HOUMAN POURMEHDI is a master percussionist, well known for his diverse abilities as a musician, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. Performing and recording in numerous ensembles and at a variety of venues. He was introduced to Persian music by his father, and received his first Tonbak at the age of three from his grandfather. He was privileged to study Tonbak under guidance of the late Grand Master Amir Nasser Eftetah. At sixteen he continued his studies at the Center for Preservation and Propagation of National Music, where he completed the techniques of playing Tonbak under supervision of Master Morteza Ayan. His interest in the spiritual path of Sufis introduced him to the Ghaderi Sufi order's virtuoso Daf players, such as Haj Agha Sadeghi, Mirza Agha Ghosi, and Darvish Karim, with whom he studied the heart-to-heart traditional techniques of playing Daf. Pourmehdi moved to Chicago in 1988, where he founded the society for the Advancement and Preservation of Traditional Persian Music and he study Persian Music Under supervision of Dr. Mehdi Forough, it was here that he first fathomed the exciting possibilities of introducing the unique sounds of Persian instruments to American audiences. He also preserved the ancient Persian Percussive instrument called Kurekeh. The Society also facilitated his meeting the eminent Mohammad Ali Kianey-Nejad, who taught him the Ney (Persian Reed Pipe). Pourmehdi designed the tuneable Dayereh which is part of the Cooperman's Artist Innovation Series of instruments. Houman is both a recording artist and concert musician. He has appeared at many radio and TV interviews with live performance. He has performed widely throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and North Africa . Pourmehdi composed music for a short educational film in 1999. His knowledge of traditional repertoire and intimacy with Sufi world are made to serve a very personal style of interpretation in his compositions. He is the recipient of the Individual Artist Fellowship Award C.O.L.A. 2008, L.A. Treasures Awards 2004 & 2008, ACTA the Folk & Traditional Arts Mentorship Initiative 2004 & 2006, and ACTA Apprenticeship Program 2003. Houman has composed music for two plays "Philoktetes" Directed by Michael Hackett and Olivier Award-winning British actor, Henry Goodman; as well as, "Medea" starring Annette Bening directed by Lenka Udovicki. In 1996 Houman has co-founded The Lian Ensemble. He currently lives in Los Angeles , and teaches Persian Percussion at the CalArts (California Institute of the Arts).


"Most startling, an extraordinary collection of rhythms and timbres"Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times


"Well on his way to legendary"John Payne, LA Weekly


"Extraordinary Percussionist"John Schneider, KPFK


"Percussion Genius"Chris Sampson, KPFT


"Pourmehdi is a master drummer whose mastery of the Persian percussion instruments and knowledge of traditional Persian music is to be admired"John Beck, Percussive Arts Society


"The Mind-blowing Daf player"Lisa Richardson, Los Angeles County Arts Commission


"graceful rhythmic counterpoint"

Allan Kozinn, The New York Times


“Extradordinary... It's sublime music brimming with virtuosity and beauty... expressive and heartfelt.”Chris Wong, Vancouver Courier



Houman Pourmehdi on youtube




  • The Window with Lian Ensemble and the Tuvan Master Throat Singers (2010)

  • PANGEA with Djivan Gasparyan, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Pirayeh Pourafar, Miroslav Tadic and Randy Gloss (2006)

  • HAND'STAN with Hands on'semble (2006)

  • Music for Plays with John Zeretzke (2006)

  • SYRIANA Soundtrack (2006)

  • The Hidden Sacred with Dark Wing (2005)

  • Earthsea Soundtrack (2005)

  • Psalms with Khaled Jubran (2005)

  • Khak-e-Heyran with Lian Ensemble (2004)

  • THREE with Hands on'semble (2004)

  • Lulka with Miroslav Tadic and Vanja Lazarova (2003)

  • Light and Fire with Lian Ensemble (2003)

  • The Call of Love with Master Rajeeve Taranath (2001)

  • Maiden's Prayer with Lisa Lynne (2001)

  • The Echoes Living Room Concerts volume 8 (2001) (dedicated to the memory of George Harrison 1943-2001).

  • Dar Shekarestan Live recording with Lian Ensemble (2000)

  • Syncopation with Master John Bergamo (2000)

  • Banquet in the Tavern of Ruin with Lian Ensemble (1999)

  • The Name of The Beloved with Lian Ensemble (1999)

  • Quest (1997)

  • Sufi Music of Iran (May-e-Berange) recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London (1996)

  • The Art of Improvisation in Chahargah with Mohammad Reza Lotfi (1991)


Film Soundtracks


Houman Pourmehdi performs on the soundtracks of the following film:

  • HULK (Danny Elfman)



  • TROY




  • View from a Grain of Sand


Performing Artist


Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Djivan Gasparyan, Ardeshir Rohani, Mahmoud Zoufonoun, Shahdad Rohani, David Johnson, Mohammad Reza Lotfi, Hassan Nahid, Dariush Talai, Parissa, Miroslav Tadic, Rajeeve Taranath, Wadada Leo Smith, John Bergamo, Khaled Jubran, Poovalur Sriji, Adam Rudolph, Abbos Kosimov, Sima Bina, Vancouver Bach Choir, and Bruce Pullan CM conductor, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.




The Jubilee in the Tennessee (1992)

An evening of classical Iranian music in Kennedy Center (1992)

Parliament of the world's Religions in Chicago (1993)

Sufi music of the world in Los Angeles (1995)

Verde I Norden in Norway (1996)

The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London (1996 & 1997)

A.S.K. Festival in U.C.L.A. (1999)

World Festival of Sacred Music in Los Angeles (1999 & 2002)

Long Beach Symphony in Long Beach (2000)

CalArts Creative Music Festival in Valencia (2000)

Hilltop Cultural Celebration in Atlanta (2000)

Microfest in Los Angeles (2002)

L.A. Folk Arts Festival in Ford Amphitheatre (2001& 2003)

He was a featured artist World clinics at the (2002, 2003, 2006)

Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (2002)

Royce Hall, UCLA (2003

Musical Explorations Series Axis of Love Festival REDCAT Theater (2003)

Jerusalem Festival (2004)

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (2004)

Ritmos da Terra in Brazil (2004)

and Cairo Festival in Egypt (2005)

The Jerusalem Festival Songs of Freedom (2005)

Oud Festival Jerusalem(2006)

Drum Festival Taiwan (2006)


© 2001 Lian Ensemble All Rights reserved Worldwide