Biography

AmirKoushkani is an ethnomusicologist, composer, performer and instructor of traditional Persian stringed instruments Tar and Setar.

Dr. Koushkani’s training in Persian music began in Iran, where he was introduced to traditional Persian themes, under the tutelage of Master Dariush Pirniakan.

Amir Koushkani holds a Master’s Degree in Western Musical Composition and he also received a PhD in Ethnomusicology at York University, with a dissertation on the history and theory of the Iranian musical
transcription.

With specializing in on different aspect of Persian music, over the last three decades he composed widely for theatre, orchestra, and various musical ensembles.

He has recently published a two-volume study on the “Persian Avaz” in collaboration with Master Mohammad-Reza Shajarian and Professor Rob Simms at York University.

 

 

Education

·    Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology, York University, Toronto, Ontario

·    Master of Fine Arts in Western Musical Composition, York University, Toronto, Ontario

·    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Western Musical Composition, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British
Columbia

·    Diploma in Western Classical Music, Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, British Columbia

Honors, Awards, and Scholarships

1997
Nominated for Jesse Richardson Award in respect of performance and composition of musical scores for the respective Vancouver Theatre production of the play Love

1996
Nominated for Jesse Richardson Award in respect of performance and composition of musical scores for the respective Vancouver Theatre production of the play Quest

Publications

2012
The Art of Avaz and Mohammad Reza Shajarian: Foundations and
Contexts, by Amir Koushkani and Rob Simms.
Lexington Books, 2012. 330pp.
A detailed analysis of the art of Avaz (classical Persian vocal music) in the twentieth century through the work of Shajarian, its greatest practitioner. This work contexualizes Shajarian through the interaction of culture and politics in the Pahlavi period.
“This is a significant work not only for those interested in Persian music, but for those wishing to understand the culture of Iran in the last hundred years.” Bruno Nettl (University of Illinois).

2012
Mohammad Reza Shajarian’s Avaz in Iran and Beyond, 1979-2010,
by Amir Koushkani and Rob Simms. Lexington Books,
2012. 236pp.
A comprehensive study of the legacy of Shajarian, the greatest living
exponent of Avaz (classical Persian vocal music), with an emphasis on the political and cultural implications of the music in the context of the Islamic Revolution and the Green Movement.
“The most detailed social history of Iranian music since 1979 written in English.” Laudon Nooshin (City University, London).

Teaching Experience

2007-2015
York University, Toronto, Ontario
Setar instruction

2003-2006
Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, British Columbia
Instructor of Tar and Setar

1987-1990
National Iranian Radio and Television`s Centre for Preservation and Propagation of National Music, Tehran, Iran
Instructor of Tar

Summary of Accomplishments

  • Exponent of Persian Radif (traditional music stylization) through extensive research, study, and performance of classical Persian music
  • Original composition and arrangements for solo and ensemble performances, recordings, and theatre productions
  • Founding member of Trio Ensemble, Safa, with Sal Ferreras and Francois Houle
  • Musical Director of Moshtagh Music Group, Nava Ensemble, the Ruh Afsa Ensemble
  • Member of Omoumi Ensemble

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