Tag Archives: Music

The World Youth Orchestra to perform in Iran (Photos)

The World Youth Orchestra arrived in Tehran on Monday and has already had its first joint rehearsal with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday under the leadership of its Italian conductor Damiano Giuranna. Both orchestras will perform together from August 10th to 12th at Vahdat Hall (Roudaki Hall) and will be conducted by Giuranna, Loris Tjeknavorian and Nasir Heidarian.

The World Youth Orchestra, based in Italy, consists of young musicians from 10 different countries, including Armenia, Portugal, Germany and Canada. The guests are also scheduled to hold several master classes and workshops during their stay in Iran.

Seventy-five young musicians from the five continents founded the World Youth Orchestra in Rome in 2001 just four days after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The World Youth Orchestra has been nominated Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF Italia; it has been awarded a Silver Medal and a Silver Plaque for cultural and social merits by the President of the Italian Republic.

Photos: The World Youth Orchestra and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra rehearsing in Iran under Italian conductor Damiano Giuranna

Tehran Contemporary Music Festival (Photos)

The first edition of the Tehran International Contemporary Music Festival was held last April at Roudaki Hall (Vahdat Hall), Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and Iranian Artists’ Forum. The festival, an independent cultural and artistic endeavor that is planned to be held annually, included lectures about contemporary music and art in general, different stage performances and experimental improvised presentations by more than thirty ensembles.

A wide spectrum of national musicians like Mehdi Behboudi, Mohammadreza Govahi, Sina Shoaei, Siavash Sojoudi, Kian Hosseini, groups like “Arvand”, “A4” and “Trans-Modern” string quartets, “O.R.P. Quartet” and “Anil Guitar Quartet”, along flute recitals by Firouzeh Navaei and Ali Choupani, violin by Arash Asadnejad, guitar by Farzin Tehranian, double bass by Farshid Patinian and more performed at the week-long event.

The festival welcomed also many artists from abroad, including Geert Callaert (Piano) and Bert Helsen (Bassoon) from Belgium, the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, Opia Ensemble with Aleksandra Pykacz (Cello) from Poland and Ioana Mandrescu (Piano) from Romania, Reso Kiknadze from Georgia (Saxophone and Free Improvisation), Lugano Ensemble from Switzerland and Martyna Kosecka (Piano and Electronics) from Poland.

Sources: Tehran Contemporary Music Frestival, Iran Daily, Facebook | Spectro Center,
(in Persian): tiwall.com, musicema.com 1, musicema.com 2, musicema.com 3, musicema.com 4, musicema.com 5, Honar Online 1, Honar Online 2, Honar Online 3, Honar Online 4, Honar Online 5, Honar Online 6, Honar Online 7, Honar Online 8, Honar Online 9, Honar Online 10

French orchestra touring in Iran

The Orchestre de l’Alliance, under the baton of Pejman Memarzadeh, performed at Vahdat Hall in Tehran earlier this week. Other performances are scheduled in the Iranian cities of Isfahan, Kerman and Shiraz.

In 1995 Pejman Memarzadeh, conductor and cellist of Iranian origin, founded the Association Les Musiciens de la Prée, with the aim of proposing a humanistic and innovative approach to classical music. In 2000 it became the Orchestre de l’Alliance.

All music related posts on the blog: https://theotheriran.com/tag/music/

Sources: Tavoos Online, Wikipedia | Orchestre de l’Alliance, Fars News, Honar Online

Isfahan Music Museum (Photos)

The Music Museum in Isfahan is a private museum opened thanks to the efforts of two masters in traditional Iranian music. The museum is divided in different sectors: national and local instruments, photgraphs, a teaching music hall and a rehearsal hall.

Listen to traditional Iranian music here: The other Iran | Music

Sources: Mehr News Agency, isfahanmusicmuseum.com (in Persian)

Opera ‘Kalileh and Demneh’ performed by children in Shiraz, Iran (Photos)

The opera of “Kalileh and Demneh”, arranged and conducted by Mohammad-Ali Fallahi, was performed by children younger than 12 years old at the Hafez Hall in Shiraz.

Kalileh and Demneh is a collection of didactic animal fables, with the jackals Kalileh and Demneh as two of the principal characters. Originally from India (between 500BCE and 100BCE), the fables were translated into many languages, undergoing significant changes in both form and content. In Persian literature Kalileh and Demneh has been known in different versions since the 6th century CE. In Sanskrit literature the story cycle is known as Panchatantra, while it was often called Fables of Bidpai in early modern Europe.

