Rahim AlHaj & Sahba Motallebi

oud, tar and setar virtuosity

Rahim AlHaj & Sahba Motallebi

Thursday, June 27th

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$30 ADV / $34 DOOR (plus fees)

  • All tickets are subject to an additional $4 per ticket facility fee.

Rahim AlHaj
Rahim AlHaj
“One of the top oud players in the world”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Unique combination of traditional and innovative performance techniques. Alhaj’s spontaneous inventions are constantly fascinating.”
Los Angeles Times


NEA 2015 National Heritage Fellowship Award Recipient


Rahim AlHaj, virtuoso oud musician and composer, was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (the grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. Early on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for playing the oud. Mr. Alhaj studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. AlHaj won various awards at the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad.

In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Mr. AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since. In 2015 Rahim was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor for traditional arts in the USA.
Sahba Motallebi
Sahba Motallebi
Sahba Motallebi is recognized internationally as a modern virtuoso of the tar and setar, lute-like stringed instruments central to one of the world’s great musical traditions. She began studying music as a young girl in Sari, Northern Iran.

In 1993, at age 14, her talent garnered an invitation to study at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. She flourished, was recognized as Best Tar Player at the Iranian Music Festival four years running (1995-1998). After graduating from Conservatory in 1997, she co-founded the groundbreaking women’s music ensemble Chakaveh. In 1999 she joined the Iranian National Orchestra, beginning her career as an international performer. She left Iran in 2003 to pursue graduate studies, closed to her there due to her Bahai’i faith.

For the past decade, Sahba has lived near Los Angeles, continues to perform worldwide, and has released a series of noted books and ten recordings. Sahba is recognized as an innovator in the teaching of Persian music; her pioneering efforts putting instructional materials on the internet and teaching students online have inspired something of a renaissance in the transmission of this ancient art form, reflecting her commitment to bringing music to the world.