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The guitar has conquered most of the world, but in South and Central Asia they still play the sitar, the setar, and the tar, which may be the most ancient of these instruments. The brash, twangy tar and its more delicate cousin, the setar, lack the sympathetic strings that endow the sitar with its rich harmonics, yet in the hands of such masters as Ostad Hossein Alizadeh, the instruments are capable of passages of serene, intricate beauty. Like its Indian
counterpart, Persian classical music is based on established scales and melodies, and can work wide-ranging and frequently rhapsodic variations on its themes. This concert will be an opportunity to hear just how far Alizadeh can venture (almost) on his own. He frequently performs with his own Alizadeh Ensemble, or with such peers as Kayhan Kalhor; tonight he’ll alternate between tar and setar, accompanied only by percussionist Majdid Khalodi. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)