Alan is an internationally recognized Persian avant-garde "santurist", and the leading exponent of the New Santur style. After passing through multifarious phases of musical composition and performance on his supremely delicate yet highly sophisticated musical instrument ? his self-made hammer dulcimer or santur ?, ranging from traditional Persian music, to fusions of Western classical and Persian mystical music, to jazz and world music, as well as futuristic and avant-garde music, Alan Kushan is still audaciously and earnestly experimenting in the musical realm.
His techniques on his self-made santur are indeed altogether fascinating and breathtaking.
He studied music composition in Zurich, K?ln and Berlin as well as Canada and USA; he also studied with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Karlheinz Stockhausen and other master musicians.
Not satisfied with the range and capacity of his chosen musical instrument, Alan decided to apply his skills as an instrument-maker to expand the range of his instrument by adding elements from the modern piano, the harp and the guitar. The result is an amazing, unique and powerful instrument, which embodies the musical textures of the ancient and the new.
He joined the avant-garde "culture" in 1985, and his talent for self-publicity quickly made him conspicuous. He cultivates eccentricity and exhibitionism, claiming that this is and has been a prominent source of his creative energy. Indeed, one of his well-known acts at the opening of the Swiss surrealist exhibition in 1986 was his startling appearance in a Roumi outfit.
He appears to have taken over the surrealist theory of "automatism" and transformed it into a more positive method of expression, which he has named "essential encounters". According to this theory one should cultivate genuine delusion against a backcloth of constant "galactic buzz" while remaining residually aware at the back of one's mind that the control of both reason and will has been deliberately suspended. (He claims that this perspective should be applied not only in artistic and poetical creation but also in the more mundane and platitudinous affairs of everyday life). With this in mind, Alan Kushan's performance method employs an academically meticulous technique that is, paradoxically, in stark contrast to the unreal "dream space" he generally endeavours to depict, and its markedly other-worldly, hallucinatory character.
Alan Kushan has travelled to and sojourned in many places on the globe in quest of artistic self-realization : Persia, India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, China, Turkey, Greece, Japan, Europe, Central America and North America. It is these experiences that laid the foundation for his unique love and understanding of global music and cultures. He studied musical composition in Zurich, Koeln and Berlin as well as Canada and the USA. He also studied with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Karlheinz Stockhausen and other eminent composers and musicians. He is arguably one of the most dynamic forces within the respective contemporary and world music scenes. He has performed and collaborated with some of the most outstanding musicians on the world stage, including Miles Davis, Paco de Lucia, Max Roach, Billy Cobham, Peter Giger, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Mickey Hart, Robert Dick, and Leo Smith, aka Wodada Smith.
Alan Kushan currently resides in New York City whilst finishing work on his new symphony. His current collaborators include the following: the virtuoso Persian singer, Sussan Deyhim; the film composer Richard Horowitz (Sheltering Sky, Any Given Sunday); the legendary flutist Robert Dick; the trumpet player Ray Campbell Jr.; Sun Ra, Peter Brotzmann, Yo La Tango, Don Cherry, Hamid Drake; the bazantar player Mark Deutsch; and the highly accomplished bass player Daniel Patumi.