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Composer, musician and singer, Bijan Mortazavi was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Solent University on Wednesday 12 July 2017.

12th July 2017

Composer, musician and singer, Bijan Mortazavi, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Music by Southampton Solent University on Wednesday 12 July 2017.

Bijan is a major figure in the Iranian/Persian music industry, famous for composing Fire on Ice, Sweet Scent of Love, Voice of Silence, One Drop Ocean, What Is Love, Music and I, Ronak, Calm Before Storm, Dance of Fire and many more.

On being awarded his honorary degree, Bijan said: "Working with a university like Solent is an honour, and an opportunity for me to work with and inspire young talent, to pass on my experiences to new generations as they find their own voice.

"I have had many achievements but two will remain my greatest. One, performing a piece of music called Epic at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles when I was 11, the second, standing here with you all, 23 years later and receiving this honour."

Bijan, a Visiting Fellow at Solent who delivers workshops and masterclasses at the University, started playing the violin at the age of three and was trained by five of the most respected violinists in Tehran. At the age of seven he also started learning the piano, guitar, percussion, and national folklore string instruments such as the oud, tar and santur.

At the age of 14 Bijan assembled a 32-man orchestra, performing his own compositions and arrangements at the famous Ramsar Summer Camp in Iran. After graduating from high school, he moved to the UK where he pursued his academic interest in the field of civil engineering while continuing with his performances and his violin training.

In 1979, Bijan moved to the United States, continued his music education at Texas State University, and finally in 1985 settled in California where he released his first album, which was a best-seller in 1990.

On 3 July 1994, after 34 years of playing the violin, he became the first Iranian performer to perform at the Greek Theatre, in Los Angeles.

Bijan also shared his top tips with students: "Something that I always tell my students or people who come to my concerts is that liking music is one thing, but going after it is another.

"Keep improving, these are all big factors – one is not enough without the other. Never stop going after your dreams and your goals, but the most important thing is practice. I would practice for six hours a day, it didn’t matter if it was summer or winter, six hours was six hours. That is the secret for musicians who are playing any instrument, practice, practice, practice."