KIU HAGHIGHI* – Iranian (Santour)
Kiu Haghighi, known as a santour virtuoso in concert halls around the world, began his lifetime study of the santour at the age of ten. As a teenager he performed on the radio station of Mashad, Iran and the National Iranian Radio in Tehran, Iran. At nineteen he was invited to join the Iranian Ministry of Education and Art. There he performed as the featured soloist in the Academy Orchestra and performed regularly on National Iranian Television. Kiu was an instructor at the Ministry of Education and Art until 1965, when he left Iran for study in the United States. Kiu Haghighi’s musical career in North America has included numerous performances throughout the world in colleges, universities and concert halls. He has remained faithful to a desire to share classical Iranian music with western audiences.
Kiu’s work as both a performer and a composer on the santour combines and blends traditional Iranian forms with contemporary ones. A master of all the twelve melody types used as a basis for Iranian classical improvisation, Kiu has expanded the technical possibilities of the santour. His unusual speed in the movement of the leather-tipped mallets called mezrab is both well-known and extraordinary. Audience members have remarked at Haghighi’s new approach to the tradition of the Persian santour. They are intrigued by the new musical features, including novel musical ornaments and parallel melodies with unique musical dissonances. Audiences always remember the energy and vigor of expression of Kiu Haghighi brings to his musical performances.