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Dr. Hossein Hadisi

Dr. Hossein Hadisi

Affiliated Researcher, Faculty of Music

Darwin College


is a Research Associate at Darwin College. He studied his PhD in Composition with Michael Finnissy at the University of Southampton. Hossein’s work is focused on the core of the philosophy and expressive artistic attitude of the traditional Persian improvisation school of Avaz and studies the improvisatory processes that form the compositional aspect of a performance in that tradition. The techniques and formal behaviours and the reasons for such choices are explored to investigate the possible compositional techniques that could be built based on the Avaz tradition. In his first research project at Cambridge (2011-2014), he demonstrated some possible applications of such techniques through his own compositions, and discuss other approaches that could be derived from them. the result of this project came to fruition in "Zahhak: Dragon King of Persia", a stage work written alongside with his research, which was premièred by the renown vocal ensemble Exaudi and with artwork from the famous Iranian surrealist painter, Aliakbar Sadeghi on 26/9/2013 at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Studios (RADA, London) followed by a performance in West Road Concert Hall (Faculty of Music, Cambridge).

Hossein is also the chief editor and creator of Maqam Project (2014-current), an online encyclopaedia of traditional and folk Middle Eastern musical modes. The wiki-style Maqam encyclopaedia allows the user to navigate and compare modes based on various criterion such as intervals, geographical distribution, etymological, linguistic and cultural connections. The database includes a vast collection of text, scores, sample recordings and visuals and allows the users to add comment and upload contents. the main objective of the Maqam encyclopaedia is to provide a multidimensional platform to compare modes and demonstrate the properties that define each mode.

Hossein has been collaborating with the Shahnama Project and Pembroke Centre for Persian Studies and getting support from Iran Heritage Foundation, UKIFF and British Academy's British Institute for Persian Studies during his work at Faculty of Music.

Colleges, Departments and Institutes

Darwin College:

Research Interests


Compositional models based on Persian Music

Traditional and folk Middle Eastern musical modes

Video Art and Film

Key Publications

TV Series Production: New Sounds 2013
Documentary Film: The Luthier, Voice of America TV, 2014, 2016
CD Album: The Night Must Fall (BTB, MoaA and ATField Studio, 2012
New Year Special Feature Film: Zahhak: Dragon King of Persia, Voice of America TV, 2015
Maqam Encyclopaedia Project: Founder and Chief Editor, 2015-current