Born in 1976 in Khorasan province, one of epicenters of poetry and music north east of Iran, Mohsen Namjoo is a singer ,songwriter, music scholar and Setar (traditional Persian lute) player currently based in New York City. Featured on many world renown press such as NY Times, The Guardian, BBC, LA times and many more Namjoo is considered a visionary artist who speaks for the youth in Iran. Seamlessly blending the Classical Persian music and scales with electric guitar,Rock and Blues vocal techniques with Persian Avaz (singing). He fuses the ancient with the current. His unique style of singing and effortless mixture of music from east and west has made him an iconic persona in contemporary world music.
Since his arrival to the U.S. in 2009, Namjoo has been touring the world to sold out concerts at prestigious halls including Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco; Conservatorio Sala Verdi, Milan, Italy; Disney Hall and Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, Barbican Hall, London, Symphony Space NYC, Volkswagen Arena Istanbul and many more. He is one of the few middle eastern artists who has following all across the world from Tehran to New York to Melbourne to Istanbul to Berlin and many more cities.
Mohsen Namjoo has released 11 albums and over 20 singles. His latest album, On the String of the Tear's Bow is released on March 26 2018.
1993 Diploma in Mathematics, Jabbarian High School, Mashhad, Iran. 16th place in national university entrance exam (concours) from 35,000 applicants.
1994 School of Drama, Art University of Tehran, Iran.
1995 Department of Fine Arts, Tehran University, Iran.
2008 Prayner Conservatory, Vienna, Austria.
2009 Artist in residency, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University, California, USA.
2010-2011 Fellow, Department of Music, Stanford University, California, USA.
1995 - 2004 High School Persian Literature, part-time instructor, Tehran, Iran.
2001 - 2004 History of Iranian Music, University entrance exam (concours) preparation course, Tehran, Iran.
1999 - 2005 Singing and vocal exercises, Middle School extracurricular programs, Tehran, Iran.
1997 - 2006 Setar, traditional and pop singing, music theory and vocal exercise, private instructor, Tehran.
2003 - 2005 Elements of Quran singing (scales and pronunciation), private tutor, Tehran, Iran.
2010 Iranian Rhythms, Undergraduate workshop, Department of Music, Stanford U., California, USA.
2014 Visiting Scholar, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.
Taught Courses: "Tradition and protest: Iranian and Persian music," Spring Semester.
"Revolution and poets: Content and form in Iranian poetry," Fall semester.
Mohsen Namjoo, “Revolution and Music: A personal odyssey,” Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran: Challenging the Status Quo, ed. Abbas Milani and Larry Diamond, USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2015.
Lectures, Workshops, and Master-classes
Oct 2008 "Formalistic approaches to the relation of Persian music and poetry," Lecture, Department of Iranian Studies, Stanford University.
Feb 2009 "Music in contemporary Iran," Pan-Asian music festival, Department of Music, Stanford U.
Sep 2009 "Art and politics after green movement," Seminar in festival, 66th Venice Film Festival, Italy.
Oct 2009 "Iranian Scales & American Blues," Lecture & performance, Humanities Center, Stanford U.
Nov 2009 "High pitch-Low pitch: Some points about sounds in Christian and Islamic music culture," Humanities Center, Stanford U.
Feb 2010 "Iranian irregular rhythms," Workshop, Department of Music, Stanford U.
Jan 2010 "Similarities between despotism and Classical repertoire (radif) of Iranian traditional music, Persian Society, University of California, Berkley.
Sep 2011 "Why can’t Iranians clap?" Iranian students roundtable, School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
Apr 2012 Three above lectures, Samuel Jordan Center for Iranian Studies, UC Irvine.
Fall 2012 "Theory of Iranian music," Master-class for Persian-speaking students, UC Berkeley.
Jan 2013 "Some points on the history of Iranian music," Department of Iranian Studies, Stanford U.
Jan 2013 "Relation between music and poetry in traditional music," Shiraz Arts Academy, San Jose, California.
Apr 2013 “New experiences in Namjoo’s music” Q & A with students, University of Memphis, Memphis.
Jun 2013 “Independent music in Iran,” Q & A with Rachel Cooper, Asia Society, New York
Oct 2013 “Iranian music and poetry,” Q & A with Students and fellows of Lausanne University, Switzerland.
Oct 2013 “Namjoo’s oeuvre,” Workshop and Q & A with students and fellows of Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Mar 2014 "Shahram Shabpareh, Honesty and Minor Scale, Spirit of Iranian Melancholy," Department of Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Music, Brown University.
Apr 2014 "East and West: Low pitch and High pitch," Department of Middle Eastern Studies and Department of Music, Brown University.
