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Composer | Jamshied Sharifi

Jamshied Sharifi was born in Topeka, Kansas to an Iranian father and an American mother. He was exposed to jazz and Middle Eastern music through his father, who played drums, and to European classical and church music through his mother, who was a piano teacher and church organist. Sharifi began classical piano study at age five with his mother. She sent him to other teachers when it became clear she could not accommodate his desire to improvise. At nine he began playing and studying guitar and drums, and at ten he added flute. Also at ten he became a member of the Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir, the premier Episcopal church choir in the Kansas City area.

Sharifi graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in humanities, and Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, with a degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging. At M.I.T. and Berklee, he studied with noted trumpeter and Charlie Parker sideman Herb Pomeroy, who asked him at graduation to lead the M.I.T. Festival Jazz Ensemble (a post Pomeroy had held for twenty-two years). Under his leadership, the group made two CDs, performed twenty of Sharifi’s original compositions, and won the prestigious Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival in 1991. Sharifi also taught in the Music Synthesis and Ensemble Departments at Berklee for five years. While in Boston, Sharifi studied piano with Charlie Banacos, and West African drumming with Godwin Agbeli and Abubakari Lunna.

Sharifi’s foray into the world of film and television began as a keyboardist and orchestrator for Michael Gibbs. Together with percussionist Ben Wittman they scored three feature films and fifteen one-hour television shows. He has gone on to compose the scores for Harriet The Spy, Muppets From Space, Down To Earth, Clockstoppers, and other studio and independent films.

In 1992 Sharifi left his teaching positions at Berklee and M.I.T. and moved to New York City, where he works as a composer, arranger, producer, and keyboardist. He has recorded and/or performed with Paula Cole, Ray Charles, Dream Theater, Laurie Anderson, Yungchen Lhamo, Hassan Hakmoun, and many others. His world-inspired debut CD, A Prayer For The Soul Of Layla, was named “Best World Album” by New Age Voice magazine, and “Best Album of the Year” by music critic and syndicated radio host John Diliberto. His new CD, One, has been featured on NPR’s “Day To Day” and PRI’s “The World”.

Sharifi has been scoring films with Mo’z Art Pictures and Visionaire media since 2007 including: ANGEL ROAD, THE STATE OF ASSYRIA, AMERICAN CARAVAN, YEMENIETTES, three seasons of the ON THE ROAD IN AMERICA series, and GENERATION ENTREPRENEUR.

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