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                                        Volume. 11975

Tar virtuoso Mohammadreza Lotfi dies at 68
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Tar and setar virtuoso Mohammadreza Lotfi in an undated photo
Tar and setar virtuoso Mohammadreza Lotfi in an undated photo
TEHRAN -- Tar and setar virtuoso Mohammadreza Lotfi, who had collaborated with prominent Iranian vocalists Mohammadreza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri, died of cancer at Tehran’s Pars Hospital on Friday at the age of 68.
 
Born in Gorgan, he moved to Tehran and began learning music from masters like Ali-Akbar Shahnazi and Habollah Salehi at the Academy of Music.
 
The he completed his studies with other maestros like Nurali Borumand, Abdollah Davami and Saeid Hormozi.
 
Lotfi, Shajarian, and Nasser Farhang came together at the Art Celebration in Shiraz in 1976 and their joint performances were warmly received at the event.
 
Shortly afterward, he established the Sheida band along with tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh and a number of other musicians to remake some works by Iranian music luminaries.
 
Composer and santur player Parviz Meshkatian joined the group to set up the Aref Ensemble in 1977. Many analysts believe that the two bands revolutionized Persian music. 
 
They also founded the Chavosh ensemble, which created many memorable works during the 1970s and early 1980s.
 
Lotfi left Iran to live in the United States in 1986, and a few years later all the bands broke up. He performed widely in concerts in countries across Asia, Europe, and North America in this new stage of his life.
 
However, he returned home in late 2006 after 20 years and reopened the Mirza Abdollah Music School and the Ava-ye Sheida Institute recording company.       
 
He also gathered a number of female musicians to found the Women’s Sheida and he struggled to eliminate Iran’s prohibition on solo vocal performances by women. 
 
In addition, he established the Sheida of Restoration band to perform and record his arrangements of traditional Iranian pieces.
 
Lotfi hoped to get a tremendous welcome from friends like Shajarian, Alizadeh and Meshkatian, but his dream never came true.
 
However, his colleagues and several officials offered their condolences over the death of Lotfi. 
 
“The sage of Iranian music left us,” Deputy Culture Minister for Artistic Affairs Ali Moradkhani said in a message.
 
“He made great efforts to create eternal works in Persian music,” he added.
 
“People of Iran felt grief over the death of their beloved memories and lives,” Hossein Alizadeh said.
 
“He was one of the sources of Iranian music and a link between the old and new generations of music,” vocalist Alireza Qorbani stated.
 
Former president Mahmoud Ahamdinejad also sent a letter of condolence to Lotfi’s family and fans.
 
MMS/YAW
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