Interview with Pezhman Noor, famous Iranian flamenco guitar player and composer

Pezhman Noor, musician and music composer, in the style of flamenco guitar, has been teaching for years. In fact, he started learning guitar from 1997-1998.

His first teacher was Mohammad Ali Mehrtash, who worked with him for about 4.3 months, and then he continued learning guitar by himself until he entered the world of flamenco music. He also participated in a master class in Europe with Master Rafael Cortes and learned a lot from him in the field of flamenco guitar.

What path did Pezhman Noor take to achieve today’s success?

After I was able to play the methods available in Iran, I got acquainted with other methods through the Internet and held my first official concert in Saviz cinema in Karaj in 2004. Of course, before that, I had performances in the style of flamenco guitar, including attending graduation ceremonies in Shahid Beheshti University hall. During these years, I held many concerts inside and outside the country; Germany, Armenia, Turkey, Tehran, and all parts of Iran such as Zanjan, Ahvaz, Shiraz, and many other cities in Iran, we had numerous concerts as soloists and groups in which my group included guitar, bass, and Cajón, and I performed parts of the world’s flamenco guitar greats, such as Paco de Lucía, Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Nunez, Tomatoto, Moraito, and other top musicians in the world. In 2008, I participated in the best guitar competition in Tehran province, where I won first prize. In 1989, I participated in the national youth festival organized by the government and became the best musician at the festival, and received a certificate and award from the then vice president, Mr. Mehrdad Bazarpash.

Tell us about your master classes.

I have held many master classes in crowded halls of the country such as Ahvaz, Shiraz, Sari, Rasht, Mashhad, Zanjan, Shahrekord, and Tabriz.

What concerts have you organized outside of Iran and in the country?

Before Corona, my last concert was in Zanjan. Abroad, at the invitation of Dr. Hoch’s Conservatory, I went to Germany in 2015 and gave a concert with the world’s top musicians, such as Jorge Palomo, who is one of the world’s greatest percussionists and Cajón players. In the commemoration of the famous flamenco guitar player of the world, who was the first flamenco player in the world, Paco de Lucía, who passed away and was held at Ivan Shams, I was among the musicians who performed and the Spanish ambassador invited us to his house. In the house of various ambassadors such as the ambassador of Lebanon and in the presence of all the ambassadors who are in Iran, I performed on those nights and various programs throughout the winter center to celebrate flamenco music and embed flamenco music culture in Iran in Ivan Shams hall and other halls. I have implemented

Of course, I had many other performances that were not my exclusive concert. At Andisheh Hall in 2017, I performed the Aranjuez concerto with the complete Philharmonic Orchestra, and at Vahdat Hall in 2018, I performed the same Aranjuez concerto with the Rhetoric Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Reza Marivand.

Have you released a music album of your special and beautiful art?

Yes, I have 2 music albums, the first of which I released in 2018 called “Back to Home” which contained 8 pieces of music, and in 2019, I released my second album called “Del Aram” which had 7 pieces. My third album is under construction, which will be finished this year, and I am recording it, the parts of which are in the style of flamenco music

Mr. Noor has also refereed guitar competitions. Tell us more about this.

I have been judging guitar competitions for many years by the decree of the Ministry of Guidance and on behalf of this ministry in the classical guitar and flamenco guitar section. Flamenco guitar competitions in the country were held online this year due to the spread of Corona.

Why did you choose the guitar among all these instruments?

Since I was a child, when I was very young, when we passed in front of the instrument stores, I just liked the appearance of the guitar; from the arch and curve of the guitar and its structure, regardless of whether I have heard its sound. Later, the vibration of the guitar strings and the sound produced from it fascinated me and I loved this instrument very much and I always held the guitar in my arms and it was a pleasure for me to be able to touch it and make a sound from it. This is how I became interested in this instrument and the style of flamenco guitar attracted my attention because of the excitement and wonder that is in this style and I liked many flamenco instruments and I gradually moved towards flamenco and I continued the style professionally.

