Ostad Qamar-ol-Moluk Vaziri
An iconic lady vocalist of Persian art music
by Peyman Nasehpour
Ostad Qamar-ol-Moluk Vaziri, the most iconic lady vocalist of Persian art music, was born in Takestan, Iran, in 1905. During her childhood, she lost her mother while her father had died before, so her grandmother became her guardian. Her grandmother, Molla-Kheyr-on-Nesa (titled to Eftekhar-oz-Zakerin), was a singer of the Rozekhani ceremonies (some kind of religious ceremonies) and Qamar accompanied her and participated in the ceremonies. This was her first acquaintance with the Persian vocal music of the Rozekhani genre. Their house was in the Sangalaj district in the Southern part of Tehran.
Once Qamar's grandmother went to Karbala on a pilgrimage to Imam Hossein's shrine; she stayed at the house of her cousin (the wife of Majd-os-Sanaye') where musical gatherings (Mahafel-e-Musighi) were held, and great masters of Persian music such as Darvish Khan (grand master of tar and setar), Rokn-al-Din Khan Mokhtari (composer and master of violin), Haji Khan Eyn-od-Dole (great master of tonbak) and the prince Hesam-os-Saltane (multi-instrumentalist) were playing. Through this, she became acquainted with these great musicians and more interested in Persian music.
Later, she was invited to a wedding ceremony to which the great master of tar, Mortezaa Khan Neydavud was invited there as well. When she sang in the wedding ceremonies privately, Ostad Neydavud played on his tar and asked her to sing again and she sang and the Ostad Neydavud loved her voice and encouraged her to attend his classes in order to learn the radif repertoire of Persian music systematically. In his classes and very soon, she learned Persian music and became one of the best vocalists in Iran. Their first concert was at the salon of the Grand Hotel (circa 1924) and their second concert was at the Palace Cinema located on Lalezar Street in Tehran. Gradually she became more famous and got to know famous poets and writers of her time. Also later, she recorded gramophone discs and performed many concerts accompanied by the tar of her master and colleague Ostad Neydavud, and she became one of the most celebrated characters of Persian art music. Any money that Qamar earned, she shared among poor people. She passed away on August 5, 1959, while she was poor.