Sources: Mehr News Agency, Enciclopædia Iranica | Kalila wa Demna, Honaronline (in Persian)

Youth Music Festival 2015 in Tehran, Iran – Part 2: Winners (Photos)

Close to 250 young musicians participated in this festival which was held in two main sections of classical and traditional Iranian music. The competition was held in three age groups ranging from 10-27 years old.

In the classical section, the highest number of instrumentalists played the piano, violin and guitar, while in the traditional section santur, tar and setar were mostly present. Traditional Persian music was held in eight sub-categories, including seven instrumental and a vocal section.

Related article: Youth Music Festival Practice & Performance (Photos) – Part 1 https://theotheriran.com/2015/09/22/youth-music-festival-2015-in-tehran-iran-part-1-practice-performance-photos/

Sources: tavoosonline.com, MEHR | Photos, nay.ir

Youth Music Festival 2015 in Tehran, Iran – Part 1: Practice & Performance (Photos)

Close to 250 young musicians participated in this festival which was held in two main sections of classical and traditional Iranian music. The competition was held in three age groups ranging from 10-27 years old.

In the classical section, the highest number of instrumentalists played the piano, violin and guitar, while in the traditional section santur, tar and setar were mostly present. Traditional Persian music was held in eight sub-categories, including seven instrumental and a vocal section.

Sources: MEHR | Photos, nay.ir, honaronline.ir 1, honaronline.ir 2, Tavoos Online

Iran’s Pallet band launches concert tour in US

Iran’s Pallet music band has launched its new international concert tour with a successful performance in the US city of Portland. The group went on stage in Portland, Oregon on September 11. The tour will continue with concerts in 11 other US cities and wrap up in Washington D.C on October 4.

Iran's Pallett-music-band-US-tourAccording to bandleader and clarinetist Rouzbeh Esfandarmaz, Pallet will perform pieces from its two albums ‘Mr. Violet’ and ‘Tehran, Smile.’

Vocalist Omid Nemati, cellist Mahyar Tahmasebi, guitarist Kaveh Salehi and double-bass player Dariush Azar accompany Esfandarmaz during the tour.

The fusion band Pallet has held many concerts in Iran and other countries such as France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands.

More songs from Pallet: http://www.last.fm/music/Pallet+Band

Source: Payvand | News, Youtube.com

China Philarmonic Orchestra performed together with the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in Iran (Photos)

Iranian-Austrian conductor Alexander Rahbari conducted the Teheran Symphony Orchestra as it played Scheherazade by Rimski-Korsakov and Yu Long conducted the China Philharmonic playing the New World Symphony by Dvorak.

In preparation for the joint concert, Rahbari was in Beijing rehearsing with the China Philharmonic. “It’s a very nice orchestra,” he says. “I hadn’t been to Beijing before, but I am familiar with Chinese musicians and the way Chinese think. Over the past 40 years I’ve conducted a lot of orchestras with Chinese musicians.

“It took us just an hour and 40 minutes to finish rehearsals on the first day. This is a well disciplined orchestra. Good orchestras have similar qualities. When they get down to work, they’re not Chinese or Iranian or German; they’re all musicians.

Rahbari’s positive feelings about the orchestra seem to have been reciprocal. Zhao Yunpeng, the first cello, says: “He’s charismatic and he’s got very sharp ear. He seems to be able to pinpoint problems very quickly. […] We knew little about him before but the rehearsals have been terrific.”

The China Philharmonic Orchestra’s two-night appearance in Teheran is the fourth stop on a 14-day tour taking in five countries (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Iran and  Greece) on the Silk Road.

About Alexander Rahbari and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra
Rahbari first conducted the Teheran Symphony Orchestra about 40 years ago, before the Islamic revolution, when the orchestra was in its heyday and hosted the likes of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin and the choreographer Maurice Bejart.

Rahbari left Iran in 1976 and did not return for another 30 years. In 2005 he was invited to rebuild the Teheran Symphony Orchestra but turned down the offer on political grounds. But eight years later, when Hassan Rouhani was elected Iran’s president, he promised to revive the 80-year-old orchestra and invited Rahbari back.

