Hooshyar Khayam is an Iranian composer, pianist, conductor, and producer. He is the sun of the writer Masoud Khayam, and painter Pariyoush Ganji. He was born in London in 1978, and was a year old when the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran. A year later his family returned to Iran.
He grew up in Tehran at the time of eight years war of Iran and Iraq. In between years 1981 and 1989 “Music” in total – and with it, every genre of music except of the Revolutionary Songs – was banned and considered as sin and an act against the rules of Islam. Music was taught underground. The cease of the War in 1989 and the “Fatwa” to the toleration of music was essential in his education. Khayam’s musical training took place privately, alongside taking the normal system of public school education in Tehran. He finished high school in branch of Mathematics and entered the Tehran Art University, College of Music.
Today Khayam is considered one of the most versatile musicians among the performer-composers of Iran. His music covers a wide range of styles and genres including contemporary classics, contemporary Jazz, improvisation, world music, and music for film, theater, video-art and animation. His music is performed by artists such as Hossein Alizadeh, Stephen Prutsman, Aram Talalyan, Eva-Christine Schönweiß, Kirsten Ecke, Wayne Foster-Smith, Todd Palmer, Zsofia Boros, Isabel Villanueva, Golfam Khayam, Elina Bertina, Artur Avanesov, Anja Lechner, Morrison Trio, and Kronos Quartet among others.
Khayam’s discography include about twenty released solo and collaborative albums. They include the best selling album “All of You” (with Amir Eslami, Hermes Records 2011) winner of Songlines World Music Magazine critics (75th issue) as “best album of the year” in Middle East.
His orchestral music is performed by the LSCO, Naregatsi String Orchestra, Nilper Symphony Orchestra, National Museum String Orchestra Yerevan, Parsian String Orchestra, Tehran Chamber Orchestra, Tehran Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Ukrain National Orchestra. He has been performed at Lincoln Center, Spoleto festival, BOZAR Theater Brussels, Stefaniensaal Graz, Konzertverein Ingolstadt, Vortex Jazz London, Steinway Society San Francisco, University of Cambridge, University of London, and has hold concerts in Moscow, Tbilisi, Kiev, Riga, London, Berlin, New York, Charleston, Florence, Graz, Linz, London, Yerevan, and Tehran.
The production of Chekhov’s “Ivanov” (2012) (Mehr Theater Group, director Amir Reza Koohestani) with music by Khayam has been on a five year tour in Europe and Middle East. His film scores include music to animation “Namayesh” (2003) by Elika Hedayat, documentary film “These Days” (2011) and video-arts “Exhale” (2013) and “Immigration” (2014) by Pooya Arianpour, “Monir” (2013) by Bahman Kiarostami (featuring Khayam’s String Quartet no.2 “Monir” premiered by Kronos Quartet), “Everything is Fine Here” (2012) by Pourya Azarbayjani (nominated best sound track at TJIFF, 2014), short films “Two Cold Meals for One” (2009), “A Family Portrait” (2010), feature-film “Impermanent” (2014) by Amir Azizi, and documentary “Citizen Irene” by Mohsen Shahnazdar. Khayam’s music was selected and used as soundtrack to the British Museum’s video survey of the “Digitalization of Persian Archives” (2012).
He is the finalist of “Queen Elisabeth International Composition Competition” (2013) for his piano concerto “Before the Dream is Over”, first prize award winner of “Franz Schubert and Modern Music International Composition Competition” (2011) for piano trio “I Waited for You in Rain”, finalist of Mauricio Kagel International Composition Competition (2013), winner of Accent 03 Competition Music for Children (2003), and winner of “Culture and Music Critic’s Prize: Tehran’s best album of the year” for “Tatari” (Hermes Records 2007).
Khayam is the producer of Tehran Records. An independent record label founded in 2015 by Khayam himself, it focuses on publishing and promoting works of contemporary classical and world music composers of Iran. the label aims the attention of listeners inside the country towards every other musical literature and heritage in the world, aiming the Iranian musical audience towards music of other cultures.
As a pianist Khayam has performed and recorded works by contemporary classical composers of Iran and elsewhere. This includes world premiers of music by Dusan Bogdanovic (Serbia) in the album “Prayers” (Doberman edition, 2012), music by older generation of Iranian classical composers, Mohammadreza Darvishi “Five Piano Pieces” (1979, world premiere) “Eghbal” (1982), and “Avaz-e Sahar” (1985, world premiere), complete album on Farid Omran, and works from composers of the new generation.
He also regularly performs and records works of classical to contemporary masters, collection from Debussy Preludes (Book I) and works from Takemitsu, duo sonatas by Brahms and Franck (with violinist Amir Bavarchi), other sonatas by Prokofiev, Piston, Martinu, Bridge, piazzolla; duo pieces by Roussel, Georges Hüe, Artur Avanesov; trios by Debussy, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, and coaching concerti from Mozart, Brahms, Sibelius, Grieg, Ravel, Britten, Barber, Shostakovich, and others.
Khayam holds a masters and a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Joel Hoffman, Gao Weijie, Michael Chertock, Miguel Roig-Francoli, Lee Fiser, Mark Gibson, and Robert Zierolf. He is now a lecturer in Tehran Art University.