France to present Chevalier medal to Shahram Nazeri

September 29, 2007

TEHRAN -- Iranian vocalist Shahram Nazeri is to be awarded France’s Chevalier des Arts et Lettres medal for his lifetime achievements in Iranian traditional music today.

Nazeri is scheduled to give improvised performances with tar virtuoso Dariush Talaii and percussionist Navid Khavari during the ceremony.
The medal will be presented by one of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s advisors, Nazeri told the Persian service of the Iranian students News Agency on Friday.
Anti-Iranian remarks made by Sarkozy and his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner have recently enraged Iranian officials.
“Artistic and cultural activities are the supporters and guarantors of world peace. As can be witnessed, cultural movements take their own course regardless of political disputes,” Nazeri said.
“The world in its hidden wisdom has adopted the approach that art should be left free to help sustain world peace,” he added.
The New York Times has dubbed Nazeri, 57, the “Persian Nightingale” and the Christian Science Monitor has named him “Iran’s Pavarotti”.
“I don’t consider myself worthy of being compared with the world’s most celebrated opera tenor, Pavarotti. People have probably wanted to draw a comparison between Western and Eastern cultures. Pavarotti represents the grandeur of Western music. However the mysterious medley of Eastern music is beyond that type of grandeur,” he explained.
He is to perform in London from October 14 to 16.
Nazeri’s greatest fans are from the Kurdish Iranian regions particularly Kermanshah, where he was born.
His musical talents were discovered by his father and nurtured by celebrated masters of Persian music including Abdollah Davami, Nur-Ali Borumand, and Mahmud Karimi.
“The Hundred-Petal Flower” (“Gol-e Sad Barg”) was his debut album and since then Nazeri has released over 40 recordings