Sahba Motallebi Sahba Motallebi is an Iranian songwriter, Tar, Setar and Shoorangiz virtuoso and an internationally acclaimed musician. She has studied music and composition at distinguished institutions such as the National Conservatory (Iran), Saint Petersburg Korsakov Conservatory (Russia), RGS University (Turkey), and California Institute of Arts (USA). Sahba has been recognized as the best Tar player at the Iranian Music Festival (FAJR) for four consecutive years. Her performances as a soloist and in collaboration with renowned vocalists such as Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Alireza Ghorbani, Sina Sarlak, Mamak Khadem and esteemed composers such as Hossein Alizadeh, Arshad Tahmasebi, Keyhan Kalhour, and Yo-Yo Ma have touched audiences around the globe. Author of two educational etudes for Tar and Setar, Sahba has served as music instructor at the Pasadena State College (CA), Lawrence University (WI), and Berkley College of Music (MA).

Genre of Music

Iran-born and Southern Californian based Tar and Setar virtuoso Sahba Motallebi has an incredible relationship with major Western and Central Asian artists. Performing with artists from all over the Persian Diaspora, she exhibits her profound grasp of classical and contemporary Iranian music by masterfully weaving classical Persian styling, folk and world fusion. To date, Sahba has been an ambassador of Persian music in the United States and abroad and has captivated audiences in prestigious venues such as the Hollywood Bowl (2006), and the Grand Performance (2015). Integrated amongst the aforementioned accomplishments are numerous recorded works encompassing: Presentation of Young Artists (2003), Dashti-Nava (2005), Solace of the eyes, (2006), ever lasting songs of Iran Vol. I & II (2001) , Ancient Heritage anew (2011), Dream and Illusion (2012), and A Tear at the Crossroad of Time (2014). Sahba Motallebi

Awards & Accolade:

- Recognized as best Tar player among all ages at the the Iranian Music Festival (FAJR) four consecutive years (1993-1997).


Sahba Motallebi began learning how to play Setar and Tar as a teenager with a venerable player, Fariborz Azizi in Sari, a small city in north of Iran. Her enthusiasm and unrelenting discipline quickly placed her at the top of her class.
Upon the discretion of Master Hossein Alizadeh (after playing for him) she was encouraged to come to the capital city and continue her study in music at Tehran Conservatory of Music in 1993.
At the age of 16, after two years of practicing and studying under the instructions of Fariborz Azizi and Hossein Alizadeh, she started the instruction of her private students. Later on, she graduated from Tehran Conservatory of Music where she mastered playing Tar and Setar in 1997. She continued her classical western music theory and harmony by venerable Dr. Mehran Rouhani respectively. She started teaching students on Tar and Setar at the age of 16.
In 2003 she decided to continue her formal music studied in composition at Saint Petersburg Conservatory, Russia. She also attended RGS University, Turkey for a comparative study of Persian and Turkish music. For four successive years, Sahba was awarded as the best Tar player in the Iranian Music Festival during the period1995 to 1998. After graduation, Sahba and her school’s friends designed their own Persian Ensemble “Chakaveh”and had several concerts in Tehran at Vahdat and Roudaki Halls (two major concert halls in Tehran). “Chakaveh is the only women group which is able to play and compose like this.” Hossein Alizadeh said. She joined two other Persian groups Tolou and Hezarava later on. They traveled and presented Persian Music in Iran and around the world like China, Europe, and the USA.
In 1999, she was invited to the Iranian National Orchestra supervised by Farhad Fakhreddini and since then she has been traveling around the world to present the Persian Music. With the guidance of “The king of Tar” Hossein Alizadeh who had great influence on her, Sahba found her own style and composed many pieces. She has released several CDs (Narbon, Presentation of young Artists, Dashti- Nava, Solace of the Eyes, everlasting songs of Iran VOL 1 and 2, A tear at the crossroads of time, dream and illusion and etc) she had also composed numerous theatrical pieces currently.
Recently she has performed as a guest solo Tar player at the Royce Hall, UCLA where Hossein Alizadeh and Hmavayan Ensemble has performed. After her playing, Alizadeh called her “The young Master” in his interview with the radio station: Voice of America. Her greatest honor has been performing and recording with Hossein Alizadeh and Hamavayan Ensemble. Also she is very proud of the distinguished students she has trained who have won the first place awards in music festivals and competitions across Iran and became solo Tar and Setar player and composer.
Sahba started teaching her Tar and Setar’s students online al the world wide at 2010, she also uploaded all Tar and Setar books on youtube for free and she is adding subtitle for non- Iranian students on them.
A few of her most important performances and venues are:
  1. Royce Hall, UCLA, 2006 ( solo and with Hamnavayan Ensemble, leader Hosein Alizadeh)
  2. Hollywood bowl, LA, 2008 ( with Keyhan kalhor and Yo Yo ma )
  3. Getty museum, 2010 (Persian New year festival)
  4. Soka university of america, 2005 to 2014 every year (world music festival and jazz)
  5. World festival of sacred music, LA, 2006
  6. Grand performances, california, LA 2015
  7. Los angeles of county museum of art, 2009
  8. Jurassic technology museum, ,2010,2012,2013
  9. San Francisco world music festival, , 2014,2015
  10. UCSB, california 2009, 2010
  11. Berklee college of music, Boston, world music, 2015
  12. Lawrence university, Wisconsin, 2015
  13. Los Angeles central library, Mark taper auditorium, 2015
  14. Mississippi state university, 2015
  15. Seattle world music festival, 2015
  16. Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC) 2013
  17. Asia Society Texas Center, 2013
  18. Pasadena city college 2009,2010
  19. California institute of the arts 2006-2010, and a lot more
Sahba Motallebi

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laweekly Revered among aficionados of Persian classical and folk music, Sahba Motallebi is a virtuoso performer on the long-necked stringed instruments known as tar and setar. She’ll be joined in an eclectic evening of Iranian traditional sounds and global-fusion collaborations by a sterling cast of Iranian performers, including Axiom of Choice singer Mamak Khadem; ...
kcrw At a time when the world’s attention is focused on the tragic plight of Syrian refugees, and governments across Europe race to create contingency plans for dealing with the growing migrant crisis, there is really no more crucial moment for building bridges than now. Thanks to a generous grant received by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art,...
cbslosangeles STUDIO CITY ( — Sahba Motallebi, one of Iran’s most distinguished tar and setar players, performed live on KCAL9 Saturday morning...
grandperformances This internationally renowned Iranian tar and setar virtuoso and guests masterfully weave classical Persian stylings, folk, and world fusion into an unforgettable evening.


1- Tar Improvisation in AVAZ DASHTI - SAHBA MOTALLEBI - Portland 2009 2- Sahba in Romi's night 2015 3- Sahba Motalleb Dastgaah-e-Nava-Los Angeles convention center

The other photo

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Sahba Motallebi Sahba Motallebi Sahba Motallebi