film has also established an important connection between American audiences and Hossein Alizadeh: he has written the scores for some of Iran’s best-known “new wave” films, including Gabbeh, Turtles Can Fly, and A Time for Drunken Horses. Long acknowledged as one of Iran’s most important and influential musicians, the composer and instrumentalist consistently breaks new ground within the time-honored traditions of Persian classical music.

Mr. Alizadeh’s presence within the United States has skyrocketed over the past several years. A three-time Grammy® nominee, his prior nominations were for his work with the Iranian classical supergroup Masters of Persian Music, featuring Alizadeh and famed vocalist Mohammed Reza Shajarian and kamencheh (spike fiddle) virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor.

Within Iran, the concerts that are captured on Endless Vision initially caused a stir due to the presence of a female singer, the sweet-voiced Afsaneh Rasaei (a longtime pupil of Mr. Alizadeh) performing alongside a male ensemble. Endless Vision was recorded live during those outdoor concerts in the gardens of Tehran’s Niavaran Palace.

The second track, “Armenian Romances,” is an evocative and utterly mesmerizing improvisation by Mr. Gasparyan. The following “Sari Galin (Yellow Bride)” is a beloved traditional Armenian song that nearly all Iranians know. As such, it’s a microcosmic look at the cultural interplay that underpins Endless Vision. “Iran has a large Armenian community,” observes Mr. Gasparyan, “who live side-by-side with other ethnicities. There is an instinctual closeness between Armenia and Iran.”

For Endless Vision, Mr. Alizadeh uses a new instrument of his own design, a six-stringed plucked lute called the shurangiz, which combines aspects of three other Persian lutes (the plucked, six-stringed tar, the four-stringed setar, and the Kurdish tanbur). The unique sound of this new instrument—at once delicate and richly voiced—comes to the fore in “Shurangiz Improvisation.”

The album’s final track, “Tasnif Parvaneh Sho…” makes use of poetry penned by the 13th-century Persian mystic and poet Molavi -- also known as Rumi -- whose immensely influential ecstatic verses are renowned throughout the world.