Noted for the “fiery intensity” and “poetic vision” of his playing, Cyrus Forough's reviews comprise a lexicon of superlatives in more than a dozen languages. In a recent review of Mr. Forough’s performance of the Debussy’s violin sonata Jim Lowe wrote, “…With a warm sound and deft technique, Forough was an expert musician, utilizing skilled articulations and a broad palette of tonal colors, in delivering Debussy’s unique mix of Romanticism and Impressionism.”
A Laureate of the Tchaikovsky International Competition, he has won first prize in the Milwaukee Symphony Violin Competition and was a finalist in the Munich International Violin Competition. With his wife Steinway Artist Carolyn McCracken as the Forough/McCracken Duo, they won the United States Artistic Ambassador Program's National Violin/Piano Duo Competition. Mr. Forough also holds the World Academy of Arts, Literature, and Media Award in recognition of his contributions to classical music and education.
Mr. Forough's unique succession of studies in three major cultural centers with three of the twentieth century's most legendary masters make singular his recognition as a prominent representative of the Franco-Belgium school of violin playing.
When he was five years old he began his violin studies with his mother, who was a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium. In Brussels and Liege she studied under the tutelage of E. Chaumont and L. Charlier, both distinguished masters of the Franco-Belgium school.
Cyrus Forough also attended the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels where, as the youngest ever to attend, he was exceptionally admitted at age nine to study with the legendary Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux for the first year of his studies. He graduated with a Superior Prize and Special Distinction Medal at age sixteen in both violin and chamber music. He then became one of only thirteen students chosen by national competition to attend Europe's most renowned school for promising young performers, the Chapel Musicale Reine Elisabeth, living and studying in Brussels and Waterloo for a total of twelve years. He then pursued post-graduate studies at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory for three years under the tutelage of the legendary violinist David Oistrakh. Upon Mr. Oistrakh's untimely death, he continued his third year of studies with David Oistrakh’s assistant Mr. Oleh Krysa who today is a Professor of Violin at the Eastman school of music. Subsequently Mr. Forough attended Indiana University School of Music for two and half years where he studied with and was the personal assistant to his teacher, Proessor Josef Gingold, who himself studied in Belgium under the great Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye.
Cyrus Forough has performed in recital, with orchestras, and in chamber music ensembles throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America, including live broadcasts on radio and television. His solo performances for international dignitaries have included command performances for Queen Fabiola and Princess Paola of Belgium, the Shah and Queen Farah Pahlavi of Iran, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and President Kreiske of Austria. He also gave a special performance for the birthday celebration of Queen Sirikit of Thailand. He has appeared at many summer festivals such as the Weimar Festival in Germany, the Plovdiv Music Festival in Bulgaria, the International Schubert Festival at Indiana University, and the American Sacred Music Festival in Milwaukee invited there by composer and conductor Lukas Foss.
Mr. Forough has championed contemporary music and gave the Milwaukee Symphony’s premiere performance of the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto in 1985. He has performed the works of Behzad Ranjbaran, Reza Vali, premiered Vali's Khojasteh “Majestic”, a duo for violin and cello which was dedicated to Cyrus Forough, at the National Gallery in Washington DC in January 2013. Other works include Witold Lutoslawski's Chain 2, dialogue for violin & orchestra, and he also premiered Alan Fletcher's Woman Holding a Balance, also dedicated to him and has performed numerous contemporary works.
The Forough/McCracken Duo performed William Kraft's Double Play with orchestra, and premiered the Violin/Piano Sonata of Shostakovich and Central Park Reel by Lukas Foss in numerous cities in the United States, the Caribbean, and South America. Called “musical treasures of absolute mastery,” the Forough/McCracken Duo has charmed and captivated audiences with the artistry of their unique duo partnership. They have performed in many concert venues, including the Kennedy Center, the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and others.
As Artistic Ambassadors of the United States, they concertized in many countries, performing in recitals and with orchestras, giving master classes and interviews, participating in symposiums and discussions with universities and conservatories, and giving benefit recitals for educational and medical foundations, all for the purpose of fostering goodwill and cultural understanding between people and nations.
Mr. Forough's dedication to teaching and his skill at communicating his art have earned him a reputation as one of the most sought after and most effective violin pedagogues, drawing students globally seeking admittance into his studio. Not only did he study with some of the greatest violin masters of the twentieth century, he also is one of the few last living links to the great schools of violin playing and pedagogy. At present he is a full-time tenured professor of violin at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Music in Pittsburgh, has taught at several other universities and was an Artist faculty member of the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for the Gifted, and was a visiting professor at Eastman School of Music in 2009, 2010 and 2015. In September 2016, Mr. Forough recorded the 4th violin concerto by celebrated composer Alireza Mashayekhi with the Ukraine National Sympony, Vladimir Sirenko conducting. Together with Mashayekhi's 5th violin concerto which is being prepared at the present time a CD will be produced. Both concertos are dedicated to Cyrus Forough including the 2nd violin and piano sonato by the same composer.
In summer 2016 Mr. Forough was a faculty member at the Summit Music Festival in Pleasantville, New York. He has also been a faculty member at numerous other summer music festivals such as the Cambridge International String Academy, Cambridge, Great Britain; the Northwestern University Summer Violin Institute, Evanston, Illinois; the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine; the Schlern International Music Festival in Schlern, Italy; the Killington Music Festival, Rutland, Vermont; the Meadowmount Summer School of Music, New York; the Indiana University String Academy, Bloomington, Indiana; the Chateau de Champ Music Festival, Paris, France; the International Music Academy in Pilzen, Czech Republic; the Sulzbach-Rosenberg International Music Festival, Germany and numerous others.
Mr. Forough has been an adjudicator for competitions including the Stulberg International Competition and the Sorantin International String Competition, and conducted master classes at the aforementioned summer festivals and at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music; Northwestern University; the Cleveland Institute of Music; Beijing Central Conservatory; Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Guangzhou Xinghai Conservatory of Music; Mount Royal College-Academy "Program for Gifted Youth" in residence, Calgary, Canada; the Glenn Gould School of the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music, and many others. An upcoming master class and violin recital at the Moore School of Music as part of the A.I. Lack Master Class series of the University of Houston will take place in March 2016.
Ever since Mr. Forough joined the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music faculty, his college students have been frequent winners of the school-wide concerto competitions and have distinguished themselves in international and national competitions, which was previously unprecedented.
Having taught students as young as six, his college and pre-college students have received first prizes, awards, and other prizes in countless international and national competitions including: Finalist and "Public Prize" at the Sibelius International Violin Competition, the Paganini Award at the Indianapolis International Violin Competition, Prizewinner at the Menuhin International Violin Competition, "Best Talent" at the Sarasate International Violin Competition, the Wieniawski International Violin Competition (3rd round), and other prizes, including first prizes at competitions such as the Washington International Violin Competition, the Johansen International Violin Competition, the Klein International Violin Competition, the Stulberg International Violin Competition, the Cooper International Violin Competition, Illinois Bell Young People's Concerto competition performing live with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on televised winners concerts, and first prizes at the Fischoff International, Rembrandt, and at other countless violin and chamber music competitions.
Numerous students have been chosen to perform on "From the Top" including at Carnegie Hall, New York, and throughout the nation with broadcast on radio and television. His students have included winners of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and as Presidential Scholar. Mr. Forough’s students are also members of many international and national professional orchestras including the Royal Danish Opera Orchestra, (concert master) in Copenhagen, Denmark; Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Symphony Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, Argentina, Hong Kong Symphony, the Palladians and many others.
Mr. Forough performs on the 1718 " Wilmotte" Antonius Stradivarius.