Pegah Varamini formed Hezar Ava, the Persian Classical Music Ensemble in January 2010 to introduce authentic traditional music of Iran and to build a bridge between East and West. Through infusing Persian classical music and beautiful poetry reflecting eternal love, spirituality and mysticism, Hezar Ava’s performances take the listener on a journey to the celestial world. This ensemble has consistently impressed the audience in Brisbane on different occasions since being established.
Being inspired by the western classical music, Pegah Varamini, the ensemble leader, arranges mainly orchestral compositions written by renowned Persian composers. While remaining faithful to the Persian musical traditions, she brings a fresh approach to the old and some long-forgotten Persian traditional repertoires and folk songs. Hezar Ava Ensemble also performs original classical compositions written and arranged by Pegah.
Currently, professional Persian and non-Persian musicians are contributing their art and passion to Hezar Ava playing a variety of instruments including santour, daf, tonbak, tar and oud (Persian instruments), piano, violin and double bass and auxiliary percussions.
Ensemble Leader, Piano, Vocals, and Composer
Pegah began to study piano at age 9 under the auspices of maestro Ali Jafarian. In parallel, she received professional training in singing Persian traditional and folk songs.
In 1998, Pegah joined the “Shiraz University of Medical Sciences Chamber Orchestra” and the “Fars Ladies Chamber Orchestra,” conducted by maestro Ali Jafarian. Under the guidance of the renowned composers, maestros Homayoun Khoram and Anoushiravan Rohani, Pegah achieved a high level of technical skills in music. Up until 2009 she performed in a variety of concerts as a soloist or with orchestra in Shiraz and Tehran.
After arriving in Australia, in 2009, Pegah proceeded to seek out musicians with whom to share this beautiful art. Eventually she formed Hezar Ava ensernble, in January 2010, with the goal of introducing classical and traditional music of her country.
Pegah has also sung in different choirs, such as those of the Queensland Music Society (QUMS) and QPAC. She has also, in 2012, received training in professional music conducting under the supervision of Dr. Debra Shearer-Dirié.
To expand her knowledge of music and develop performing skills, Pegah has also undertaken the study of Western art music.
Vocals, Tonbak and Daf
Omid Rahimi is a professional singer with vocal expertise in Iranian folk and traditional music. Omid primarily has been trained on twelve modes of Persian traditional music, known as ‘Dastgah’, by Morteza Sharif. He specialized in two schools of singing: Tehran and Esfahan. Then he received advanced levels of the school of Esfahan from maestro Jalal Taj Esfahani. During his education in the city of Esfahan, Omid also attended percussion-training courses taught by Majid Hesabi. It has been for twenty years that Omid has been singing and playing major Iranian percussion instruments, Daf & Tombak. Omid has performed in numerous occasions and has been awarded certificates of appreciation by distinguished organizations such as The Mental Health Council of Australia and Radio 4EB. He released his first CD,“Khorram Yaad” album in 2013, that consists of reciting six of Maestro Homayoun Khorram’s works with creative variations in singing based on personal investment. Omid joined Hezar Ava ensemble in 2010.
Saman started attending Santour classes held by Tahmineh Haghgoo in 1991 at the age of 9. He practiced playing Santour with the method created by Maestro Faramarz Payvar for 10 years and finished the advanced courses including Radif-e Chap-kouk for Santour. He was inspired by the modern-styled Santour-playing skills while attending Maestro Ardavan Kamkar’s classes. He also started learning Taar (as his second musical instrument) at the age of 20 at Mehrdad Delnavazi’s classes. The magical sound of Taar has made this powerful Iranian traditional instrument his first passion. He, later attended classes of Maestro Darioush Pirniakan and was inspired a lot by the works of Maestro Rouhbakhsh. Saman had been teaching Santour for almost 10 years before he moved to Australia. He has been rehearsing with Hezar Ava Ensemble since September 2013 for performances and concerts.
John Varney studied under the Italian maestro Franco Petracchi and has played in nearly all the major orchestras in Australia. He is currently active as a soloist, teacher and member of various chamber orchestras and ensembles. He also holds a PhD in ethnomusicology. He joined Hezar Ava in 2012 as a double bass player.
Mohsen started learning tombak from Dariush Eshaghi in Mashhad in 2005. His enthusiasm for Iranian traditional music motivated him to get in touch with other Iranian music players in Malaysia where he started his postgraduate education in 2007. He has performed with Persian and non-persian musicians in different international events such as International Music Carnival in Malaysia in 2008 and Annual Human Security Forum in Switzerland. He joined Hezar Ava in 2012.
Ingrid Marcela started her musical studies at the Conservatory of Music from the National University in her natal Bogotá at the age of 7. Her first violin tutor was Marcelino Prats and she continued and finished her violin studies with the Concert Master Krassimira Vasseva. She has played with the Conservatory Orchestra, camera Orchestras and different musical groups. Ingrid has also been trained in Classical Vocal performance. She was a foundation member of the Vocal group Piccola Cappella as well as its camera vocal group. In Australia Ingrid is an active member of the Corda Spiritus Orchestra under the direction of Stephen Wu and she currently plays with different traditional Colombian groups. Ingrid enjoys the knowledge and performance of music from different cultures so she became an active member of Hezar Ava in 2012.
Small Percussion Instruments (Cymbal, Triangle, and Tambourine)
Mojdeh started learning setar seven years ago. She was also involved in Brisbane Baha’i Choir for almost one year. She has become a member of Hezar Ava in Oct 2012.