Westernization of Persian Music: Pahlavi's Cultural Policy

  November 18, 2020   Read time 1 min
Westernization of Persian Music: Pahlavi's Cultural Policy
Pahlavi regime ruled Iran for almost 54 years and the key policy in every domain was westernization because the regime thought that a nation can turn to a developed one only through leaving its traditions and history and culture behind and embracing those of the developed nations. This was partly the reason of the modernization of music in Iran.

During the Pahlavi dynasty's rule (1925-1979), reforms towards the modernisation and westernisation of Persia received great momentum. By the mid-1930s, a conservatoire in Tehran with many European teachers was producing musicians and performers in the tradition of western art music. A symphony orchestra was formed and choral groups had been organised. Concerts of Persian traditional music, largely through the efforts of Ali Naqi Vaziri, were given. The post-World War II period brought intense westernisation to Persia. By the 1970s the musical life of Tehran in particular was comparable to that in many large European cities. A very active opera company, a fine symphony orchestra, a ballet company, chamber groups, music festivals and concerts by visiting international artists and groups provided a crowded musical life for the capital. The radio and television network made available to the public throughout the country every variety of music, native and international, light and serious, to suit all palates. In addition to the conservatoire and the School of National Music, the University of Tehran had a large Music Department which trained students in western musicology and composition, as well as offering courses on Persian traditional music.In addition to large numbers of highly placed performers (singers, pianists, violinists, conductors, etc.) and composers who were trained both within the country and through education abroad, a number of well-qualified musicologists have emerged. Ali Naqi Vaziri and Mehdi Barkesli will be discussed in chapter 2 of this book. Among other musicologists, the most prominent is Mohammad Taqi Mas'udiye who was educated in France and Germany and who has published books and articles on both Persian classical and folk music (Source: The Dastgah Concept in Persian Music).


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