Kiya Tabassian was born in 1976, in Tehran (Iran) and immigrated to Montreal in 1990. He has been trained in Persian music under Reza Ghasemi and Kayhan Kalhor. He studied musical composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay and Michel Gonneville.
In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople, a Montreal based ensemble which has earned an international reputation for its unique juxtaposition of early musical sources and the living traditions of the Middle East. He has recorded 16 CDs for several labels such as ATMA, Analekta, Buda Musique, World Village and MaCase and has created over 40 original programs with Constantinople, performing them at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues in the world. Over the past decade, he has staged over 800 concerts in 125 cities in 25 different countries.
From 2002 to 2005, Kiya Tabassian was involved in the international MediMuses research project on the history and repertoire of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern music lands in several publishing and recording projects. As part of MediMuses, he published several articles on the music of Iran during the Safavid court and recorded a CD compiling the work of Abolhassan Saba together with Hossein Omoumi. Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talent as a composer, including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Radio Broadcating Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
From 2005 to 2011, he has been a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Chairman of the Music Committee during three years. His artistic projects and creations received the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal.
This page was last updated in February 2022.