page contents

Biography

Pezhham Akhavass is a musician, percussionist/ multi-instrumentalist/ music director, master of tombak (a type of goblet drum from Persia) and daf (the frame drum).


Pezhham was born in 1980 in Iran. He earned a bachelor's degree in Music from Su‌reh University of Tehran in 2005, second bachelor's degree in World Music from San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 2016, and the Master's degree at SFSU in Music History in 2019.

With the support of his renowned artist father Mostafa, Pezhham began studying the tombak at the age of five with the guidance of Ostad Naser Farhanghfar. From 1989-1991, he continued studying tombak with Mr. Saeid Roudbary. Pezhham developed a very unique ability to grasp the technicalities of the tombak and bring a new approach to rhythm. His unique approach has resulted in Pezhham being termed one of the most distinguished musicians of his generation.

In addition to tombak and daf, he is knowledgeable about setar, tanbour and oud, and has studied other percussion instruments including: Indian tabla with the guidance of Ostad Zakir Hussain since 2011.

From 2001-2007 Pezhham performed professionally with the renowned vocalist, Shahram Nazeri where he traveled the world performing in some of the world most prestigious festivals, events and concert halls. He has performed in Iran, Europe, United States, Australia, and in many notable music festivals including: Festival del Popolo in Italy, Théâtre de la Ville and Théâtre du Soleil in Paris, Fes Festival in Morocco, Sodran Theatre in Sweden, and also performed in Austria, and Finland.

In 2008, he was invited as a guest artist to perform with YoYo Ma as part of  Rumi , Mulana 's birthday celebration with Silk Road project at the Hollywood Bowl.

In 2009, he performed in Konya Turkey as part of the Mystic Music Festival.

In 2010, he was the featured percussionist of the masters of Persian music tour, directed by Ostad Hossein Alizadeh, where he performed in a 10 city United States including; Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, Skirball Center in New York City, Sanders Theatre in Boston, Hanna Theatre in Cleveland; Symphony Center in Chicago, Ferst Center for the Arts in Atlanta, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the Symphony Center in Chicago.

In 2014 to 2016 became a global music director of San Francisco World Music Festival for Iran.

In 2015 and 2016 toured with Ostad Hossein Alizadeh in the USA.

In 2016 and 2017 Performed at the 12th and 13th Pan Asian Music Festival as a solo artist from Iran. 

During 2018-19 Pezhham worked on the master's degree in music history, at SFSU.


During the pandemic Covid 19 in November 2020 Pezhham invited to join and record with Ustad Zakir Hussain (Indian Classical tabla master), and Abbos Kosimov (doyreh player from Uzbekistan) at the Bing Concert Hall as part of the Stanford Live Stream Project. 

In April 2021, performed with masters of percussion tour in USA, leads by Ustad Zakir Hussain, Indian tabla, and included; Pezhham Akhavass, tombak and Iranian percussion, Marcus Gilmore, drums, Abbos Kosimov, doyrah and Uzbek percussion, and Anantha Krishna on mirdangam. 

In August 2021, performed a solo concert and a workshop at the World Percussion Festival in Seattle.

Pezhham has toured, performed and recorded with some of the masters in Persian music including Shahram Nazeri, Hossein Alizadeh, Aliakbar Moradi, Saeid Farajpouri, Hosein Omoumi and Masoud Shoari.
 
Today, Pezhham resides in San Francisco California where he teaches private lessons in tombak, daf and setar. He is working on different productions and projects, gives lectures and demonstrations in Persian music and performances.