Payam Yousefi

Payam Yousefi

Conference Co-Chair

I am an ethnomusicologist and performer specializing in the music of Iran. My current research focuses on the socio-musical periodization of classical Persian music from the late nineteenth century to the present, examining how soft power, sociopolitical changes, and cultural policy have informed musical periods.

More broadly, I am interested in music on the peripheries of Iran, music in Central Asia, improvisation, oral tradition, Persian modal theory, and performance as a research method.

I received my BA and MA in ethnomusicology from UCLA, where I studied closely with Dr. Ali Jihad Racy and Dr. Münir Beken. After graduating from UCLA, I began teaching in the music department of the Tehran University of Art in Iran. In Tehran, I taught courses on “Transcription Methods in Iranian Music;” the “Analysis of Classical Persian Music’s Radif-s and Dastgah-s;” and the “Music of the Middle East.”

I have been very fortunate to study under the tutelage of some of Iran’s most prominent master musicians. As a dedicated apprentice of Ostad Masumeh Mehrali, I learned the vocal radif-s (modal, melodic, and rhythmic improvisatory systems) of classical Persian music, and the advanced morakab techniques (styles of modal modulation). Additionally, I studied the instrumental radif-s and the repertoire of the kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle) under the direction of Negar Kharkan and the renowned Ostad Ardeshir Kamkar. As an active performer in Iran and America, I hope that my musical experiences can add depth to my inquiry as a scholar, and contribute a unique perspective to today’s academic discourses.