The Institute of Persian Performing Arts

The Institute of Persian Performing Arts was organized in order to promote the preservation and presentation of the arts and cultures of Iran and the surrounding areas. The Institute brings together and focuses the endeavors of outstanding scholars and artists from all over the world. The Institute provides musical instruction for instrumentalists and vocalists, and maintains a library of written, audio, and visual materials which are made available to qualified scholars and students. Other activities of the Institute include the establishment of a collection of cultural materials — musical instruments, costumes, works of art, and so forth — and the sponsorship of scholarly research, artistic endeavors, cross-cultural exchanges, and the construction of musical instruments. This includes the presentation of concerts by distinguished musical artists, the distribution of rare sound recordings, and the publishing of materials collected in the field by scholars from several different academic and artistic areas.

Director:  Dr. Robyn Friend

Secretary / Treasurer:  Dr. Neil Siegel

Research Associates:  Dr. Margaret L. Caton, Dr. Ali Jihad Racy

The Institute was founded by Morteza Varzi, one of the great masters of Persian traditional music.

Publications include:

     “Hafez: Erfan and Music”, by Margaret L. Caton and Ostad Morteza Varzi

     “Cultural Parameters of Iranian Musical Expression, edited by Margaret L. Caton and Neil Siegel

The Institute of Persian Performing Arts is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation.

Other papers by Institute-affiliated scholar Margaret Caton:

Bahá’í influences on Mírzá ‘Abdu’lláh, Qájár Court Musician and Master of the Radíf“, a chapter in the book “Studies in Bábí and Bahá’í History, edited by Juan Cole and Moojan Momen, Kalimat Press, 1984.

Gender Relations: A Cross-Cultural Dilemma“, a chapter in the book “Equal Circles: Men and Women in the Bahá’í Community”, edited by Margaret Caton, Kalimat Press, 1987

The Classical Taṣnif, a Genre of Persian Vocal Music“, 1983

The Vocal Ornament Takīyah in Persian Music“, an article in “Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology”, editor-in-chief: Mantle Hood, volume II, number 1, 1974.

The Kereshme“. Class paper written for Johannes Wilbert’s Anthropology 139 Course, UCLA, Winter, 1989.  Raw notes from Dr. Caton’s interviews with Mortezâ Varzi, used for this paper.

The Process of Transformation within Iranian Traditional Music“.  With Morteza Varzi.  Annual Conference, Southern California Chapter, Society for Ethnomusicology, 12 May 1990.

The Musical Culture of Gilan“, unpublished class paper, 1974.

(click here to view photos taken by the author in Gilan)

Musical Life in Qajar Iran“, a paper presented at the 14th Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, 1980.

Classical and Political Symbolism in the Tasnifs of ‘Aref-e Qazvini“, not previously published.

Aspects of Sufism as they Relate to Persian Music“, not previously published.

Music and Tasnif During the Iranian Constitutional Revolution“, not previously published.

Interview with Morteza Varzi about the life and work of the singer Gholamhoseyn Banân“, 1986.  This article is the version submitted by Dr. Caton to the editors of the Encylopædia Iranica for their entry on the singer Banân. The article was subsequently revised and expanded by the editors for the final publication, which is here.  In addition, we present three audio tapes of the original interview Dr. Caton conducted with Mr. Varzi, which includes material not presented in the article.

In addition, we present 3 audio tapes of the original interviews that Dr. Caton did with Mr. Varzi:

Tape 1 (transcript):

Tape 2 (transcript):

Tape 3 (transcript):

The Music Theory of Al-Farabi“, previously unpublished, 1973.

Twentieth-Century Persian Music — from Solo Instrumental to Ensemble Performance“, International Folk Music Council, 1975

Three articles by Mohammad Taghi Massoudieh: (1) Mūsīkī-ye Balūčestān (2) Mūsīkī-ye Būšehr (3)  Mūsīkī-ye Torbat-e Jām“, translated by Margaret Caton.  Previously unpublished.

The Musical Traditional of the Tazié: Islam and Music“, previously unpublished, 1970.

The Kemānche Style of Ustād Fayḍullāh of the Province of Gīlān, Iran“, 1972

(click here to view photos taken by the author in Gilan)

A collection of audio recordings made in Iran by Dr. Caton of genre pieces typical of the Safavid and Qajar eras are here.

Sacred Refrains: Arabic and Persian Dhikrs in the Bahá’í Community, 2024 (the musical selections can be reached by clicking on the links in the above document, or by going to this link)

Papers by Institute-affiliated scholar Robyn Friend are here.

Papers by Institute-affiliated scholar Neil Siegel are here.

Snark Records
c/o Robyn Friend