"The delicate mallets in his hands are a flying blur and the air in the Canadian Museum of Civilization theatre is ringing with hypnotic sound ..."
— The Ottawa Citizen, Steven Mazey
Santur player, composer, and cultural inventor Amir Amiri dwells at the centre of a unique musical universe where ancient inspiration, dazzling virtuosity, and bold creativity meet. Surrounding himself with outstanding collaborators from the worlds of jazz, classical and world music, Amiri fearlessly transcends genres and borders, exquisitely transporting his ancient instrument into the musical conversations of our time.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Amiri is a master of the santur, a 72-string instrument dating from approximately 500 BCE.
Since arriving in Canada in 1996, Amiri has created numerous ground-breaking ensembles. Perséides, his duo with double bass player Jean Félix Mailloux, was featured at the National Arts Centre’s Sounds of Persia: Canada’s New Music Masters in 2018, where Amiri was Artistic Director. His duo Moody Amiri, with violist Richard Moody, has been praised by CBC for its “tantalizing blend of eastern and western sensibilities.” Additional ensembles include the Amir Amiri Quartet, inspired by the fluidity of musical influences in Iran and featuring the hypnotic presence of a Whirling Dervish; and Ensemble Kimya, a Montreal-Paris collaboration, combining early classical and contemporary music from Europe, the Middle East and India.
Amir Amiri was awarded the 2003 CBC Artist of the Year from the Galaxie Rising Stars Program. He performs and tours with a vast spectrum of ensembles, enchanting with his signature down-to-earth style and profound connection with audiences. Amir Amiri was invited for a artistic residency at the Cité Internationale in Paris in summer 2021.
A duo combining the verve of Jazz with the refinement of Persian classical music.
Ethno-roots: a meeting of folk/roots traditions from cultures an ocean apart.
Amir Amiri is joined by Canadian colleagues to present a program of Amiri's luminous compositions intertwined with original arrangements of traditional Persian folk and classical pieces. A concert-movie of this programme, commissioned by UBC's Chan Center for the Performing Arts, is available for external licensing.
The santur meets viola, cello, and percussion in this innovative quartet exploring classical and contemporary music from across three continents.
Amir joins forces with improvising genius Jean-Michel Pilc for an utterly free and unscripted musical experience
In an extraordinary meeting of worlds, composer and master santur player Amir Amiri boldly juxtaposes the vibrant sounds of his ancient instrument with the classical tones of a string quartet for his newest program, Parallel (Movaazi).
"Amir has a way of combining the santur sound and other classical instruments to create music for your ears."
— Sassy Jo,
“The colors created by Amiri immediately evoke to our Western ears a timeless East and a deeply seductive strangeness.”
— Frédéric Cardin,
“The santur, an instrument of the family of table zithers, is crystalline and the notes that emerge here are often airy ...”
— Yves Bernard,