First prize, press prize and audience award for French artist
Artist biography Mohammad Reza Mortazavi
Official biography published on social media (December 12, 2016).
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi (born in Isfahan/Iran in 1979) started taking Tombak lessons at the age of 6. Overwhelmed by the power and fascination of music he learned to play the drum so quickly as to leave his teacher unable to teach him any more skills at the age of 9.
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi won the annual Iranian Tombak competition, in which only the countryÂ’s best musicians are allowed to participate, for the first time when he was 10 years old. In the fol- lowing years he continued to win this competition and at the age of just 20 was considered by many as the worldÂ’s best Tombak player. In the course of his career he developed over 30 new striking and finger techniques and revolutionised the traditional way of playing Â– not always to the joy of the old masters. The audience in Teheran was delighted and his concerts were regularly sold out.
At the age of 22 the musician travelled to Germany for the first time and performed with great success in Munich. Apart from releasing several CDs he has been invited to a range of concerts throughout Europe, where he has swept audiences off their feet. He has now been living and working very successfully in Germany for the past eleven years. In 2003 he received the German World Music Award RUTH in the newcomersÂ’ category Â– as one of over 600 candidates. His concert successes were crow- ned by a solo concert he gave at the Philharmonie in Berlin in March 2010.
In 2010 Mohammad Reza Mortazavi also started to work with flowfish.music and that on two releases at once: the solo CD GREEN HANDS and the DVD Live at the Berlin Philharmonie.
He has received consistent positive coverage in the form of concert reviews, media portraits and features in media ranging from BBC/Persian TV, arte, ARD, ZDF, ORF, 3Sat, BR and NDR to Voice of America. Furthermore, in 2011 he was invited to EuropeÂ’s most important World Music Fair Â– WOMEX 11 in Copenhagen Â– to present his music in a showcase.
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi presents his music both solo and in co-operations with other musicians as well as producers, theatres and dancers Â– one example is his co-operation with Jochen Ulrich and his ballet company at the Landestheater in Linz in 2011.
More biographical information.
Mohammad Reza Mortazavi was born in Isfahan, Iran in 1978. His parents – both musicians – enabled him to take tombak drum lessons at the age of six. He was quick to feel the power of the music deep inside. At the tender age of nine there was nothing more he could learn from his teacher. From that point on the goblet shaped tombak became the main driving force in his life and children of his age wouldn’t attract his attention any longer. He was captured by the music.
During the following years he constantly won first prizes at the annual tombak music competition in Iran where only the country’s best tombak players were given the chance to take part. Already at the age of 20 he was considered as the world’s best tombak player. A fact which, however, couldn’t put him off from upgrading and revolutionizing tombak playing by stretching its traditional borders. His finger techniques and sound variations gave the tombak a new voice. He played his self-composed pieces in front of the enthusiastic audiences in Teheran where his performances were regularly sold out. Since then his way of playing has been pointing the way ahead.
At 22 he travelled to Germany for the first time and performed in Munich where he delighted the audiences. He released several CDs and got invited to give many concerts where the audiences reacted with storms of applause.
“[…] The tombak is a highly interesting skin instrument offering with its corpus more than ten different sound effects by varying the position of hands. Mortazavi exhausts all play methods: He uses his fingernails to play on the skin, he uses all parts of his hand, the palm, the ball of the thumbs, the fingers seperately and together as well as the bones. He plays on the bassy middle, the dry rim skin as well as on the bright sounding rim as well as on the corpus evoking wooden sounds. He plays all that in a very routined way - in its best sense - by varying the speed.” (Enrico Ille)
In 2003 he received as one among 600 competitors the world music young talent award at the international Ruth festival in Rudolstadt.