Houman Pourmehdi is a master percussionist, well known for his diverse abilities as a musician, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, performing and recording in numerous ensembles and at a variety of venues. He was introduced to Persian music by his father, and received his first Tonbak at the age of three from his grandfather. He was privileged to study Tonbak under guidance of the late Grand Master Amir Nasser Eftetah. At sixteen he continued his studies at the Center for Preservation and Propagation of National Music, where he completed the techniques of playing Tonbak under supervision of Master Morteza Ayan. His interest in the spiritual path of Sufis introduced him to the Ghaderi Sufi order’s virtuoso Daf players, such as Haj Agha Sadeghi, Mirza Agha Ghosi, and Darvish Karim, with whom he studied the heart-to-heart traditional techniques of playing Daf.
Pourmehdi moved to Chicago in 1988, where he founded the Society for the Advancement and Preservation of Traditional Persian Music. It was here that he first fathomed the exciting possibilities of introducing the unique sounds of Persian instruments to American audiences. He also preserved the ancient Persian Percussive instrument called Kurekeh. The Society also facilitated his meeting the eminent Mohammad Ali Kianey-Nejad, who taught him the Ney (Persian Reed Pipe). Pourmehdi designed the tuneable Dayereh which is part of the cooperman’s Artist Innovation Series of instruments. Houman is both a recording artist and concert musician. He has appeared at many radio and TV interviews with live performance. He has performed widely throughout Europe, North America and North Africa. Pourmehdi composed music for a short educational film in 1999. His knowledge of traditional repertoire and intimacy with Sufi world are made to serve a very personal style of interpretation in his compositions. Along with several colleagues he founded The Lian Ensemble.
From CalArts staff pages.
Master artist Houman Pourmehdi participated in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program with student, Bita Sharif, who studied Persian tonbak (goblet drum). The tonbak is considered the chief Persian percussion instrument and uses elaborate finger techniques to create a variety of sounds.