Sources: China Daily | Musical diplomacy’s perfect harmony, Honar Online | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 2, Honar Online | Photos 2, ISNA | Photos

Duluth orchestra and Iranian composer make music history

For perhaps the first time since the Iranian revolution in 1979, an Iranian composer living in Iran collaborated with an American orchestra. It was the world premiere of “Kalileh,” a classic Persian fable set to music by composer Hooshyar Khayam, performed on July by the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra (LSCO), in Duluth, Minnesota.

The story of how a small orchestra in Duluth commissioned an original piece from a young Iranian composer begins last year, when conductor and artistic director Warren Friesen needed six more minutes of music for a concert. “So I literally went into YouTube, and I put in ‘piano and strings’ and let’s see what comes up,” he recalled. Thousands of pieces did and Friesen listened to snippets of dozens of them.

“I came across a piece called ‘Stained Glass’ by a composer I’d never heard of, with this funny name of Hooshyar Khayam. […] At this point I didn’t even know that Hooshyar was living in Tehran. All I knew was that I liked his music.” The LSCO performed the piece last July in Duluth, and an unlikely friendship was born between the 62-year-old Friesen and 36-year-old Khayam.

“I was very much moved by the extreme power of the musicians in the American orchestra, who could in fact play the Persian rhythms with that accuracy and that perfection,” Khayam said. So after that performance, Khayam agreed to create an original piece for shadow puppets and chamber orchestra based on an ancient Indian/Persian fable of the composer’s choice to play this year. Ultimately, Khayam added a youth chorus into the mix.

The result is “Kalileh,” based on an ancient Persian fable of the same name, which tells the story of a jackal, a trickster character, who seeks to become more powerful by becoming more beautiful. “The opening chorus, which I love, says ‘Come, Come Wanderer, lover of leaving, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times, come, come.’ It’s such a beautiful invitation,” Friesen said. The lyrics, explained Friesen, are verses of poetry written by famous 13th-century Persian poets Saadi and Rumi.

Khayam said the work “for me was more than a professional commission. I personally believe that ‘Kalileh’ shows something deeper of this relation of me as an Iranian with this wonderful orchestra in America. […] I’m always searching for sort of a higher meaning than only notes to listen to. […] The most important ingredient of this collaboration is that fact that it’s happening between two countries who have had years of misunderstanding and years of conflict.”

Khayam has collaborated with Friesen and others through Skype over the past year and visited Duluth for the performances.

All USA-Iran related posts on this blog: The other Iran | USA

About Hooshyar Khayam
Hooshyar Khayam (b. 1978) is an Iranian musician. He is active as a composer, pianist, and conductor. His works are in contemporary classical, contemporary jazz, Persian/world music; and in music for film, animation, dance, and theater.

He is the finalist of the Queen Elisabeth International Composition Competition for his piano concerto Before the Dream is Over (2013), first prize award winner of Franz Schubert and Modern Music International Composition Competition for his trio I Waited for You in Rain (2011), finalist of the Mauricio Kagel International Composition Competition (2013); Winner of Culture and Music Critic’s Prize: Tehran’s best album of the year for Tatari (2007); and 4-star winner Top of the World Albums by Songlines (75th issue) for his album All of You (with Amir Eslami, 2011) as distinctive music of Middle East.

Khayam has BM in Persian Music, University of Art, Tehran; AD in Piano Performance, Trinity College, London; MM and DMA in Composition, College-Conservatory of Music, Cincinnati. He lives and works in Tehran as an independent artist.

About Warren Friesen
Warren Friesen on Facebook

Further read: Duluth News Tribune | Duluth’s Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra set to bridge cultures with new work

Sources: Minnesota Public Radio News, Hooshyar Khayam | Biography, Duluth Reader | A musical blowout at the end of July 2015

Photos: Rehearsal of Tehran’s Symphony Orchestra

“I walked on to the stage and the audience rose to its feet,” said Alexander Rahbari, the principal conductor. “I’ve performed for 40 years outside Iran and never seen a standing ovation before the performance. This was something totally different. It showed what having the orchestra back meant to them. I was close to tears.”

The photos were taken during rehearsals at Vahdat Hall, Tehran, before performing for the first time after three years.

Related article:
The Guardian | Tehran’s reborn symphony orchestra: an ovation before playing a note

Sources: Honaronline | Photos, musicboard.ir | News (in Persian)

Interview with US Jazz saxophonist Bob Belden (first American musician to perform in Iran after 35 years)

Before the New York-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Bob Belden brought his band ANIMATION to Tehran, Iran, last month, it had been more than 35 years since American musicians had performed in the Middle Eastern country. Belden and his group performed to a sold-out, ecstatic audience of appreciative fans at Tehran’s Vahdat Auditorium and also got the chance to see parts of the country and meet with local residents.

