Iranian renowned musician granted WOMEX Artist Award

FNA – Globally-renowned Iranian traditional music maestro of kamancheh Kayhan Kalhor was awarded on Sunday the prestigious WOMEX artist prize for “bringing the Persian classical music tradition to the ears of people all over the world”.

Kalhor received the WOMEX Artist Award 2019 today in Tampere, Finland “for the mastery and virtuosity of the kamancheh, for the ceaseless innovation and collaboration to create exciting new musical languages and for bringing the Persian classical music tradition to the ears of people all over the world,” according to the event’s organizers.

The event’s website had previously announced that after receiving the award, Kalhor would perform as a duo together with Erdal Erzincan on bağlama in what will be the final concert of WOMEX 19.

“Receiving the WOMEX Artist Award means so much to me. The award is recognition of the rich culture of my homeland Iran and an ageless Persian art that thrives and is beloved throughout the world. As forces arise across the globe and push for divisiveness, borders and intolerance, music brings us together and reminds us of our common humanity. As a citizen of the world, I am humbled by this recognition and stand with artists whose music fosters unity,” Kalhor had said when he first received the news in August.

The Iranian kamancheh virtuoso has previously won the ‘Isaac Stern Human Spirit’ award at the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition (SISIVC). The event is a biennial violin competition in commemoration of violinist Isaac Stern, which takes place in Shanghai, China.

In February 2017, International Silk Road Ensemble featuring Kalhor won a Grammy award.

During the 59th annual Grammy awards ceremony, the group’s album, “Sing Me Home”, won Grammy for the Best World Music Album.

Born in 1963 to a Kurdish family in the Western Iranian city of Kermanshah, Kalhor started learning music at the age of five and began his professional activity at the local broadcasting organization of his hometown when he was 13 years old.

He traveled to different parts of Iran to study the Persian traditional melodic figures, radif, under the directorship of several maestros, as well as the music of the Northeastern province of Khorasan province, where music traditions have Kurdish, Turkic and Persian influences.

At the age of 17, the musical prodigy moved to Rome, Italy, and later to Ottawa, Canada, to study European classical music at Carleton University.

“Musicians, music experts, and musicologists should be au fait with mathematics, history, and literature,” Kalhor has said, in words that echo the profundity of his musical expertise.