Tar virtuoso Hushang Zarif dies at 81

March 8, 2020 - 18:38

TEHRAN – Iranian tar virtuoso Hushang Zarif who is most famous for his education for various generations of Iranian musicians died of heart failure on Saturday at his home in Tehran at the age of 81.

He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease over the past few years, his wife, Pari Salehi, told the Persian media.

There will be no memorial service due to the spread of the new coronavirus, she said. 

Earlier in February, the 35th Fajr Music Festival honored Zarif for his lifetime achievements. However, he could not attend the festival due to his illness.    

Zarif began learning music from masters such as Musa Marufi and Ali-Akbar Shahnazi at the National Music Academy and High Music Academy in Tehran when he was a young adult.

After developing his music skills as a tar soloist, he worked with several orchestras and ensembles, which were collaborating with Iran television and the Art and Culture Ministry. 

He performed at various international festivals across the world, including the Shriram Shankarlal Music Festival in India and the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music in Austria.

He later put his central focus on education and his students, such as Hossein Alizadeh, Dariush Talai, Arshad Tahmasbi and Hamid Motebassem, achieved worldwide fame.

In a statement published on Persian media, Alizadeh called Zarif a legend and wrote, “He filled our spirits with the fragrance of love and life to cause us to remain steadfast and be happy with his memories.”
Zarif was also a skillful player of the setar and tombak. His expertise in performing the tombak led him to write the book “Tombak Learning” in collaboration with tombak virtuoso Hossein Tehrani.

He was also the author of “Vocal Radifs of the Iranian Traditional Music”. Both of the books are still among the resources being used for instruction at music educational centers in the country.

“Esfahane Dashti” is one of his albums, which contains the eminent Iranian composer Ali-Naqi Vaziri’s pieces “The Disheveled Girl”, “The Acrobat” and “Gymnastic Musical”.

Cultural officials sent messages of condolences to his family.

“He enjoyed a high status in Iranian traditional music and with his exemplary humble and dignity played a key role in creating invaluable works and teaching his students and transferring his learning to today’s generation,” Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance Seyyed Abbas Salehi said in his messages of condolence.

Photo: Tar virtuoso Hushang Zarif speaks before receiving a lifetime achievement award during the 3rd annual Musicema Awards at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on October 11, 2015. Ney virtuoso Hassan Nahid (L) and critic Javad Mojabi are also seen in the photo. (Musicema/Saeid Abdollahi)


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