Here parts of the Interview with the bands lead Bob Belden:

Did you have any resistance or other challenges from either American or Iranian officials?
BB: We never met nor saw any American officials and the Iranians officials we met and worked with were fantastic; a beautiful sense of humor, visionary, erudite and very open about our music. No challenges at any point during our stay in Iran. None! Smooth sailing from day one till we left on day nine, excepting some logistical issues beyond our control (huge traffic jams and the lingering effects of jet lag). Actually the only real challenge we had was eating all of the food that was laid out before us for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The city of Isfahan gave us credit to purchase gifts to take back home.

Where did you perform and what was the venue and the audience like?
BB: We had three gigs, only one with ANIMATION. The first “gig” was at a private school in Isfahan where young kids (ages 6-14) learn classical Iranian music. We listened to them perform and then jammed with them at the end of the informal concert. The second gig was only myself and Pete Clagett on trumpet and we performed at the Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran during the World Greco-Roman Championships. What was significant about that gig was the group we played with: eight Iranian musicians including three women in the group. We performed the traditional Iranian national anthem (“Ey Iran”) but what made this moment special was the inclusion of women at a sporting event in a Muslim country. Never happened before. Our final gig, the gig that was our purpose for being in Iran, was held at the old Tehran Opera House now named Vahdat Hall. A classical opera house by German design, the acoustics and the sound system were perfect. The stage crew was first-rate all the way. Great gear and a fantastic Iranian-American engineer Hamidreza Maleki recorded the event.

Were the Iranian people welcoming to American musicians?
BB: Incredibly welcoming. Everywhere we went the people we met we very happy to see us and then astounded that we were musicians and then euphoric that we played jazz. The word jazz means a lot to people outside the U.S. And we did come in contact with a lot of Iranians from all walks of life. We hung out at a Starbucks in Isfahan and met a lot of younger Iranians and we ended up posing for a lot of photos with those at the cafe. The Starbucks is not official but a personal note to Starbucks in the U.S.: huge market in Iran for your coffee and brand! (I don’t drink coffee but the cafe also had tea!).

There’s a photo of the audience giving the band a standing ovation. What did the people you spoke to there say about the music?
BB: The applause spoke for everyone at the concert. We got a lot of hits on Facebook from Iran and even people from the audience posting photos and sending pictures to the guys in the band. We did not go there to find exacting understanding of what we played (this does not exist in the U.S. either) but to find a common need for expression. Everyone in the audience at the hall just enjoyed the music outright and, most important, the Ministers of Culture and Guidance were in the front row applauding not only our concert but their effort to bring us there. We all made the gig!!

What was your perception of the Iranian people’s understanding of and appreciation for jazz?
BB: There has been a gap of information as to the specific development and nature of jazz in the U.S. since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Mostly the Iranians have been exposed to Europeans as the travel restrictions were not as difficult for musicians from Europe. That is why in Europe what we did is not deemed so important. I can’t speak for an entire country’s understanding of any music so I have no real idea of their appreciation of what anyone in the U.S. calls “jazz.” But it did not matter as the music culture in Iran is very deep and is thousands of years old. So they could relate to us based on pure musicianship, beyond the contextually limited language of jazz.

Did you get a chance to interact with Iranian musicians, and if so, what did they tell you?
BB: We interacted with some kids in Isfahan and also some classical musicians in Tehran. As this was an expeditionary trip we could not meet with musicians en masse. We did play with Iranian musicians at the Azadi Sports Complex. We did meet some Iranian musicians backstage at our concerts with the promise of returning to work with and record with Iranian musicians.

