… A fine instrumentalist who is musical in every way, it was a pleasure to hear his work, combining fine improvisational qualities with his command of the instrumentally attractive, melodically alluring sounds of his santur.” – Calgary Herald

Farhad was born in 1988 in Isfahan, Iran. He started learning santur (Persian dulcimer) from a young age. He earned experience in performance and composition through collaboration with several professional music and theatre ensembles in Iran. Farhad moved to Canada in January 2012 to continue his studies at the University of Alberta. Since then he has performed as a santur player and composer with the Pegah ensemble, Karim Gillani, and as a solo artist.

He was admitted to the prestigious World Music Residency program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2015, studying with world-renowned musicians Kiya Tabassian, Ziya Tabassian, Dhruba Ghosh, Yogesh Samsi, Charbel Rouhana, and Didem Basar. During this music residency he composed and arranged the piece “Spring in Banff” which premiered at the Greenham theatre in March 2015.

In January 2017, Farhad received the Edmonton Arts Council’s Cultural Diversity in the Arts project grant to record his debut album titled ‘Sleeping in Sorrow’. This album explores the theme of child labour, capturing the sounds and feelings of children working in harsh environments to make a living, deprived from their basic needs. This work is a journey through their lives and aims to give a deeper understanding of the true feelings of these children. Though rooted in Iranian classical music, different textures of percussion, mixed with Western cello and violin, merge together with the melodic sounds of the santur to tell the story of child labour. A story that cannot be told by words alone. The album was released on September 17th, 2017 at the Royal Alberta Museum concert hall and raised $1,400 to support victims of child labour. The album got nominated for the Edmonton Music Prize 2017, as well as the Edmonton Music Awards and Western Canadian Music Awards in 2018.

Farhad received both Alberta Foundation for the Arts and Edmonton Arts Council grants to record his sophomore album titled Mosàfer released August 2020. This album is a santur and percussion duet that translates some of the deepest existential Persian poetries into instrumental music. Farhad received the 2020 Edmonton Music Prize for this album. He is joined by the award-winning percussionist, Daniel Stadnicki. The album was reviewed by PAN M 360:

“With its long notes that stretch and rise in the night like sparks from a campfire, Mosàfer makes an excellent soundtrack for contemplating the Perseids and watching for shooting stars.”

Farhad has performed in multiple venues and festivals in Edmonton, including Royal Alberta Museum, Winspear Centre, Alberta Culture Days, Mile Zero Dance, Arden theatre, and the Yardbird Suite. Farhad and Daniel have toured as part of the Prairie Debut “Close to Home” initiative in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and BC, during the 2021-2023 season. They will continue touring with Prairie Debut as part of the 2024-2025 roster.

Awards and Honors

  • 2020 Edmonton Music Prize
  • Alberta Foundation for the Arts Music Individual Project Funding.
  • Edmonton Arts Council Individual Project Grant (small).
  • Nominated for the 2018 Western Canadian Music Awards – World Artist of the Year.
  • Nominated for the 2018 Edmonton Music Awards – World Music Recording of the Year.
  • Shortlisted for the Edmonton Music Prize 2017.
  • Shortlisted for the 2017 Bent River Records recording competition.
  • Cultural Diversity in the Arts project grant, Edmonton Arts Council, 2017.
  • World Music Residency, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, 2015.