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. A Laureate of the Tchaikovsky International Competition, he has won first prize in the Milwaukee Symphony Violin Competition, was a finalist in the Munich International Competition, and with his wife Steinway Artist Carolyn McCracken as the Forough/McCracken Duo, won the United States Artistic Ambassador Program's National Violin/Piano Duo Competition. He 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 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 studies with his mother, a graduate of the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music, Belgium. In Brussels and Liege she studied under the tutelage of E. Chaumont and L. Charlier, both masters of the Franco-Belgium school. Forough also attended the Brussels Royal Conservatory where as the youngest ever to attend, he was exceptionally admitted at age nine to study with Arthur Grumiaux. He graduated with a Superior Prize and Special Distinction Medal at age sixteen. 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 for a total of twelve years. He then pursued post-graduate studies at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory for three years under the legendary David Oistrakh. Upon Mr. Oistrakh's death, Forough attended Indiana University School of Music for two and half years where he was personal assistant to his teacher Josef Gingold, who himself studied in Belgium under Eugene Ysaye.
Cyrus Forough has performed in recital, with orchestras, and in chamber music ensembles throughout Europe, Asia, and North and South America, including broadcasts on radio and television. His solo performances for international dignitaries have included command performances for Queen Fabiola and Princess Paola of Belgium, the former Shah 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 conductor Lukas Foss.
Mr. Forough has championed contemporary music and gave the Milwaukee Symphony premiere performance of the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto in 1985. He has performed the works of Behzad Ranjbaran, Reza Vali, and will be premiering Vali's Khojasteh ("Majestic"), which was dedicated to him at the National Gallery in Washighton DC in January 2013. Other works include Witold Lutoslawski's Chain 2, dialogue for violin & orchestra, and premiered Alan Fletcher's Woman Holding a Balance, also dedicated to him. 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., and the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires. As Artistic Ambassadors of the United States, they have 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, but 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 professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and has taught as an Artist faculty member of the Music Institute of Chicago's Academy for Gifted, and was a visiting professor at Eastman School of Music in 2009 and 2010. In summer 2013 he will once again be a faculty member at the Bowdoin International Music Festival in Brunswick, Maine in addition to being a new faculty member at the Schlern International Music Festival in northern Italy. In the past he has also been a faculty member at summer festivals such as the Meadowmount School of Music; the Indiana University String Academy, Bloomington; the Chateau de Champ, Paris; the; the International Music Academy in Plzen, 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.
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 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, and others such as the Washington International Violin Competition, the Wieniawski International Violin Competition (3rd round), 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 other chamber music competitions. Numerous students have been chosen to perform on "From the Top" at Carnegie Hall, New York, and throughout the nation, and broadcast on radio and television. His students have included winners of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and as Presidential Scholar. His students are also members of many professional orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Symphony Orchestra, Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra, Argentina, and many others.
Mr. Forough performs on the 1718 " Wilmotte" Antonius Stradivarius.