MAʿRUFI, Jawād, a renowned Persian music composer and pianist (b. Tehran, 1294 Š/1915; d. Tehran, 1372 Š/1993).
Maʿrufi’s father, Musā Maʿrufi, was a master musician and an imposing player of the tār (a plucked long-necked lute), who wrote down the repertoires (radifs) of Persian music in Western notation and thus helped make it recorded and lasting.
Jawād, after finishing primary school, entered the music school (Masdrasa-ye ʿāli-e musiqi) founded by ʿAli-Naqi Vaziri. There he first studied the tār for several years before joining the piano class taught by Vaziri. He graduated from the music school in 1932 and, a year later, began working at the Honarestān–e ʿāli-e musiqi (Music Conservatory) as an instructor of musical notation and solfeggio. He joined Tehran Radio as a piano soloist and later on served as an orchestra conductor and the director of all its musical programs. He also served as a member of the Supreme Council of Music (Šorā-ye ʿāli-e musiqi) and became a factor in providing for the new developments in Persian music. Maʿrufi joined the Golhā program when it was launched on Tehran Radio in 1956 and became one of its essential, consistent figures, both as a pianist and a composer. He also supervised the work of the Golhā orchestra and arranged for orchestra a number of old compositions by ʿAli-Akbar Šeydā, ʿĀref Qazvini, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Darviš, and Rokn-al-Din Moḵtār for this musical program (Maʿrufi, apud Behruzi, p. 263).
Maʿrufi was one of the first Persian musicians to play the piano in the conventional manner. Piano was introduced into Persia in the last quarter of the 19th century (Ḵāleqi, I, p. 240), and Persian musicians performing on it played the same notes with both hands. Maʿrufi, who was familiar with Western music, wrote notes for the left hand and composed certain pieces, such as Rāpsodi-e Eṣfahān and the Čahārgāh preludes, which helped change the style of piano performance in Persia (Maʿrufi, apud Behruzi, p. 263).
Maʿrufi was a master of composing both vocal and non-vocal pieces of music. His works were marked by fineness of thought, elegance of expression, and flashes of creativity. He was also one of the first Persian musicians who composed melodies for the piano, the best known of which are Rāpsodi-e Eṣfahān, Fāntezi-e žilā, Suit-e dašti, Ḵᵛābhā-ye ṭelāʾi, Fāntezi-e šomāra-ye do, and Perlud-e Eṣfahān. He also performed in a number of duets with the violonists Homāyun Ḵorram, Parviz Yāḥaqqi, and Ḥabib-Allāh Badiʿi, which are considered among the best examples of Persian music. Many of his solo piano performances (e.g., Parastuhā “Sparrows,” Sapida “The dawn,” Ḵazān “Autumn,” Ruzgār-e man “My time,” Rewāyat-e ʿešq “Love story”) are now commercially available on musical cassettes and compact discs.
Maʿrufi trained hundreds of Persian pianists, including such well-known names as Anuširavān Ruḥāni, Ofeliā Partow, and Mahin Zarrinpanja (qq.v.), who pursued and popularized Maʿrufi’s distinctive style.
Šāhpur Behruzi, Čehrahā-ye musiqi-e Irān, Tehran, 1993, pp. 259-65.
Ruḥ-Allāh Ḵāleqi, Sargoḏašt-e musiqi-e Iran, 2 vols., Tehran, 1955-56.
Documents distributed along with Maʿrufi’s cassettes and compact discs in recent years.
(Morteżā Ḥoseyni Dehkordi and EIr)
Originally Published: July 20, 2005
Last Updated: July 20, 2005