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Monir Vakili was born on December 19, 1924 in Tabriz, Iran, to a family of art and music enthusiasts. Her father encouraged her love of opera and supported her decision to study abroad. Monir studied voice and theater at the Conservatoire National Sup?rieur de Musique et De Danse de Paris and continued her training in opera directing at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass.

A pioneer in the true sense, Monir started the very first opera company in Iran. She gave memorable performances as Madama Butterfly, Mimi in La Bohéme, Violetta in La Traviata, Liu in Turandot, and many others at the Rudaki Hall where she strived to bring the level of artistry in Iran up to international standards.

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Dec. 19, 1924
Feb. 28, 1983
Nivelles, Belgium

Among many other highlights in her illustrious career she produced and hosted a television series featuring the best selections from Rudaki Hall; created an opera film festival which was the first of its kind in the world and established the Academy of Voice, a government-funded, co-ed boarding school to educate and train students in the art of opera and choral singing.

In 1951 Monir placed 1st at the Berlin Youth Festival (vocal category) and in 1975 she was the recipient of the prestigious Forough Farrokhzad Award.

Throughout Monir's life, her love for her country permeated all of her work. A manifestation of this love is an album recorded in Paris in 1958, of songs from different regions of Iran. She dazzled the public and international critics with her performance, and the album, Chants et Danses de Perses, won the Grand Prix du Disque of Academie Charles Cros.

Monir passed away on February 28,1983. The memory of her ever-lasting spirit and talent lives on in Baazgasht ("Resurrection"), an innovative rendition of the 1958 award-winning album with the help of modern technology, Monir's daughter ZaZa and grandchildren Arian and Alexandra Monir were able to accompany her in this stunning collection 45 years later.

  • Monir attended American School in Hamedan where she performed as soloist and member of the church choir.
  • Radio Tehran and "Association des Amis de la Culture Fran?aise", 1946-49.
  • Studied at the Conservatoire Nationale de Musique de Paris 1949-1952, majoring in Operatic Singing and Performing Arts.
  • Recipient of the Best Folk Songs Award, Berlin Youth Festival, 1951.
  • Vocal coach at Iran Conservatory of Music, 1955-57. Our National Conservatory was created in 50s. Whereas the original Conservatory was created under Reza Shah by the Czech musician in Meydan Baharestan.
  • Soloist with The National Orchestra, conducted by Hossein Dehlavi. 1958-1959 Weekly perfomances on Tehran (Sabet) Television.
  • Recitals at the French Institute and Roumanian Embassy, Tehran, 1955-56.
  • Studied at the Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, 1960-61. Majored in Opera Directing.
  • First Persian singer to popularize Persian Folk Songs in Iran and the international music scene.
  • Recepient of the Academy Charles Cros Grand Prix du Disque in 1958 for Les Danses et Chants de Perse.
  • Founder of the first Opera Company of Tehran.
  • Staged the first televised opera scenes from Madama Butterfly and La Traviata on Sabet Television, May 1961.
  • Featured vocalist on "Le Vent Des Amoureux" a film by Albert Lamorisse, 1971.
  • Institute For The Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults releases the original recording of Suite Folklorique - Monir Vakili - Accompanied by Ministry of Fine Arts and Culture Symphonic Orchestra - Arranged and Conducted by Hossein Dehlavi.
  • Executive Director of Rudaki Hall Programs for NIRTV (Performing Arts Program), Tehran, Iran.
  • Creator and Founder of the Academy of Voice, Tehran, Iran, 1975 (government funded co-ed boarding high school for opera and choral singing).
  • Recepient of the Forough Farrokhzad Award, 1976.
  • Executive Producer of the first Opera Film Festival in the world at the Rudaki Hall in Tehran, Iran, 1977.
  • Executive Director & Producer & Host of the Televison Program for NIRTV: Rudaki Hall Presents (the best programs of the year were telecast all over the country).
  • Appeared in 23 operas and directed two operas in Tehran.
  • Member of Board of Directors : The International Shiraz Arts Festival.
  • Toured and performed extensively in Russia, Tajikestan, Bulgaria, Romania, France, Germany, Italy and the United States.
  • Lost her life in a tragic car accident in Belgium Feb. 28, 1983.
  • Married to Dr. Abdol-Madjid Madjidi, 2 daughters: Scheherazade (a.k.a. ZaZa) and Djamileh (a.k.a. Mili).

Monir Vakili
Video: Portrait (VOA) in memory of Monir Vakili   /   Monir Vakili on Wikipedia   /   Video: Performance at Rudaki Hall   /   Video: Baad e Saba, featuring La Laee by Monir Vakili