Short Biography

 Karen Keyhani (b.1979) belongs to the new movement of contemporary music in Iran; a movement that has its roots as much in the Persian classical music as in Western contemporary classical music. As a composer and santour virtuoso Karen has been inspired by contemporary and classical poetry as well as traditional music.

Karen’s music covers a wide range of contemporary classical and Persian traditional music, collaborative improvisation, music for theatre, performance art and children’s musical theatre. His music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by several ensembles and orchestras such as Tehran Symphonic Orchestra, Iran National Orchestra, MusicFabrik (Cologne), Divertimento (Milan), Proton (Bern), Matka (Geneva), Mise-en (NYC), Nivak ensemble (Tehran), and soloists such as Bridget Kibbey (NYC), Elise Jacoberger (Bern), Layla Ramezan (Lausanne), Rocco Rescigno (Trieste), Yasamin Shahhosseini (Tehran), and Martina Rudic (Milan) among others. During recent years, he has released seven solo and collaborative albums in Iran and the United States and his scores have been published by Mahoor Institute of Culture and Arts in Tehran.

Karen is the founder and santour player of the Mehraein Ensemble of Persian traditional music since 1999 and has attended numbers of festivals such as Venice Biennale 2016 (Italy), Aperto 2016 (Italy), Fadjr (Iran), YCMF (Indonesia) etc. and had many collaborating projects with ensembles/orchestras such as Matka (Geneva), Divertimento (Milan), Tehran Chamber Orchestra among others.

Karen Keyhani was selected in 2013 by République et canton de Genève and EOFA (Embassy of Foreign Artists, Geneva) as composer in residence (one of three residents out of 200 artists) for a joint project with MATKA ensemble of contemporary music.

Keyhani’s As Far As Possible for santour and ensemble was performed in 60th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Music by Divertimento ensemble conducted by Sandro Gorli, October 2016.

 Karen is a lecturer in composition and contemporary music notation in Tehran University of Art and teaches western music history in Tehran Music Technical High School for Girls. He has also presented a number of seminars and master classes on Persian classical music and microtonal music in HEM (Geneva music university), GMTH seminar of music theory (Switzerland), Verdi Conservatory (Italy), Calgary University (Canada), Bilkent University (Turkey), University of Tehran (Iran) and ISI (Indonesia).