One of the most innovative Classical musicians of Iran today, Hooshyar Khayam blends influences of styles and music of extreme sources into a new merged musical composition. His music, coming in varied forms and genres, is often driven from remote sources in Middle East, Persian classical and Muqami music, blended with new sonority of extended techniques in instruments and their combinations in new content.
Khayam is the son of the writer Masoud Khayam, and painter Pariyoush Ganji. He was born in Bedford England in the year 1978, a few months prior to the Islamic Revolution in Iran. His family returned to Iran in the following year.
He grew up in Tehran at the time of Iran-Iraq War, lasting for eight yeas, causing number of evacuations and short-time migrations in his early years.
In between years 1981 and 1989 “Music” in total – and with it, every genre of music except of the Revolutionary Songs – was banned in Iran 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” by Imam on the toleration of music was essential in his education. Khayam’s musical training took place secretly and later 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.
Khayam’s music has been performed and recorded by artists of various musical background and instruments such as Kronos Quartet, Hossein Alizadeh, Anja Lechner, Aram Talalyan, Todd Palmer, Szofia Boros, Golfam Khayam, Mona Matbou Riahi, Elina Bertina, Stephen Prutsman, Artur Avanesov, Wayne Foster-Smith, Eva-Christina Schonweiss, Kirsten Ecke, Burghard Toelke, Klara Ausserhuber, Morrison Trio, Shahrzad Ensemble, and his orchestral music has been performed by LSCO Orchestra, Naregatsi Strings, Ukraine Philharmonic Orchestra, Nilper Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi String Orchestra (conducted by Evgeny Bushkov), among others. His music has been performed at Lincoln Center, Spoleto festival, BOZAR Theater Brussels, Guggenheim, MOMA, Stefaniensaal Graz, Konzertverein Ingolstadt, Vortex Jazz London, Steinway Society San Francisco, Kremlin Palace Music Hall, 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.
Khayam’s discography include solo and collaborative albums. They include the best selling album “Music for Tar and Piano” (Tehran Records 2017) and best selling album “All of You” (Hermes Records 2011) winner of Songlines World Music Magazine critics (75th issue) as “best album of the year” in section Middle East.
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 “Monir” produced by Stephen Prutsman and 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 “Spyker” by Majed Neysi from the Daesh camp in Tikrit. 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), winner of “Culture and Music Critic’s Prize: Tehran’s best album of the year” for “Tatari” (Hermes Records 2007), and winner “Best Classical Album of the Year 2017” MUSICEMA Festival for “Music for Tar and Piano”.
Khayam is the producer of Tehran Records. An independent record label founded in 2015 by himself, it focuses on publishing and promoting works of contemporary classical and world music composers of Iran, also bringing the attention of Iranian musical audience towards music of other cultures.
As a classical pianist Khayam has performed and recorded works by contemporary classical composers of Iran and elsewhere. They include 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), a complete album on music by Farid Omran, and works from composers of the new generation.
Khayam regularly performs and records works of classical to contemporary masters, collection from Bach Preludes and Fugues, 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 Gao Weijie, Miguel Roig-Francoli, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Lee Fiser, Mark Gibson, Michael Chertock, Joel Hoffman, and Robert Zierolf. He lives in Tehran.