The Cultural World of Islam



SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2004      8:00 PM

Peter Norton Symphony Space, Broadway at 95th Street, NYC

$30; students $15 with college ID     Box office (212) 864-5400

Info/charges (212) 545-7536    

The music of Kurdistan, little known in the US, will be performed by Ali Akbar Moradi, the greatest living master of the tanbur. Known for his work is a soloist and with Shahram Nazeri and Kayhan Kalhor, he has created new interest for the tanbur - an ancient lute traditionally used in religious ceremonies. His program features meditative improvisations based on the repertoire of the Yarsan people, the followers of a mystical faith associated with Sufism, who live in western Iran. Accompaniment will be provided on tombak (goblet drum) by his son, Kourosh Moradi. The program is part of The Cultural World of Islam concert series curated by World Music Institute.

The tanbur is a three-stringed long-necked plucked lute that is main instrument of Kurdistan. Originating in Khorasan in eastern Iran, it is one of the earliest string instruments in the world. Difficult to master, the tanbur is played by sweeping across the soundboard with all of oneís fingers, creating the illusion of several instruments being played at once.

Ali Akbar Moradi was born in 1957 in Guran, near the city of Kermanshah. He began playing the tanbur at the age of seven and studied with various masters, including Sayyed Hachem, Sayyed Mirza Khafashyan, Sayyed Mahmoud Alevi, Darvishi, Allahmouradi Hamedi, and Sayyed Vali Hosseyni. In 1973, he founded the first tanbur ensemble and began his touring career. By the age of 30 he had completed learning the entire 72 maqams (modes) of the Kurdish tanbur repertoire, making him perhaps the only living artist with this knowledge. Recently he recorded the acclaimed CD, In the Mirror of the Sky, with kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor for World Village/Harmonia Mundi USA. He teaches in Kermansheh and Tehran.

This program is made possible in part by the Islamic World Arts Initiative, a program of Arts International generously supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Additional support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency, and the Howard Bayne Fund.

The Cultural World of Islam concert series, which is curated by World Music Institute, is part of the Islamic World Arts Initiative that includes concerts, poetry and prose readings, panel discussions, films and childrenís programs from the Islamic world. Other participants in the project include Symphony Space, the Arab-American Arts Institute, the Spirit of Fes and Community Works. The musical series will continue with Music of Central Asia with the Ilyas Malayev Ensemble (Feb 19); the Music of Afghanistan with Ensemble Kaboul & Ustad Mahwash (Feb 26); Masters of Persian Music (Mar 6 & 13); Music of Mauritania with Malouma (Apr 23), and a Tribute to Farid Al-Atrash & Asmahan with Simon Shaheen (Apr 30).

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