Hossein Omoumi was born to an artistic family in Isfahan, home to many artists and musicians. His early music training began by singing with his father. At age 14, fascinated by the sounds of the ney (the reed flute), he began learning the works of Master Hassan Kassa''i. In 1962 he entered the National University of Iran to study architecture, where he also entered many musical competitions. His ney playing caught the attention of the judges and with their recommendation he entered the National Conservatory of Music, studying music theory and vocal radif, the repertoire of classical Iranian music, with Master Mahmood Karimi. In 1969 he met Master Hassan Kassa''i and under his supervision, Hossein Omoumi began to study the ney in-depth.
In 1972, he received his doctorate in Architecture from the University of Florence. He then divided his time between teaching architecture and music; collaborating with the Iranian National Radio and Television and teaching ney at The Center for Preservation and Dissemination of Music, the National Conservatory, and the Tehran University.
He has been a visiting scholar at many distinguished universities such as UCLA''s Department of Ethnomusicology, Wales University, and Sorbonne University at the Center for Oriental Music Studies in Paris. He now teaches in the Ethnomusicology department of the University of Washington in Seattle. Every year he performs to sold-out audiences at numerous prestigious international venues.
He has authored several scholarly articles in the field of music, focusing on the ney, and percussion instruments. His research on the making of the ney and percussive instruments introduced new possibilities and many significant innovations to the ney, tombak and daf.
There is no doubt that Hossein Omoumi is the most gifted of his generation. Highly knowledgeable about radif and the secrets of the Ney. His "alchemist" approach to music expresses fluidity and demonstrates accomplishment.
Madjid Khaladj / Born in Ghazvin, Iran in 1962, Madjid Khaladj began studying the tombak at age seven. As a traditional musician and skilled pedagogue in several instruments, he is unanimously recognized as a master of Iranian percussions. Highly active internationally, he has perfomed in festivals, concerts, and conferences around the world. He has produced various recordings and art movie soundtracks (especially with Ry Cooder and Lisa Gerrard), and has appeared in radio and television broadcasts.
In 1984, he was invited to teach Iranian percussions at the Center for Middle Eastern Music Studies at the Institute of Musicology of Paris- Sorbonne, then under the international presidency of Yehudi Menuhin. Using this opportunity, he has introduced many western musicians to Iranian music. In 1996, he founded the Ecole de Tombak in Paris (Center for Iranian Percussion Study). Since 1998, he has also been teaching at the State Academy of Music in Basel, Switzerland (Musik Akademie der Stadt Basel).
Madjid Khaladj constantly investigates the vast possibilities in improvising within the Persian musical system, and beyond. The unequalled beauty of his style, his mastery of rhythms and the brilliance of his spontaneous creations not only place him in the top ranks next to great classical Persian music masters, but also distinguish him as a major figure in world percussion.
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