What would you like Americans, many of whom have been taught that Iran is not a U.S.-friendly nation, to know about the country and its people now that you’ve seen it first-hand?
BB: Perception is easy to create. Misperception is hard to break. In the U.S., for the most part since the Iranian Revolution, Iran has been subjected to a political and cultural analysis that is always shone in a negative light. It was as if thousands of years of history were negated to a footnote and the only history we intend to maintain in the U.S. is from 1979 onwards. This myopic view is not based on logic but composed of a systemic ignorance of global culture that is enabled by a weak education system in the U.S. and intense partisan calibrations meant to maintain a dark cloak of intrigue about Iran by people or entities that have agendas not expressed in their public statements. But a country is also made up of people, actual human beings, and this is what is most important for American citizens to understand. At the human level Iranians are the same as Americans. They eat food, they drink water, they have children and send them to schools. The parents fret over their kids just as parents here. People work for a living, they go to the movies, watch TV, ride the subways or buses to get to and from work. Young women scream at rock concerts for their favorite band. The traffic is similar to Los Angeles. English is spoken openly and quite well. Street signs are in Farsi and English. Magazines are in English and there are English newspapers. They have their own Burger Kings (called King Burger!), KFCs and pizza joints mixed with traditional Iranian food. And we ate at a truck stop that was emblazoned with the words FAST FOOD. For jazz musicians the words Truck Stop and Fast Food make you homesick!!

We could not sum up an entire country’s psyche in a week’s experience inside the country. Iran is a glorious and complicated country that lives in many different worlds at the same time, from the ancient to the modern. The people we met and worked with are beautiful people by any cultural definition. Sincere charm, subtle elegance and a very cosmopolitan demeanor were common in many of the people we met. Iran possesses a graceful and pastoral understanding of Islam. What we understood from being in an Islamic country is that if you use common sense and display an open respect for others then there is no problem at all reconciling the two views.

Source: Jazz Times | Bringing cultures together in peace

German guitarists joined tar virtuoso Keyvan Saket in Tehran concert

Seventeen guitarists led by conductor Helmut Oesterreich and supported by German’s Goethe Institute joined Iranian tar and setar virtuoso Keyvan Saket to give a fusion concert at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall.

The program was composed of three sections, the first contained compositions from the Baroque and Renaissance eras. In the second part Keyvan Saket accompanied the group as a soloist. The fusion concert “Meeting East and West in Mirror of Tar and Guitar” had Keyvan Saket, the orchestra and the guitarists performing together on the third section.

Other Germany related articles: https://theotheriran.com/tag/germany/

Sources: Tehran Times | News, Mehr News Agency | Photos, Honaronline.ir | News (in Persian)

Hamid Saeid: Iranian musician

Since his Internet hit, “Bad Shans” (hard luck), Hamid Saeid has become one of the best-known Iranian musicians with African roots. He’s traveled by motorbike across the province of Hormozgan, which is situated in the South of the country on the Persian Gulf, in order to realize his dream; to organize a concert with the best black musicians in the country. The documentary Dingomaro – Iran’s Black South by Kamran Heidari is a testimony of this trip.

Listen to Hamid Saeid performing Bad Shans (Hard luck):

Source: Autentic | Dingomaro – Iran’s Black South

Interview with German cellist Anja Lechner about her concerts in Iran

Anja Lechner, along with François Couturier – a veteran French pianist, previously performed concerts with the Tarkovsky Quartet during the 28th Fajr International Music Festival in Tehran in February 2013 and she also joined Armenian pianist Artur Avanesov in February 2014 to perform Garden II composed by Hushyar Khayyam in Tehran.

The following is an excerpt of an interview with the German musician translated by Iran Front Page:

Ms. Lechner, have you had a good time in Iran?
I must answer your question in one word: absolutely. Its attractiveness has made me travel to Tehran for a third time. During my trips to Iran, I have found it easy to establish a bond with the local culture and traditions. If I research my genealogy, I might come across my Eastern stock.

Were you satisfied with your two performances at Niavaran Cultural Center?
First of all, I found it unusual to stage solo performances for two nights in a row; it’s uncommon even in places where there is a mass audience. All tickets were sold out for the two solo performances, something which I had never experienced throughout my musical career. It struck me as unusual. To me, it’s one of the reasons why I consider performing in Iran appealing.

How was your performance received?
What was more important than the packed house was the way the audience formed a bond with us. That how much listeners concentrate on the quality of performance or digest the music in a heartfelt manner differs from audience to audience. For instance, I have not seen it much in Germany or other countries. People there might have considerable knowledge of previous works, but they listen to music, relying more on their prior knowledge than listening to the music. Musicians do not experience what happens in Iran very often; particularly in my case, because I opted for pieces which had not been heard much.

