Even as world headlines from the Middle East focus on upheaval and violence, the region's culture continues to thrive. Here's our look at some groups and individuals making their mark on arts and culture in the region, in no particular order.
Kayhan Kalhor, Iran
In addition to keeping up classical Persian music, Iranian-born Kayhan Kalhor also innovates within the traditional form. A virtuoso on the kamancheh, a fiddle-like instrument with a long neck, Kalhor has collaborated on many international projects such as the Silk Road Ensemble, with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. A Grammy nominee, he helped to invent a new instrument and is on tour with his latest album, "I Will Not Stand Alone," while on tour this year. Recorded after the crackdown on Iran's Green Movement, which erupted in 2009, he's called it a rumination on “one of the most difficult stages” in his life.
(Photo: International Review of Music)