Behdad Babaei was born in February 18, 1974, in Doha, Qatar. Music and art have always been deep-rooted interests in his family, so naturally, at the age of seven, he started learning Persian classical music by playing the “Setar” (Persian Lute) under his uncle’s supervision, Maestro Parviz Meshkatian. Simultaneously, he also began learning under Maestro Mohammad Firouzi supervision at the Chavosh Art & Society Club.
Babaei learned the Iranian classical repertoire known as the radif related to Maestro Broumand, which is known as Mirza Abdullah’s repertoire, with these two prominent masters and continued rehearsing this repertoire with Maestro Meshkatian uninterrupted. The instrumental playing of metric pieces repertoire and improvisation with Master Meshkatian provided the opportunity for him to learn from this eminent music master and allowed him to profoundly perceive the concept of modulation in Persian classical music. Master Meshkatian generously shared his personal music archive, including opuses from masters of previous generations which was a very scarce collection, which encouraged Behdad to scrutinize and learn from the different styles of prominent Setar players.
Behdad also completed playing the Mirza Hossein Gholi’s repertoire (radif) under Maestro Pirniakan’s supervision and he was being tutored by Master Tolouei for a while. He had the honor of attending a master vocal class of Maestro Shajarian which was held with five of Maestro’s prominent apprentices and received invaluable experience in melodic response to Persian vocal music.
In 1994, he started collaborating with the Aref ensemble, under Maestro Meshkatian’s supervision, as a soloist Setar player. He accompanied many concerts throughout the country and abroad and this collaboration continued until the ensemble last concert, ”Ghoghnos", which was held in Ministry of Interior Hall with Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh’s vocalization.
He has collaborated with Iran’s most renowned vocalists, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Shahram Nazeri, Iraj Bastami, Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh, Alireza Eftekhari, Ali Jahandar, and Hesam Aldin Seraj. He has also collaborated on a variety of music albums such as “Dar Khial”, “Vatan-e Man”, “Aref Ensemble’s Concert 97”, “Konje Sabouri”, “Lahze-ye Didar”, “Mast-e HoshYaar”, “Aseman”, “Atash-e Avazha”, and “Shahr-e Ashnayi”. Behdad has produced two independent albums. “Badahe Khani & Badahe Navazi” was a collaboration with Iraj Bastami and “BadaheNavazi in Segah” with Mohsen Kasir Al Safar. The latter was published in Europe. He also released two composition albums, “Joye Noghre Mahtab” and “Hasrat-e Khamoushi-am”.
Mr. Babaei was awarded a certificate of first-grade art in music (equivalent to PHD) and has taught advanced music at the Tehran University of Art. He is interested in doing research in the field of Persian music and has been studying the Radif narrated by Montazem Al Hokama, which was handwritten by Mokhber Al Saltane Hedayat. He also compared different repertoires (radif) which were narrated by distinct masters, including Broumand, Mirza Hossein Gholi, Mousa Marofi, Saba, and Hormozi.
He has participated in a variety of International festivals and a collection of his opuses will be published soon. Currently, he is writing a book about interpreting and comparing various styles of setar player’s maestros such as Abol Hasan Saba, Ahmad Ebadi, Saeid Hormozi, Yousef Froutan, and Arsalan Dar Gahi.
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