Houman Pourmehdi


Houman Pourmehdi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1965. He is a master percussionist and a composer. He was privileged to study Tonbak under supervision of such legendary figures as Grand Master Amir Nasser Eftetah, and Master Morteza Ayan. Houman studied the heart-to-heart traditional techniques of playing Daf under guidance of the Grand Masters, Haj Agha Sadeghi, Mirza AghaGhosi and Darvish Karim. His knowledge of traditional repertoire and intimacy with Sufis make for a very personal style of interpretation in his compositions. He has composed a numbers of accomplished works, and he is one of the founder members of the Liän Ensemble.

His deep understanding of the Persian musical heritage and his belief in exploring new territories make him a unique musician. In his solo performances he brings passion together with tradition and innovation, creating a fresh and exciting improvisational performance.

Pourmehdi has played a pivotal part in advancing the Tonbak's role in ensemble work with his distinct style in playing tonbak. He has won acclaim throughout the world both as a solo artist and as an accompanist for some of the world’s most prestigious and renowned artists.

Pourmehdi currently lives in Los Angeles, California where he teaches Tonbak and Daf.

Tonbak,Daf, and Ney Classes

Individual and group classes for adults:

Elementary classes
This class is the study of the basic principles of techniques, including tone production, fingerings, and hand position of the instruments.

Intermediate classes
This class is designed as an intermediate level class to continue development of the skill needed to play tonbak, daf, and ney instruments and to improve reading skills.

Advanced classes
A class in which advanced students may exploring the ranges and relationship of how traditional music and world music is realized through an improvisational language utilized by musicians to create new work in the present time. With structured and unstructured improvisational compositions to help the student develop his/her own creative music.

Group classes for children (5 to 10 years old)
A specialized class for kids to acquire some experience with percussion instruments. When possible, music written in the workshop may be sang and played by the members of the class.

roup classes for children(10 to 15 years old)
Specialized studies in extended techniques, improvisation, and interpretation of basic principles of percussion. Students are expected to perform a minimum of one experiment each month. This will be an opportunity for suggestions and feedback from the instructor.

Classes are available in:
Los Angeles & Irvine(310)234-1214
San Francisco and Berkeley (510)644-1780


The Art of Improvisation in Chahargh
with master Mohammad Reza Lotfi, tar (1991)

Wine of sincerity
with Davoud Azad, tar, setar, and Fariborz Kiani, dayereh, tonbak
Sufi music of Iran. Live concert in London(1996)

with Amir Koushkani, tar (1998)

The name of the beloved Liän Ensemble, Original Persian and Flamenco Mystical Music
Sufi poetry by Dr. Nurbakhsh(1999)

Banquet in the tavern of ruin Liän Ensemble, An innovative approach to Persian traditional music
Original compositions in CHAHARGAH with poetry of Rumi, Nima and Akhavane-Salees (1999)

with master John Bergamo, drumset
Percussive masters perform creative and powerful improvisations with complex rhythmic patterns
Double CD set.(2000)

Dar shekarestan Liän Ensemble Live in Concert(2000)
Live recording of the works of grand masters of Persian music based on the poems of Rumi, Bahar, Jammi, and Rahi-Moayeri
Persian traditional music in its original form.

Calarts CD
with Pirayeh Pourafar, tar and satar (2001)

Maiden's Prayer
with Lisa Lynne, celtic harp.(2001)

The Call of Love
with Maestro Rajeev Taranath, sarod. (2001)

Contact information

email: tonbak1@yahoo.com