"His rich palette of colour, the exquisite extraction of sound, the admixture of meters, the articulated rhythmic power that can move one from the clutches of gravity to an upward expansion of an almost exalted levity, his exposure to two different musical traditions and his synchronic blending of Western and Persian modal music approach a well-nigh synergistic outcome; Saman Samadi is an extraordinarily gifted musician and composer, clearly destined for a trajectory of success in his field. 

Samadi explores the common terrain which actually undergirds both the Eastern and Western worldviews and assumptions by meticulously tracing out their contours, looking closely at the roots of each individual tradition and ultimately finding there a single tree, with but only one trunk — a realization that these differentiated branches all attach." Richard S. Campo, 2020

Saman Samadi, is a Persian-American composer, performer, and musicologist, with a prolific and diverse body of work spanning nearly two decades. His compositions, including orchestral, chamber, solo, and electroacoustic pieces, have been performed globally, from the Mid-East to the Far East, from Europe to both coasts of the United States. Samadi's research focuses on contemporary Western art music and Persian classical music, excelling in innovative compositional methods and musical experimentalism. He integrates creative practices with scholarly pursuits in cultural studies, (ethno)musicology, theory, and philosophy.

Samadi’s music, characterized by its complexity and expressivity, draws inspiration from Brian Ferneyhough, Michael Finnissy, James Dillon, and Chris Dench. His work employs microtonal modes derived from Persian classical music, creating a unique pitch space with heterophonic textures, polyrhythms, and polymeters. He reimagines Persian calligraphic letterforms, incorporating them as both visual and structural elements in his scores, thus engendering a multidimensional experience.

His scholarship encompasses complex musical expression, cross-disciplinary research, innovative compositional methods, non-Western musical systems, contemporary improvisation, performance practice of new music, experimental music, poststructuralism, Deleuze and Guattari, semiotics, music and identity, linguistics, aesthetics of modernism and postmodernism, conceptual history, complexity, and music notation. He explores cultural and sociopolitical dimensions and their ramifications for the human experience.

Samadi began his education at NODET, an esteemed institution for mathematical prodigies in Iran, where he received a degree in Mathematics and Physics. He pursued further studies in Philosophy and Critical Thinking at the University of Queensland and Artistic Research in Music at Orpheus Institute and Leuven University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance and a Master of Arts in Composition from the University of Tehran, where he studied under composer Alireza Mashayekhi. From 2006 to 2009, he directed the Concentus Orchestra, a dynamic ensemble from the Tehran Music Conservatory and the University of Tehran. Samadi won first prize at the 2012 Counterpoint-Italy International Composition Competition. In 2014, his work was selected for premiere at the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival.

From 2013 to 2020, Samadi was an active participant in New York City's experimental music scene, forming the Saman Samadi Quintet, Apām Napāt Trio, and Aži Trio. The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) awarded him an Artist Diploma in 2015 for his contributions as an experimental music improviser.

Samadi has served as the Editorial Officer for the Wolfson Research Event at Cambridge and is actively reviewing manuscripts for reputable journals, such as the Journal for Artistic Research. He is the founder and artistic director emeritus of the Cambridge University Experimental Music Ensemble. He earned his PhD at the University of Cambridge, supported by his appointment as a Dr Grantham Scholar. His doctoral research was under Richard Causton and Peter McMurray. During his time at Cambridge, Samadi has served as President of the Wolfson College Music Society and academic supervisor at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge.

Saman Samadi is available for instruction and supervision. Email address: ss2728@cantab.ac.uk

  • Cambridge University Experimental Music Ensemble: cam.cueme.uk

Artwork: Salvator Rosa (c. 1645); Philosophy (detail).