Oct 2016 “Rhythm in Persian Poetry”, University of Washington, Seattle WA
May 2017 “Rhythm in Persian Poetry”, University of Oregon, Portland, OR
Jan 2018 “Popular Music and Society in Iran: New Directions”, Artist talk, Yale University
June 2018 Artist talk: In conversation with Mohsen Namjoo and Shirin Neshat, Moderated by Peter Sellars, Getty Museum, Los Angeles CA
April 2018 “Rhythm in Persian Poetry Part 1”, USC, Los Angeles, CA
May 2018 “Rhythm in Persian Poetry”, Stuttgart University, Stuttgart, Germany
June 2018 “Rhythm in Persian Poetry Part 2” USC, Los Angeles, CA
Dec 2018 “Four Articles: In acceptance and rejection of Nostalgia”, UBC, Vancouver BC
Dec 2018 Artist talk at Syracuse University
Albums and Audio Books
2005 Damavand, Tehran
2006 Jabr, Vienna: Nedai Records,
2007 Toranj, Tehran: Barbad Music In.
2008 "The Alchemist,” Audio book. Written by Paulo Coelho, translated by Arash Hejazi.Tehran: Caravan Publishing.
2009 Oy, Treviso, Italy: Stradivaris
2010 Useless Kisses, California: Payam Ent. Inc.,
2011 Alaki, Live at Stanford University. California: Payam Ent. Inc.
2012 13/8, Live at University of Berkeley. California: Payam Ent. Inc.
2014 Trust the Tangerine Peel, New York: Audio and Video Labs Inc.
2016 Personal Cipher, New York and Toronto: Daf-Daf.
2017 Axis of Solitude Live in Dallas TX, Daf-Daf
2018 On the String of the Tear's Bow, New York and Toronto, Daf-Daf
Mohsen Namjoo, “Revolution and Music: A personal odyssey,” Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran:
Challenging the Status Quo, ed. Abbas Milani and Larry Diamond, USA: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2015.
“Dorrab e Makhdoush: A book for the 20 year olds” 2017, Nakojaa Publication, Paris
“Chahar Maghale: 4 Articles” 2018 Nakojaa Publication, Paris
Awards and Distinctions
2007 Toranj, Winner of the Most Influential Young Musician Award from Chelcheragh magazine, Iran.
2016 Radio Dreams, Best Actor Award, 37th Durban International Film Festival, South Africa.
2016 Selected as one of the top 10 candidates for the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, USA.
2004 "Few kilos of dates for a funeral," feature film by Saman Salur, Iran. Winner of Locarno and Edinburgh Film Festivals, 2006.
2012 "Jana and Baladour," Shadow-play by Bahram Beyzaie. Palo Alto, California.
2013 "Arash," Stage-reading by Bahram Beyzaie. Stanford University, California.
2014 "Radio Dreams," Feature film by Babak Jalali. Winner of the Gold Tiger at Rotterdam Film Festival, 2016.
Documentaries about the artist
2005 "Equanimity by Diazepam 10," Documentary by Saman Salur, Tehran.
2016 "Ways of Tolerances," Short documentary by Negar Behbahani and Reza Javadi, New York.
2017 "Mohsen in New York," Short documentary by Kamran Taheri Moghaddam.
Soundtracks for Plays and Films
1996-2016 Music made for more than 30 plays, short movies, animations, TV programs and feature films.
Selections of voice and music for movies:
2006 "Sound of Silence," Documentary by Amir Hamz and Mark Lazarz.
2009 "Not an illusion," Documentary by Torang Abedian.
2014 "A girl walks home alone at night," by Ana Lily Amirpour. Best movie award of Sundance Film Festival,
2016 “Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party,” BBC Four Documentary, Directed by Hassan Amini.
Highlight of productions:
1996 "Something like life," Play by Hossein Panahi.
2003 "Whole," Animation by Vahid Nasirian.
2004 "I pray for your coming," Movie by Mohammad Sangouri.
2005 "Tekye Mellat," Play by Hossein Kiani.
2005 "Forgotten positives" Movie by Ali Atshani.
2010 "Neighbor," Feature film produced by Amir Naderi, directed by Naghme Shirkhan.
2011 "Over Ruled " Play by Shirin Neshat, New York: Performa Festival.
2015 "Damn Box," Play by Parviz Sayyad, California.
2015 "Passage through the world," Play by Shirin Neshat, Bari and Milan, Italy.
More than 200 concerts since 2011 around the world including famous venues such as:
New York City, Symphony Space, Skirball Center
San Francisco, Palace of Fine Arts
Los Angeles, Disney Hall, Royce Hall, Mark Taper Forum
Irvine, Barclay Theater
Dallas, Eisemann Center
San Diego, Museum Of Art
Toronto, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto Center for the Arts
Vancouver, The Play House
Sydney, The Concourse
Melbourne, National Hall
London, Barbican Hall
Amsterdam, Theater Amsterdam
Istanbul, Volkswagen Arena, Zurlu Center, Harbiye Center