HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Sahba Motallebi is a virtuoso on both the tar and setar, two related lutes at the heart of Persian classical music. As a teenager in her native Iran she pushed against patrimonial restrictions and emerged as a dynamo on her instruments; when she was only 14 she began her studies at the Tehran Conservatory of Music and between the years 1995-98 she was a four-time winner as best tar player at the Iranian Music Festival (she also studied abroad, in Russia and Turkey). While still in school she cofounded the boundary-breaking female music ensemble Chakaveh; in 1999 she was invited to join the prestigious Iranian National Orchestra, which initiated her global performance career, and eventually led her to settle outside of Los Angeles, where she’s lived and played for over a decade, and has worked fastidiously to preserve traditional Persian classical music. She also extended her education in performance practice at CalArts. Motallebi has achieved extraordinary recognition as an expat and she’s been honored by performing with the great master Hossein Alizadeh.
Sahba Motallebi is an Iranian songwriter, Tar, Setar and Shoorangiz virtuoso and an internationally acclaimed musician. She has studied music and composition at distinguished institutions such as the National Conservatory (Iran), Saint Petersburg Korsakov Conservatory (Russia), RGS University (Turkey), and California Institute of Arts (USA). Sahba has been recognized as the best Tar player at the Iranian Music Festival (FAJR) for four consecutive years. Her performances as a soloist and in collaboration with renowned vocalists such as Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Alireza Ghorbani, Sina Sarlak, Mamak Khadem and esteemed composers such as Hossein Alizadeh, Arshad Tahmasebi, Keyhan Kalhour, and Yo-Yo Ma have touched audiences around the globe. Author of two educational etudes for Tar and Setar, Sahba has served as music instructor at the Pasadena State College (CA), Lawrence University (WI), and Berklee College of Music (MA). Iran-born and Southern Californian based Tar and Setar virtuoso Sahba Motallebi has an incredible relationship with major Western and Central Asian artists.
Performing with artists from all over the Persian Diaspora, she exhibits her profound grasp of classical and contemporary Iranian music by masterfully weaving classical Persian styling, folk and world fusion. To date, Sahba has been an ambassador of Persian music in the United States and abroad and has captivated audiences in prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl (2006), and Grand Performances (2015). Integrated amongst the aforementioned accomplishments are numerous recorded works encompassing: Presentation of Young Artists (2003), Dashti-Nava (2005), Solace of the eyes, (2006), ever lasting songs of Iran Vol. I & II (2001), Ancient Heritage anew (2011), Dream and Illusion (2012), and A Tear at the Crossroad of Time (2014). Recognized as the best Tar player among all ages at the Iranian Music Festival (FAJR) for Four consecutive years (1993-1996).
Sahba continues to perform worldwide, and has released a series of noted books and recordings, the latest of which is 2014’s A Tear at the Crossroad of Time. A brand New recording is just about complete. Sahba is also recognized as an innovator in the teaching of Persian music; her pioneering efforts to put instructional materials on the internet and to teach students online have inspired something of a renaissance in the transmission of this ancient art form, and reflect her abiding commitment to bring the gift of music to her community and the world.