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Hossein Salehi - MOI, SIP, IFR - Founder and Executive Director

Born in 1949 in Tehran, Iran; Hossein was exposed to traditional Iranian music by his father, Maestro Abbas Salehi, a master violinist. At age seven, Hossein became enamored with the shimmering sound of the Santoor (Persian hammered dulcimer) and began teaching himself to play as well as learning music fundamentals from his father. After twenty years of extensive training, he studied under some of Iran’s most renowned musicians. Six decades after striking his first notes; Maestro Salehi’s main objective is to preserve and pass on his musical knowledge with those who show a genuine interest in the performing arts. He teaches Santoor, Daf (frame drum), Tombak (goblet drum) and improvisation techniques, and oversees a variety of musical projects. Using his training as a former flight instructor has impacted his method of instruction, and helped him to better communicate with his students.

Throughout his musical career, Maestro Salehi has been the recipient of many awards. In 1998, the Oregon Historical Society recognized him as a master artist on the Santoor and in Persian Music. In 2009, Maestro Salehi founded ArtMax Academy; a non-profit organization that has evolved into a platform through which he – and many of his students – have shared their love of art. The Academy has provided the Portland community with a source of musical and artistic enrichment, education, collaboration and creative endeavors. In 2011, he was invited by the Portland State University Department of Music to develop and deliver a new course called “Music in Persia” as an Adjunct Music Professor for the 2011 and 2012 academic year. He currently teaches “Advance course of applied Persian music on Santoor” at Portland State University.

David Ball - Finance & Operations

David Graduated from Willamette University with degrees in Economics and Mathematics in 1976. He played the trumpet and performed in vocal groups during and following university for many years. His community activities included active church work with youth and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and as a volunteer to help the Vietnamese and Eastern European refugees settle in Oregon and Washington. David also volunteered with several local and statewide political campaigns between the late 70´s and the mid 90´s. The majority of his working career has been as a lobbyist for law firm clients and as a manager and consultant in international business with a focus on the aluminum industry. He currently resides in The USA.

Alireza Faheeh, MD - Treasurer

Ali-Reza has appreciated music from a variety of genres and cultures from around the world from a young age but got his first experience playing the Santoor under the instruction of Maestro Hossein Salehi. Maestro Salehi’s leadership, dedication and passion to pass on the values of traditional art and music to the next generation catalyzed Ali-Reza’s personal interest in supporting the arts to promote peace and to help bring mutual appreciation and understanding among people of diverse backgrounds. As a result he became motivated to volunteer with the Board of ArtMax Academy. Apart from his busy career as a Cardiologist, he likes to spend his leisure time with family and friends.

Behnam Fakhravar, DMD, MS - Secretary

From a young age, Behnam showed a strong interest in traditional and classical Persian music and instruments, particularly the Santoor. His growing passion to play the Santoor led him to take private music lessons under the tutelage of Maestro Hossein Salehi. Having Maestro Salehi as a mentor not only nourished Behnam’s love for music and taught him to play the Santoor, but also gave him the opportunity to be exposed to and gain experience with other traditional instruments as well. Over the years, Behnam has had the opportunity to perform at various events where he displayed his talent, and experienced first-hand, collaboration and teamwork with other students. Being a volunteer Board member for ArtMax Academy has been an immensely satisfying experience for Behnam, both personally and professionally. On a personal level, volunteering for a not-for-profit organization such as ArtMax provides him with the opportunity to contribute to a cause that he strongly believes in and feels passionate about. Furthermore, Behnam’s interest in art led him to pursue his career in dentistry, a perfect combination of arts and sciences, where manual dexterity and attention to detail play an essential role. Behnam is currently a successful Periodontist practicing in the Portland/Vancouver metro area.

Nat Hulskamp - Events & Workshops

Nat Hulskamp is a professional musician and instructor living in Portland, OR. He began studying guitar with guitarist/composer Paul Chasman at age seventeen. He was soon introduced to flamenco guitar by Jose Solano. His interest in the influence of Arabic music on flamenco led him to study oud in Morocco. After returning to the US, he moved to Seattle to study ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. There he worked with the groups Carmona Flamenco, The Rez Quartet and others ranging in style from Hungarian Csardas and Gypsy swing to flamenco. In 2000 he co-founded the Vancouver, BC based Arabic/ flamenco group Aire. In 2004 he moved to Portland and formed the group Shabava with kamancheh/sehtar/violinist and singer Bobak Salehi. In 2010 he formed the trio Caminhos Cruzados with master jazz guitarist Dan Balmer and Ghanaian percussion virtuoso Israel Annoh. Nat has studied with the top flamenco guitarists of today including, Diego del Morao, Manuel Parrilla, Pepe del Morao, José Antonio Rodriguez and Dani de Morón. In 2012 Nat received a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to travel to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain to continue studying flamenco guitar with the Morao family. He now resides in Portland, where he composes and performs with Shabava, Caminhos Cruzados and Seffarine and holds a position as board member and instructor at ArtMax Academy.

Bobak Salehi, MBA - Marketing and Communications

Bobak Salehi is a Marketing Consultant, with an MBA in marketing and B.S. in life sciences. Over the course of 10 years, Bobak has lead the creation and implementation of some 200+ projects, campaigns, installations, multimedia exhibits and product demos. As a result, he has collaborated with a broad array of teams, and has successfully integrated his life experiences into his professional methodology. Bobak is a passionate individual with a diverse background, and has made several appearances in mainstream media. He has been described as trustworthy, reliable, professional, focused and - most important of all - and innovator. Bobak has presented his unique perspective on marketing and interdisciplinary collaboration between sales/marketing/communications on several on college campuses, Including Reed College, Lewis and Clark College, California Institute of Integral Studies, Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, University of Washington and Simon Fraser University. Bobak has served on the ArtMax board of directors since 2009.

Omid Meshkin, Outreach

Omid is a 32-year veteran of the computer industry in progressively responsible positions spanning technology development, manufacturing, information technology, hardware & software engineering, marketing, strategic alliances and business development functions at Intel, Sequent & IBM and has held adjunct professor positions at University of Portland. He holds an M.S. degrees in engineering, with B.S. degrees in computer science & engineering.  He is currently a director of strategic enterprise software alliances at Intel Corporation and has served on multiple non-profit boards and councils over the past 25 years in service to the community at large. Omid is passionate about community-based endeavors that bridge cross-cultural divides, including music and the arts as a means to enrich lives and promote understanding of the essential unity of the human family in all its diversity.  He is married with 2 children and currently resides in Portland, Oregon.  He has served on the ArtMax Board of Directors since 2009.

Todd Christensen,  Legal Affairs

Todd Christensen is Associate General Counsel and Director of Legal Affairs for the Client Computing Group at Intel Corporation. Todd joined Intel in 1999 and prior to his current role supported numerous businesses and functions, including the Corporate Marketing Group and Corporate Affairs. Prior to joining Intel, Todd practiced primarily in the area of securities regulation, first at a law firm, then in-house. Todd has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Finance major) from the University of Arizona, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland. 

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