Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player Kayhan Kalhor was born in Tehran in 1963.

A child prodigy, Kalhor began his musical studies at age seven, and at thirteen was invited to work in the Iranian National Radio and Television Orchestra. At seventeen, he began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center, the most prestigious arts organization in Iran. He also studied the Iranian classical repertoire with different masters, as well as absorbing various regional styles.

He studied Western classical music in Rome and he received a degree in music at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Kalhor has composed works for Iran's most renowned vocalists, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri, and he has also performed with Iran's greatest masters, including Faramarz Payvar and Hussein Alidade. In 1991 he co-founded Dastan, the renowned Persian classical music ensemble, and in 1997 he formed the unique ensemble Ghazal with Shujaat Husain Khan, to explore improvisations based on Persian and Indian music.

Their three recordings for the Shanachie label propelled them to international attention, resulting in prestigious performances with the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center in 2004 and the London Jazz Festival. Kalhor’s also composed for and collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project.

He has recorded as part of the Masters of Persian Music, with two releases on the World Village label, both of which were nominated for Grammy awards in the "Best Traditional World Music" category. His latest release is a CD of Kurdish music, In the Mirror of the Sky (2004), that pairs him with Ali Akbar Moradi. A new Turkish and Iranian collaboration is in the works for release in late 2006.