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Jalal Zolfonun

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Abadeh, Fars, Iran (1937 – 2012)

Jalal Zolfonun (1937 – 2012 / Abadeh, Fars, Iran) (sometimes spelled or pronounced “Zoufonoun”) is a master of the , as well a composer and teacher of Persian music.

Jalal Zolfonun received his earliest musical training from his father, Habib Zoufonoun, and his older brother, Mahmoud Zoufonoun on the tar.

At the age of 13, Zolfonun enrolled the National School for Iranian Music to study musical theory, composition and technique under Rouhollah Khaleghi and Musa Marufi. While he immediately fell in love with setar, the instrument was not taken seriously in those times. He instead decided to study the tar, while also learning the violin from his brother Mahmoud Zoufonoun.

In 1967, Jalal Zolfonun was accepted into the faculty of the Fine Arts department of Tehran University, where he would further study the setar with Master Nour Ali Boroumand and Dariush Safvat.

From then on, he dedicated himself to the delicate instrument. He began combining the techniques of the older masters of setar with his own ingenuity and mystic sensitivity. And for the first time, Jalal Zolfonun introduced an ensemble of only setar players, creating the best selling album of traditional Persian music, Golehsadbarg (which means, “100 petal flower”).

At the same time, Jalal also composed for the setar in mind and would prove one of the most expressive, while technically virtuosic players of the instrument. Perhaps most notable of Jalal Zolfonun’s contributions to this music is that he showed for the first time the power and versatility of the setar as an ensemble and solo instrument that could fully express the nuances of Traditional Persian music in any setting.

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