In the field of Iranian music, I was able to arrange works by singers both inside and outside the country on the guitar for the first time, because before I did this, they played with two guitars, that is, one guitar played chords and one played the melody. But I was able to do all these tunes with a solo set on the guitar, that is, with a single guitar, I can present a piece of complete and polyphonic music, and it is unique to me, and I was totally interested in the guitar, and I love this instrument more than all instruments.

What is your style of playing?

From the very beginning, my specialized style was flamenco guitar, that is, the specialized style of Spanish music, which is instrumental music. Just as Iranian music has different instruments such as Shur, Mahor, etc., the flamenco guitar also includes various instruments; these instruments are based on their pitch in the music and their type of rhythm, which in flamenco music is called “compass”. Their parts and harmonies are different from each other and make up different devices such as Bulerias, Alegrias, Segrias, Tarantas, and different parts that are not mentioned here at the moment. In general, my specialized style and my concerts are in the flamenco style, and my playing style and the pieces I make and arrange are in the same flamenco guitar style.

Who are your favorite guitarists?

Of course, anyone who has played the flamenco guitar will be fascinated by the playing and artistic character of the world’s best musician, Paco de Lucía, who unfortunately died in 1994, and we participated in his commemoration ceremony. Paco de Lucía is one of my favorite musicians and I performed many of his songs. Vicente Amigo, Rafael Cortes, Moraito, and Juan Manuel Cañizares are also among my favorite flamenco guitar players I try to listen to a lot of their different works.

Listening and covering the works of these people in a way that I can play them myself helped me a lot to understand more about flamenco, and after many years of being able to play these people’s pieces in the right way, I started to play flamenco harmony. I found. Of course, I went to a class and a master class with Rafael Cortes in Germany, which allowed me to get to know the flamenco guitar harmony scientifically, and it made me able to create pieces myself in the last few years.

What do you think is the most important principle in playing the guitar?

In my opinion, the most important principle in playing the guitar is to observe the rhythm and the same “compass” in the term of the flamenco artists and to identify the different compasses of the flamenco guitar because, for example, we have a kind of rhythm in an instrument like the Bulerias. In the “Solea” device, we have different rhythms, as well as different devices. Compliance with rhythm is one of the important principles for playing. The second is the correct implementation of techniques that must be implemented carefully and intelligently to get good results. Many people play the guitar, but it does not have the charm and charm it should have, because the hand angles that we call “smart” in judging items or articulation or many other issues in the subject of technique are broken in these people. Because of this, they can’t produce a good sound from the guitar, because in the guitar, if we don’t perform the technique well and correctly, it won’t sound good, but it’s not like that in the piano. A piano can make a sound even if someone does not know how to press its keys because the sound is conditioned on this instrument, while you have to be very careful to create a good and correct sound on the guitar.

The third point is to play cleanly without sacrificing speed and acrobatic movements on the guitar. Many notes should be performed cleanly and all notes should be performed very well in terms of time interval and sound type. There is also an issue called “sonority”, which means the volume of the sound you make from the instrument and how it is in terms of tone, forte piano means dynamics in terms of calming and tightening, which technique, where you should hit it hard and where you should be calmer. Hit and I said the slang term is very important. In general, many items are important in playing the guitar, and I tried to mention the most important ones.

You also teach. Is messing with students in the music world like school students?

Yes, I have been teaching for many years and maybe 20 years of experience teaching guitar; Whether in the form of private training or different schools or the form of online or offline training, I have many students across the country, and before Corona, I even traveled throughout the country and held master classes with a population of 170 people, 100 people, 60 I used to organize people and… I still have guitar lessons in Tehran. This is also a kind of school, but the school of guitar playing is flamenco guitar. We should pay attention to the students and follow them and not just give them a lesson and leave the rest to them. I troubleshoot the lessons I teach through virtual space as well as my face-to-face classes. In a way, we are role models for musicians, and in fact, many loved ones are kind and consider us musicians as their role models in life. We should be able to be a person who has a positive impact on these people both morally and musically. Age does not matter. There is someone who is 60 years old and comes to class, and there is someone who is 10, or 15 years old and comes to class. A good teacher should not only have a business goal and should know the sublime spirit of art and what we learn the art for. I always tell my students that we learn instruments to become better people, not to increase our pride and think of ourselves as isolated.