Germany related posts: The other Iran | Germany

Sources: Iran Front Page | Interviews, musicboard.ir | Anja Lechner Apr. 2015 (Photos: Ali Tajik), Mehr News Agency | News, Honaronline.ir | Anja Lechner at Niavaran 2015 (in Persian), Honaronline interview with Anja Lechner (in Persian)

Video: Impressions of US musician Bob Belden on Iran

The audience members in Tehran’s Vahdat concert hall rose from their seats, clapping wildly as the frontman Bob Belden, a fun-loving New Yorker with a predilection for loud shirts, rested his soprano saxophone on a nearby stand.

“We love you Bob!” someone shouted in English from the balcony after Mr. Belden, 58, finished his third song of the night. A Grammy Award-winning producer, composer and jazz performer, he smiled broadly. “It is an utter honor to be here in Iran,” Mr. Belden said, drawing even more cheers.

The concert last Friday was the first by an American musician in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

View Bob’s impressions on Video (Playlist: 4 short videos – keep on watching):

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance sat in the front row, nodding their heads to renditions of tunes by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Mr. Belden’s own compositions. The Iranians who filled the 1,200-seat theater clapped and cheered. They recorded video with their mobile phones of Mr. Belden and his four bandmates, who did little to suppress their own enthusiasm, waving, smiling and taking their own pictures of the audience.

The Tehran gig was the end of a short, wild tour through a country that officially considers the United States its enemy, but where people go out of their way to please guests, especially when they are American.

“This guy comes up to me, an Iranian; asks me where I’m from. I say, ‘America!’ He says, ‘I love you!’ ”

Mr. Belden said before Friday’s concert. “I tell him I’m a jazz musician. He says, ‘I love jazz!’ ”. “Everybody is nice to us here,” he added.

Source: The New York Times | Rebirth of the cool: American music makes a return to Iran

Photo gallery: Iran Fajr Music Festival 2015 – Summary, Winners & Closing Ceremony

Fajr International Music Festival is Iran’s most prestigious Music Festival founded in 1986. The festival is affiliated with UNESCO and includes national and international competition sections.

Since its establishment, many musicians from several countries like Austria, Germany, France participated in the event. The festival have enjoyed a strong presence of Asian countries as well.

This year ten foreign groups performed 15 concerts. The groups were from USA, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Estonia, Armenia, Tunisia and Iraq:

[Click the names of the artists to see the according posts and photo galleries on this blog]
US American saxophonist and Grammy Award winner Bob Belden and his band Animation
Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler. Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia.
Italian quartet Maurice led by violinist it Georgia Privera. Laura Bertolino, Francesco Vernero and Aline Privitera are the other members of the quartet. The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra. German Jazz-pianist and composer Johan Wendt, also known as Joja Wendt.
A string orchestra from Estonia, two duets from Armenia and musicians from Austria and Tunisia. Dutch quartet composed of tenor and soprano saxophonist Yuri Honing, pianist Wolfert Brederode, double bassist Ruben Samama and drummer Joost Lijbaart.

In the National Music section, Mohammad Reza Amou-Javadi was selected as the best composer. While, Kourosh Matin, Keyvan A’laei, Massoud Najafi and Hassan Soleimani were honored.

Houman Rofrof and Mohammad Hadi Ayanbod were jointly awarded as best composers in the non-Iranian Classical Music section. Ali Afshari was also honored. The Hamnavazan ensemble topped the Iranian Classical Music section.

Amir Hossein Ramezani and Maryam Sharifzadeh topped the Music Theses section, while Pirouzan Kouhi was honored.

The Ava-ye Mahan Choir, conducted by Nima Fatehi, was honored as the best vocal.

Sources: wikipedia | Fajr International Music Festival, Tehran Times, Iran Daily, IRNA | Photos, IRIB | Galleries, Tasnim News | Photos

30th Fajr International Music Festival in Iran – Photo gallery (part 2)

Some of the performers shown in the photo gallery below were covered earlier in this blog. To get some back ground and more photos or videos, please click:
https://theotheriran.com/tag/music/

Click on a photo to open in original size, and navigate through the gallery.

Sources:
IRNA| Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
ISNA | Photos 1, 2, 3
Tasnim News | Photos 1, 2

Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia performed in Iran

The two-part rendition by the famous Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia and the renowned German clarinet player Ulrich Drechsler saw music fans fill the hall leaving no vacant seats.

The duet, performed Saturday night, in the international section of the festival at Tehran’s Rudaki Hall, had the audience mesmerized for the high quality musical by the two virtuosos, IRNA reports.

