- function: artistic director
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- WOMEX 2015
- WOMEX 2012
Kiya Tabassian was born in 1976, in Tehran, Iran, immigrating to Montreal in 1990. He has been trained in Persian music under Reza Ghasemi and Kayhan Kalhor. He studied musical composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay.
In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople a Montreal based ensemble which has earned an international reputation for its unique juxtaposition of early musical sources and the living traditions of the Middle East. He has recorded 11 CDs for the Atma and Analekta labels and has created with Constantinople over 35 original programs performing them at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues such as Salle Pleyel (Paris), Festival d'Aix-en-Provence (France), Festival de Musiques Sacrées de Fès (Morocco), Festival d'Ile de France (Paris), Festival Stimmen (Germany), Festival de Mexico en el Centro historico (Mexico), Schwetzinger SWR Festival (Germany) and Vancouver Summer Festival (Canada). Over the past decade, he has staged near 600 concerts in 110 cities in 26 different countries.
From 2002 to 2005, he was involved in the international MediMuses research project on the history and repertoire of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern music lands in several publishing and recording projects. As part of MediMuses, he published several articles on the music of Iran during the Safavid court and recorded a CD compiling the work of Abolhassan Saba together with Hossein Omoumi. Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Radio Broadcating Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
From 2005 to 2011, he has been a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Chairman of the Music Committee during three years. His artistic researchs and creations receive the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.