Master Homayoon Khorram
Ostaad Homayoon Khorram was just 11 when he became an understudy to Abul Hassan Saba. At 14, already an accomplished musician, he undertook many radio programs. Later he became a violin soloist and composer, while working at the radio station. He has released many magnificent albums so far. He is a graduate in electronic engineering, where he was one of the top students in his course. He has held many positions like the member of the high council of music, the National Music Composer, the head of Musical Traditional Instruments Orchestra, Lecturer at University of National Music and the professor at the Iranian School of Arts. He has composed and conducted Iranian music for `Golha" programs. So far, he has given many lectures in UCLA university, Gilan University, Iranian Music Society (on behalf of Abul Hassan Saba), Allameh Tabatabi University, Arasbaran Culture House (on behalf of Alinaghi Vaziri, Isfahan Industrial University, Iranian Music Aspects, Shiraz Medical University(Saba and Iranian Music) and Tehran Technical University. He was honored for his lifetime contribution at Amir Kabir University recently. When did you become interested in Music? My mother was the main cause, because she was very interested in musical divisions in particular Homayoon division, which is what I was named after. My mother bought me a flute when I was small; I was so fascinated that I could play all in vogue music with a few days practice. I tried to make instruments out of some wires and odd bits of wood but the noise drove our servant crazy and she even told my mother that I was a pain in the neck. At the time there were no violins in small sizes, so my mother bought me a toy like a violin. I loved it so much that I could play all contemporary music of the time after a few days. One day as I was playing music on the violin, when one of my sister"s friend - she later got married to famous musician and lyricist Abul Hassan Vaziri - came to our home and heard me playing. My sister"s friend was overwhelmed and told my mother that I had the talent and asked her to take me to the famous violinist Saba, to learn how to play musical instruments properly. I was only 11 years old. After four to five years, they announced me on the program, as a 14-years-old violinist in the radio. One day as I was playing the violin in the radio studio and Hossein Tehrani was sitting in the buffet and thought that it was Saba who was playing. I was flooded by his affections when he found out that it was I playing. Why did you choose engineering while you were interested in music? Some of my relatives told my family that I was going the wrong way morally. Although my father was interested in music he recommended that I study in university besides continuing my career in music. I did as he said and I started in the university, studying a course in electric engineering, I was studious and hard-working and finished my education. In what way were your studies helpful to your music? A scientific base is genuinely helpful to the development of a better understanding of musical aspects and beliefs. It provided grounds for advancement of my talent in my academic major. How many books have you written so far? There is a book titled The first Range of Left Tuning including Songs, Four Beats, Plectrums and some of my music. There is another upcoming book titled The Second Range of Right Tuning included Four Beats, Plectrums and again some of my music in addition to some Preludes and Allegros. Many albums; co-played by Javad Maroofi, Jalil Shahnaz, Farhangeh Sharif have been released. How much time do you spend to do a research to write and play a piece of music? There are some elements involved in creating a new work but I am going to point out some of them that are crucial for playing an Iranian music. First of all you should have very good understanding of Iranian music. Sometime the best means that you are just able to do it but when you have an eminent understanding of something then you can be creative without being deviated from its origin. After a while a person can say that he is ready to compose and improvise. But let me tell you that composing is occasional. It means that you cannot aim for composing something today or tomorrow, you should be inspired, it should come to you. Sometime it comes to you at wrong time and wrong place. It happens to me many times. Let me tell you a story of myself, I used to work with an engineering company. While I was doing my job suddenly a very strange feeling came over me, as if musical notes were raining out of the heavens. I had no papers on me to write on so I started writing on the back of the forms for my electrical engineering work, dropping them as I went several times. On handing the forms to my manager who knew me only as an engineer, he asked about the scribbles on the back of the papers; I said "On the face of them they are my work reports and on the back my personal insights." I do believe that we do not have any control over our inspiration; so, I would rather say that we are just instruments for passing on the divine inspiration. Which of your works are more fascinating for you? Whatever one creates one is fascinated by. I can not distinguish between my compositions because they are all works from the heart that is why it is very hard to choose. Sometimes I was so taken by my own work that I used to think that I could never write better but after some recording and listening I got used to it, and then I would start writing and the whole process would start over again. How do you deal with your students? Between my students and I exists the bond of affection, because I believe A kind teacher whose lesson is imbued with love, Attracts a truant child to school on Sabbath. My students always turn up to class eager and keen to such extent that when I am away sometimes they complain of missing me, and that upsets me. My teaching has spiritual values because I teach them with all my heart and they learn with all theirs. There are some students who have been working with me for more than 12 years. There are strong ties between us. Some of my students are Babak Shahraki and Mani Farzi who has made a band named "Khorram" and have cover played many of my works too. How was your feeling when you composed your first music? The very same feeling that led to the composition. A sense is involved when you want to create something so when you are done with your work the feeling is the same as it was at the conception. It is obvious that a person would be overwhelmed when he listens to his first work but after a while he should accept the fact that it does not belong to him, it is rather given to him. Otherwise his mind would draw a blank. Hafez says: Thou art thine own veil, Hafez, Out of the way get thee to find God. Of course it is essential to make efforts to achieve your goals but we should understand the point that: Effort itself may not a reward warrant, but reward itself only effort may make apparent. Making an effort may not be enough; you must await Lord"s grace sometimes. God is the only one who can help us reach our goals in the end. What do you think of research in Iran? Doing research on music, especially traditional Iranian music, is not only good, it is necessary. I want to place the emphasis on Iranian music. The young generation should be very familiar with Iranian music in order to find ways of making it global. In other words research must take place before Iranian music is created that can capture the whole world, without taking its cue from Western classical harmony. Research must be conducted first in music, so the world can be made to appreciate Iranian music.