Amir Koushkani, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Amir Koushkani’s training in Persian music began in Iran , where he was introduced to classical Persian themes. At thirteen, he began formal musical training in Tar, under the tutelage of Master Darioush Peerniakhan. Two years after completing his four year program, he became instructor of Tar at the Centre at the age of nineteen.

In 1991, Koushkani immigrated to Canada , where he continues to explore traditional music through composition and improvisation, focusing his energies on mastering Radif . The term Radif refers to a Classical Persian musical form, which has distinctive phrasing, style, and performance technique.

Through his lengthy involvement and experience with world music, Koushkani has composed works for theatre, orchestra, and solo performers. His diverse performing background has provided opportunities for involvement in many innovative music ensembles.

With Vancouver based trio Safa , Koushkani incorporates elements of Persian music with Western Classical and Latin American styles into his compositions and arrangements. C omprised of percussion virtuoso, Sal Ferreras, Quebecois virtuoso clarinetist, Francois Houle, and Koushkani on Setar, Tar, and vocals, Safa has performed in venues and festivals across Canada . Safa‘s 2002 CD, “Alight”, which featured some of Koushkani’s compositions based on Sufi poetic themes, was met with critical success.

Four years ago, Koushkani brought together students and professional musicians to form the Mostagh Music Group, and more recently, the Ruh Afsa Ensemble and the Nava Ensemble. As Music Director and performer, he has reached out to musicians of all cultures to educatethem about the history and art of playing Persian Tar and Setar.

Koushkani was commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for their 2004 special event, for which he composed his first concerto for Tar and orchestra. Amir Koushkani has performed at over 100 concerts and festivals in Iran , Canada , Europe, and the United States.

He is currently composing a new body of work for an upcoming concert with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, as well as continuing his research of Western Classical ensemble music and sharing his knowledge, passion, and expertise with other musicians and the world community.

  • Performer, composer, and instructor of traditional Persian stringed instruments, Tar and Setar
  • Master 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, Safa , with Sal Ferreras and Francois Houle
  • Musical Director of Mostagh Music Group, Nava Ensemble and the Ruh Afsa Ensemble

Visit Dr. Koushkani's personal website for more information and to hear his music.