Qolamhossein Banan


Qolamhossein Banan was born to a musical family in 1911. His father, Karim Bananeddoleh, was a fine calligrapher, his mother played the piano, and his sisters studied the tar with Morteza Neydavoud. Neydavoud heard the young Qolamhossein sing and encouraged him to seek musical training. Banan studied the radif with Mirza Taher Ziyaozakerin Rassai and the art of singing with Nasser Seyf.


Another great singer of the same generation, Abdolali Vaziri, introduced Banan to Rouhollah Khaleghi in 1942. This meeting was the start of a life-long collaboration between the two masters of Persian music.


Khaleghi invited Banan to sing with the Novin Orchestra at the newly established Radio Iran, The National Music Society Orchestra, and eventually with all the orchestras that Khaleghi later conducted.

Khaleghi composed most of his works for Banan, and Banan performed Khaleghi’s works with a level of skill, musicianship, and perfection that was unheard of at that time and has not been equaled since.


Khaleghi encouraged Banan to take employment with the Ministry of Arts and Culture, and also invited him to teach voice at the School of National  Music.


In addition to Khaleghi, Banan was the singer of choice for composers such as Alinaqi Vaziri, Javad Maroufi, Morteza Mahjoubi, Ali Tajvidi, and Moussa Maroufi. He also performed the works of Aref Qazvini.


Banan was blessed with the gift of a warm baritone voice, perfect intonation, a singing technique that was never harsh, and an uncanny sensitivity to designing his tahrirs (ornamentations) so that they were never overdone or redundant. He was a master of the Persian radif. He knew the structure of every dastgah and its gushes (pieces), and was capable of performing the most complex modulations. He had a deep understanding and knowledge of Persian poetry and a keen sense of rhythm. His vocal improvisations were perfectly allied with the lyrics and intensified the meaning of the words.


Banan died in 1985 in Tehran.