Highlights from the Ethnomusicology Archive: Music of Persia ensemble

The Music of Persia Performance Group was founded in 1959-1960, under the direction of Hormoz Farhat (now Emeritus Professor of Music, Trinity College, University of Dublin).  Professor Farhat is perhaps best known for his book, The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music (Cambridge University Press, 2004), now available on Google Books.


Music of Persia Ensemble, c. 1960s

Hormoz Farhat playing setar, c. 1960s

In May 1960, the Music of Persia ensemble performed in the “Festival of Oriental Music and the Related Arts,” presented by the UCLA Music Department, with the Iranian Association of Southern California and the Iranian Folkdance Ensemble.


The group remained an extracurricular “study group” until 1964-1965, when Music 45K/145K (Music of Persia) was offered for the first time.  Hormoz Farhat, the ensemble director, was a lecturer in the Music Department from 1964 to 1967.

Music of Persia ensemble, c. 1960s

Music of Persia performance, c. 1960s (possibly with AMAN)

Manoochehr Sadeghi directed the ensemble from 1966 to 1972 and from 1989 to 1994. 

Manoochehr Sadeghi at UCLA, c. 1989

Manoochehr Sadeghi at UCLA, 1990

The Music of Persia ensemble was dormant for nearly 20 years, until, in 2013, UCLA Ethnomusicology undergraduate Payam Yousefi founded a UCLA student organization called the "Traditional Persian Music Ensemble."  Its stated purpose:  "This is a campus organization where students who are interested in traditional Persian music can get together to practice and learn the music. This organization's long term goal will be to reach a level of performance so that members of the ensemble can have small recitals in the community and on campus."

Payam Yousef (Persian kamanche) -- Taqsim & "Chaharmezrab Mokhalef Segah", UCLA Near East Ensemble, 2012

Erfan Nazemzadeh (Frudu drum) & Albert Nasser Agha (Oud), UCLA, 2013

A number of the Music of Persia concerts were recorded and are part of the Archive's "Ethnomusicology Department" collection (2002.01).  You can search the finding aid on the Online Archive of California to find the Persian Music concerts.

Recordings of Hormoz Farhat are also part of the Archive's collections and can be searched on the Online Archive of California.  Click here to see what the Archive holds.

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