Mohammad Esmaili passes away

Master Mohammad Ismaili, a prominent musician and renowned tombak player, passed away on August 13, 2023, after battling an illness in the ICU of Rasoul Akram Hospital. His funeral will take place on Thursday, August 17, at 10 am in front of Vahdat Hall, and he will be laid to rest in the Artists’ Section of Behesht Zahra Cemetery.

Born on September 25, 1934, in Tehran, Mohammad Ismaili was introduced to Hussein Tehrani, by his cousins Morteza and Mostafa Gorgin Zadeh in 1954. He also had the opportunity to perform in the presence of Amir Nasser Eftetah. While he spent eight years learning classical clarinet alongside tombak, he primarily focused on tombak playing and never pursued a professional career in clarinet despite receiving invitations to perform with classical music orchestras.

In 1965, Ismaili joined the Ministry of Culture and Art’s music ensembles and, following the death of his mentor Hussein Tehrani, became the head of the National Instrument Orchestra under the supervision of Faramarz Payvar. This collaboration continued even after Payvar’s passing.

Ismaili was part of the first tombak group initiated by Hussein Tehrani with the encouragement of Ruhollah Khaleghi. In collaborating with Houshang Zarif, Mahmoud Rahmanipour, and Nasrollah Golpayegani, he began his musical journey. He was the only one specializing in tombak, while others had expertise in different instruments.

He was selected as a teacher at the National Music Conservatory instead of Tehrani based on the recommendations of music experts. During this period, Ismaili, along with Hossein Dehlavi and others (Houshang Zarif, Farhad Fakhreddini, and Mostafa Kamal PourTorab), started writing the book “Tombak Instruction.” This book was the first significant step in teaching Iranian percussion instruments and remains an important resource for tombak education due to multiple revisions made by Ismaili and his students.

In 1964, he began teaching tombak at the National Music Conservatory as a representative of his mentor. After the revolution, when tombak instruction was banned at the conservatory, he secretly taught the instrument to his students in the conservatory’s pantry area, ensuring that the legacy of his teacher, Hussein Tehrani, was not forgotten.

After the disbandment of Faramarz Payvar’s ensemble following the revolution, Ismaili’s stage activities in Iran were suspended until the revival of the Payvar ensembles. Both groups, the Masters and the Payvar ensemble, resumed their extensive activities under Payvar’s leadership.

Mohammad Ismaili has left numerous works in the form of ensemble and solo performances, with most of his notable works being collaborations with the Payvar Group.

A commemoration ceremony for Mohammad Ismaili was held on December 1, 2017, at Vahdat Hall in Tehran, attended by a group of artists. The event, organized by RadnoAndish Cultural Institute, honored Ismaili’s five decades of significant contributions to Iranian music and tombak playing. It is worth mentioning that Majid Ismaili, a renowned violinist, is Mohammad Ismaili’s son.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
Your email is never shared.

A brief examination of Ardavan Kamkar’s Santour playing style

I still think of those fish in a crystal bowl for the Haft sin table and those disappointed old men who went out to sell blackfish.

Lilly Afshar, Iranian Guitar Legend, passed away

The text you are reading is about Hamed Fathi, a guitarist and one of Lilly Afshar’s students, which was previously published on the Persian website

From Past Days…

A brief examination of Ardavan Kamkar’s Santour playing style

I still think of those fish in a crystal bowl for the Haft sin table and those disappointed old men who went out to sell blackfish.

The response of the fired musicians to the interview of the managing director of Rudaki Foundation

Following an interview by Mehdi Salem, the director of the Rudaki Foundation, with the “Our Music” website, a response from the dismissed musicians was published in response to this conversation, which you read:

Principles of Violin Playing (VII) Regarding the great linear distance and the unusual distance between the first and forth fingers, the first finger while playing the doubles of ninth and tenth interval, can be twisted in the knuckle area and the point mentioned in paragraph in relation to the way first finger is placed indicating that the first joint of this finger in back of hand must be in line with the direction of forearm and left hand is not true here.

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VI)

Researcher: Mohammad Tarighat Translator: Fatemeh Alimohammadi Hooks and attached rings: The junction of the ring to the arch is about 3 centimeters from the skin.  The ring with its side rings should be as far as the diameter of a ring (about one and a half to one and eight centimeters) to make a proper…
Read More »

Interview with Farhad Poupel (II)

Fantasia on One Note was my first professional work for piano, which had its world premiere by the great pianist Peter Jablonski in Sweden, and it has been performed by various pianists in the UK, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. The recording of this work has also been broadcast on the Dutch public radio, NPR Radio 4.

The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (I)

Today, percussion instruments have such a high place in music that are an essential element of orchestras. This has attracted many people to this type of instrument with roots as old as the first humans. A historical study of music, shows that humans used the sound of these instruments to defend themselves against wild animals and, over time, for alerting each other, signaling their readiness and encouraging people for war, ritual ceremonies, dances, etc. in a manner that is still clearly visible in music and some ritual ceremonies.

Tehran Flute Choir Established

Tehran Flute Choir was established in 1394 (late 2015) by Firouzeh Navai. Tehran Flute Choir, Iran’s first largest flute choir, recruited its members mostly from young talented flutists of Iranian Flute Association. Featuring piccolo, flute, alto flute and bass flute, Tehran Flute Choir, directed by Firouzeh Navai, premiered under the batons of Saeed Taghadosi on January 7-8, 2016 at Roudaki Hall in Tehran.

Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra

Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra is an Iranian percussion orchestra featuring 40 lady percussionists. The Orchestra was established as Iran’s largest all-female percussion orchestra in 2008 by Ms. Minoo Rezaei under the title Naerika Percussion Orchestra and changed its name to Avaye Naerika in 2017.

Ruggero Chiesa’s Legacy

Written by Peyman Shirali Translated by Mahta Mottaghi Since many years ago, I had the intention of writing an article on the Italian maestro Ruggero Chiesa and his musical life; but his ingenuity and the immense legacy, which is impressive for not only me, but also almost everyone who knows him properly, made it hard for me…
Read More »

Rouhollah Khaleghi Artistic Center established in Washington DC

Golnoush Khaleghi (1941-2021), a Washington-based Persian musician and the daughter of the contemporary Persian (Iranian) composer and theoretician Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965) founded a musical center called RKAC to keep the name and the work of her father alive.