October 29, 2019 - Iranian Deputy Culture Minister for Art Affairs Mojtaba Hosseini and other cultural officials expressed congratulations to Kayhan Kalhor for winning the WOMEX 19 Artist Award.
Hosseini said in a message that “Iranian music is capable of becoming world-famous and is a main representative of our culture,” adding that Kalhor plays a key role in introducing it to the world.
The managing director of Roudaki Art and Culture Foundation, Mehdi Afzali, said that Iran’s rich music, with its long and bright history, could be the messenger of the country’s culture, which Kalhor has represented thoroughly.
The managing director of the General Office of Music, Mohammad Allahyari, also congratulated the great artist, saying, “Kalhor is a treasure trove of Iran’s art and music and winning the WOMEX 19 Artist Award shows Kalhor as the representative of Iran’s traditional music and the capacity of the music for communicating with the world.”
The internationally-acclaimed Iranian virtuoso, Kayhan Kalhor, won the WOMEX 19 Artist Award for “bringing Persian classical music tradition to the ears of people all over the world.”
Kalhor received the prestigious award on October 27 at the 25th jubilee edition of the World Music Expo (WOMEX) in Tampere, Finland.
He performed together with Turkish baglama virtuoso Erdal Erzincan in what was the final concert of WOMEX 19.
The WOMEX headquarters is located in Berlin, Germany, and the expo is held in a different country each year in Europe.
“For the mastery and virtuosity of the kamancheh [Iranian musical instrument], 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, Piranha Arts, the organizers of WOMEX, are delighted to present the WOMEX 19 Artist Award to Kayhan Kalhor,” WOMEX said.
Speaking at the event, Kalhor introduced himself as a representative of Iranian musicians on behalf of whom he would present the prize to the legendary master of classical Persian music, singer and composer, Mohammadreza Shajarian.
“I dedicate the award to Ostad (Master) Mohammadreza Shajarian, the great master of Persian music, who has been fighting a nasty illness for a few years,” he stated.
Earlier upon being nominated for the award, Kalhor had said, “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.”
“For Kalhor, the kamancheh is his voice. When he plays, he creates whole languages in which to communicate with people from all over the world, from centuries past and far into the future,” the WOMEX official website wrote.
Kalhor, born in Tehran in 1963 to a Kurdish family, began studying music at the age of seven.
In addition to classical Persian music, he also learnt Kurdish and Turkish musical influences in Iran.
He then studied European classical music and eventually graduated from the music program at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.