Nader Majd

Classical Iranian and Persian music
Ashburn, Virginia

 Photo by: Pat Jarrett

Photo by: Pat Jarrett

Persian classical music dates back to at least the fifth century B.C. The Achaemenid Empire employed music in prayer, royal festivals, and national ceremonies. Dr. Nader Majd was born in Sari, Iran, and began studying and playing the santur, or Persian hammered dulcimer, and violin at the age of six. He later learned to play the tar and setar from his father and uncles, artists well known in Iran. All of these instruments are essential to Persian music of prayer. Dr. Majd immigrated to the United States in 1968, and in 1997 established the Center for Persian Classical Music in Northern Virginia, a critically important organization for the preservation and teaching of Iranian music and traditional culture. Nader recently became one of the first returning master artists in the Virginia Folklikfe Apprenticeship Program, working with Ali Reza Analouei, who himself was a 2009 Master Artist on the Tombak and Daf.

The timing of Nader and Ali’s return to the Apprenticeship Program is particularly significant, as Nader wrote in his program application: “Considering that we are living in these sensitive times, given the strain on political relations between Iran and the U.S. and the current immigration situation and ban against travel to certain countries in the Middle East, much of the culture will not be transferred and preserved through travel. The only way to preserve and perpetuate our cultural and heritage values is through current residents such as myself and Dr. Analouei who have devoted our lives to promoting our culture and heritage in the Northern Virginia community.”