Siamak Aghaei, an Iranian santur (hammered dulcimer) virtuoso and composer, is not only deeply engaged with the tradition of Persian classical music, but is working actively to expand its borders and the context in which his instrument is heard. His studies began at the age of eight within the Organization for the Preservation and Publication of Iranian Traditional Music and continued with some of Iran’s most imminent Santur masters, including Meshkatian and Shenasa. He has a deep knowledge of the Radif, (the system of modal music upon which Persian classical music is based) from extensive studies with noted masters Lotfi and Kiani and he received his degree in music from the University of Tehran.
It is through Aghaei’s work with various ensembles outside of Iran that he has brought the santur to an increasingly diverse audience. He has engaged with the European avant garde, performing with the Atlas Ensemble and Ed Spanjard in Amsterdam. His collaboration with the Labyrinth Ensemble and Ross Daly throughout Europe brought together various ancient Mediterranean musical traditions. With the Oriental Ensemble and Nassir Shamma, he has found common ground between Persian and Arabian musical languages. It is through Aghaei’s work with the Silk Road Ensemble and Yo-Yo Ma that he first collaborated with violinist/composer Colin Jacobsen. Ascending Bird, based on an ancient Persian folk melody, was the first result. It has been performed to worldwide acclaim, by the Silk Road Ensemble, Brooklyn Rider and The Knights and was viewed live by millions online in the You Tube Symphony’s performance at the Sydney Opera House. Their second piece was The Wind Will Take Us, written by Aghaei for the Silk Road Ensemble and arranged by Jacobsen. The Double Concerto will be the most recent result of a friendship and collaboration that goes back almost 15 years now.
Within Iran, Siamak Aghaei continues to lead an active musical life. He is an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Tehran and founded the ensembles Gusheh as well as SanturNavazan, which is a unique ensemble of newly designed santurs to explore new colors and sound worlds. Aghaei lives in Tehran and he has been one of the most active performers and composers through the Iranian musicians since 2000.
• "Naghshé Mastūri" – Solo Santūr – (Audio CD)
• "Santūr Journeys" – a Set of Duets of Santūr and a Collection of the Word Music Instruments Such As Spanish Fret Less Guitar, Afghani Sārūd, Japanese Shākūhāchi (Audio CD)
• "Yād Bād" – Live Performance in Vahdat Hall – With Salar Aghili (Vocal) and Pedram Khavarzamin (Tombak) – (2 DVD & 1Audio CD)