solo improvisation by
Hossein Alizadeh, setar
In this recording Alizadeh performs his definitive style on setar, combining superior technique with attention to mood and coloring. "Torkaman" has been inspired by the Torkaman people and their land; it portrays the human states that arise in the expression of their pains and in their love", says Alizadeh. At the time of its first release in 1986, "Torkaman" 's innovative style was very controversial. Currently, "Torkaman" is already considered to be a classic. Alizadeh's mastery has proved time and again to be eye opening in the development of music in Iran.
Setar (Persian: three tār string) is an Iranian musical instrument. It is a member of the lute family. Two and a half centuries ago, a fourth string was added to the setar, which has 25 - 27 moveable frets. It originated in Persia around the time of the spread of Islam and is a direct descendant of the larger and louder Tanbur. The setar is significantly different from the Indian sitar, with which it is sometimes confused due to the similarity of their names.
Hossein Alizadeh was born in Tehran in 1950. He is considered as one of the most important figures in contemporary Persian music, exemplifying excellence in traditional Persian music today. He studied the classical Persian composition system, the Radif, under various masters, including Houshang Zarif, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, NurAli Borumand, Mahmood Karimi, Abdollah Davami, Yousef Foroutan, and Saied Hormozi. He later recorded the entire body of the Radif based on the interpretations of Mirza Abdullah for Tar and Setar.
Alizadeh received a BA in Music Composition and Performance from the University of Tehran, and then studied Composition and Musicology at Berlin University. He has taught at University of Tehran and Tehran Music Conservatory.
He has performed, as a solo artist, in Iran, North America, Europe and Asia. He was the conductor and soloist in The Iranian National Orchestra of Radio and Television. He established the acclaimed Aref Ensemble and has often worked with the Shayda Ensemble. His first professional experience in Europe was performing with the famous Bejart Ballet Company’s orchestra for Maurice Bejart's ballet, Gulistan.
Some of Alizadeh's most noted works 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). Endless Vision has been nominated for the Best World Music Album of the Year 2006 in the 49th Edition of the Grammy Awards.
Alizadeh established the Hamavayan Ensemble in 1989 as a venue for advancing traditional Iranian choral singing. Composed of some of the best known performers of Iranian instruments and vocalists, this ensemble has produced many of Alizadeh's compositions including New Secret, Gabbeh, Songs of Compassion, Endless Vision and Ode to Flowers.