Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

Mohammad Reza Mortazavi

 Berlin, Berlin, DEU

Mortazavi is not only using the traditional Tombak and Daf as rhythmic instruments. But he creates pieces of a melancholic concentration supported by harmonies and multivoiced sound structures, which add an associative structure full of images and narrative dialogues to his compositions.


Mohammad Reza Mortazavi was born in Isfahan, Iran in 1979. His parents offered him the chance to take tombak drum lessons at the age of 6. He was quick to feel the power of music deep inside, and soon surpassed his teacher. The goblet-shaped tombak became the main driving force in his life, and children of his age couldn’t distract him any longer. He was captured by the music.

During the following years, he regularly won first prizes at the annual tombak music competition in Iran where only the country’s best players were given the chance to take part. Already at the age of 20, he was said to be among the world’s best. As he continued to further build on the traditional approach through expressive innovations, his finger techniques and tonal variations gave the tombak a new voice. He performed his compositions in front of enthusiastic audiences in Teheran where his shows were regularly sold out.

When he was 22, he traveled to Germany for the first time, to perform to a much delighted audience in Munich. He released several albums and was invited to give a series of concerts in Europe, where his music received storms of applause. In 2003, he was chosen from among 600 competitors and received the World Music Young Talent Award at the international Ruth Festival in Rudolstadt. Mohammad Reza Mortazavi's virtuosity has led him to the Berliner Philharmonie where he gave a solo concert. To be honored to play in such prestigious halls is one of the many achievements in his career. Currently he resides in Berlin.

Mohammad Reza Mortazavi released several Solo-CDs since 2002. In 2010 he started to work with The actual album "Green Hands" will be released with on May 28th 2010.

Green Hands

The album GREEN HANDS presents new compositions of Mohammad Reza Mortazavi, offering an insightful view into the artistic work of this very special musician. Mortazavi performs tombak and daf, both traditional Iranian hand drums, and creates an impression as if listenening to an entire orchestra, with a style that reaches far beyond the realm of traditional music.

Daf is a frame drum generally played by Sufis in devotional ceremonies. The metal rings inside the frame bring forth the characteristically crisp sound of this instrument. Tombak is a drum in the form of a goblet, used principally in Persian music, with unique melodic tones. Under the spell of these two instruments, Mortazavi started to develop new finger techniques, rhythmic variations and tonal effects at an early age. Since then, he has introduced more than 30 techniques which he applies to an endless variety of melodies, opening up a new era in the performance possibilities of hand drums.

GREEN HANDS, started in June 2009, also reflects the artist’s view on recent political events in Iran. Mortazavi dedicates this album to the „Green Period“ in his home country, green symbolizing nature, growth and a new beginning. He was born in 1979, the year when the Iranian Revolution began, and this revolutionary spirit can clearly be felt in his work. Mortazavi's technical virtuosity is fueled by his desire to play these two drums with honesty and curiosity, always finding fresh approaches and ideas to take him further than ever before. This album is a revelation of his attempt to find release in personal and musical freedom.

Video Links:


Pulse (Tombak Solo) 2001
Wind & Fire (Tombak Solo) 2003
Saena 2008
Green Hands (Tombak & Daf)2010
Live At The Berlin Philharmonie - Live DVD - Nov 2010