One of the most innovative musicians of Iran today, Hooshyar Khayam blends influences of styles and music of extreme sources into a new merged musical composition. His music, with output in varied forms and genres, is often driven from remote sources in Middle East, Sufism, Persian classical and Muqami music, all the way to Contemporary Classical and Contemporary Jazz, and blended with curiosity towards new sonority of instruments and their combinations in new content.
Khayam is the sun of the writer Masoud Khayam, and painter Pariyoush Ganji. He was born in Bedford England in the year1978, and was a year old when the Islamic Revolution took place in Iran. Soon after the Revolution his family returned to Iran.
He grew up in Tehran at the time of eight years war of Iran and Iraq. The War caused 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 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.
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, LSCO Orchestra, Naregatsi Strings, Ukraine Philharmonic Orchestra, Nilper Orchestra, and others. He has been performed at Lincoln Center, Spoleto festival, BOZAR Theater Brussels, Guggenheim, MOMA, 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.
Khayam’s discography include 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.
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” 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 “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 Gao Weijie, Miguel Roig-Francoli, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Lee Fiser, Mark Gibson, Michael Chertock, Joel Hoffman, and Robert Zierolf. He is now a lecturer in Tehran Art University.