Do you have any memories of your performances or in class while teaching students?

I have a lot of memories of my concert years because I had a lot of stage performances and guitar lessons. A memory that may be interesting to you is the commemoration that we did for Paco de Lucía in Spain, where the Spanish ambassador, the German ambassador, Bahram Radan, and many loved ones participated, and it was very interesting to me that I was performing the music of their country for them. The ambassador of Spain came behind me and appreciated my performance and said that “I will invite you to my house soon”, and this happened and we had a flamenco night and we performed there again.

Mr. Noor, what did you do during Corona?

During the Corona period, unfortunately, we artists suffered a lot from a spiritual point of view, because our musical activity is not only dependent on teaching and performing in literary centers, my private concerts, and collaboration in concerts in other styles are very important and effective for me personally. Musicians are alive for the love of the stage and scenic performance, and the days of Corona did not allow other musicians to hold concerts. When you come out of the hall at night after the performance and see many fans waiting to take a photo with you, you will be very happy. These were all the good energies that we have experienced in the many years we have been performing and we did not think that one day a disease would come and take all these beautiful loves from us. Only by following health and social protocols, I worked exclusively in the field of guitar teaching during this time and I have had a series of Instagram Lives, which turned into Instagram performances that did not have the mood of performing in a concert, but it was better than nothing. At this time, we are mentally disturbed and suffer a lot because we are not on stage. I hope that Corona will disappear as soon as possible and we will resume our activities as before.

What is your advice to people looking to learn guitar?

In terms of virtual space and the world as a whole, our society has become such that everyone tries to teach everything they have learned and earn money in this way, but many do not have expertise and experience in this work, and these people cannot be good teachers and bring their students to their destination. My advice is that students do a lot of research about their teacher, his/her resume, and the number of performances and artistic activities this person has. You go to a person who has no expertise and only knows how to play a few beautiful songs, which also seem beautiful to the common people. Maybe that person only plays this instrument for his family and does not know its principles. This amount of expertise is not enough to teach guitar and I know people who went to such people for lessons and then regretted that they wasted their time and money. A teacher must have a profile. My advice to people looking to learn music is to research and be patient to find a good teacher. Today, the number of followers on Instagram is not a sign of a teacher’s expertise and professionalism, because many people buy this number of followers. Don’t be fooled by these appearances in the virtual world.

Are you good with electric guitar and bass?!

I have a good midrange with the electric guitar and I like the bass guitar very much. I always plan to buy a bass guitar and learn and perform more in my works and concerts.

What is Pezhman Noor’s biggest criticism of himself?

I always postpone my work to achieve a better result. Of course, many times, in the end, I conclude that the amount of time I spent at the beginning was enough and the piece came out right. We should start our activities and do it from the moment we think about it and not leave it to tomorrow until, for example, a better instrument comes or a better studio is found and …. Of course, it is good from one point of view that the quality of the work is double-checked in all respects, but it does not have much impact on the audience.

Are you satisfied with the state of music in our country?

Yes, I am satisfied, but it can be much better, especially in the matter of guitar and the teaching and supervision of the people who teach. The support that should be given is not given to many artists who work in real art. Most people pay attention to lower-level music like pop. Of course, we have great and good pop music, and many pop singers are my dear friends, and I listen to their works and am a fan of them, but in terms of songs, music, and central melody, our situation can be much better than this. I hope that in the same matter of flamenco guitar, we can have an organization to invite music greats from Spain and other parts of the world and have continuous festivals and there will be supervision.

In the end, if you have anything to say, say so.

In the end, I would like to thank all the colleagues in this news agency, especially you, Mrs. Jahani, for preparing this interview. Many people who follow me on virtual pages like to know about my resume and what I have done or am doing. I hope this interview and my talks are useful for these dear ones and we can raise the level of flamenco guitar in our country.

About Jack Watts

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