Read more what Ulrich Drechsler said about Iran and Iranians here

Sources: Italian Embassy Tehran, Financial Tribune, IRNA | Photos

 

Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler: “I like Iranians for their kindness, politeness, and hospitality.”

Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler attended the 30th Fajr International Music Festival in Iran.

Austria based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler

Austria based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler

“I am addicted to food. When I came to Iran and a friend took me to a restaurant in northern district of Tehran and had kebab with a taste of saffron, I was in high spirits,” Ulrich Drechsler told the Persian service of ISNA on Sunday.
“Pomegranate juice and saffron ice cream, these are incredible and awesome. You make use of a variety of spice and vegetables in your food. I think I would own a restaurant in Iran if I could come back to this world once again,’ he exclaimed.

He continued that this is his second trip to Iran and hoped to return again in spring or summer.

“I have only stayed in Tehran during these days and have got to know only a little part of your culture. My friends have shown beautiful places like the Music Museum of Iran, and I was surprised to see such numbers of Iranian musical instruments,” he stated.

“I must say that the main thing in my life is my family, then food and after that music. I have fallen in love with Iranian life and the Iranian mentality,” he stated.

Drechsler also noted that he has got familiar with Iranian traditional music through works of Kayhan Kalhor, the famous Kamancheh (knee fiddle) player, and is a big fan of his works. He believes that music in Iran comes from the heart of the players so the factor of emotion “is so prominent in it.” Coming for the second time to Iran, he said, “I like Iranians for their kindness, politeness, and hospitality.”

Ulrich Drechsler and Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia have given two performances at the festival, which will come to an end on February 20.

The Iranian audience was highly entertained by a series of lullabies that Ulrich Drechsler performed at his concerts during the festival.

All posts about Music and foreign musicians in Iran on this blog:
https://theotheriran.com/tag/music/

Sources: Financial Tribune, Tehran Times

German Jazz pianist and composer Joja Wendt performed in Iran

German Jazz pianist and composer Johan Wendt aka Joja Wendt performed in Iran at the 30th Fajr International Music Festival.

Check out the other performances in the Fajr International Music Festival here (lots of interesting photos)

Sources: Tehran Times, jojawendt.com, imdb.com, German Embassy in Tehran, IRNA | Photos

 

30th Fajr International Music Festival in Iran – Photo gallery (part 1)

Fajr International Music Festival is Iran’s most prestigious Music Festival founded in 1986. The festival is affiliated with UNESCO and includes national and international competition sections.

Since its establishment, many musicians from several countries like Austria, Germany, France participated in the event. The festival have enjoyed a strong presence of Asian countries as well.

In addition to Iranian groups, this year ten foreign groups performed 15 concerts.

We had already posts about:
Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing and his band
US American saxophonist and Grammy Award winner Bob Belden

Sources: wikipedia | Fajr International Music Festival, Tehran Times, ISNA | Photos 1, ISNA | Photos 2, ISNA | Photos 3

Dutch saxophonist Yuri Honing and Band at Fajr Music Festival in Tehran, Iran

Dutch jazz saxophonist Yuri Honing performed a quartet at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on February 15 during the 30th edition of Fajr International Music Festival

An interesting statement Yuri did during his visit in Tehran was the following: “What one hears and reads about the Middle East in Europe does not conform to realities on the ground, including in Iran.”

About Yuri Honing
Yuri Honing is one of Holland’s most important saxophone players (according to the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD and the Oxford Introduction to jazz). Yuri Honing started his own Trio in 1990, with bassist Tony Overwater and drummer Joost Lijbaart. The absence of a chordal instrument in the band gives the threesome great harmonic freedom.

Honing had his first major success in 1996 with his album Star Tracks, which comprised recordings of pop songs as an alternative to the American Songbook. The album became a hit in the Netherlands and Germany, and gained significant notice in the UK as well.

His album ‘Seven’ recorded with Paul Bley, Gary Peacock and Paul Motion received the Edison Jazz Award (Dutch Grammy) in 2001.
In 2012 Yuri Honing was awarded with the Boy Edgar Prize, the most prestigious jazz prize in the Netherlands.

Other career highlights:
2001 Honing toured with Bley and bassist Charlie Haden.
2003 He performed with guitarist Pat Metheny and bassist Scott Colley.
2006 He recorded Symphonic with arranger and composer Vince Mendoza.

More photos including other artists: ISNA Photos

Sources: ISNA Photos, wikipedia | Yuri Honing, Iran Front Page

Hossein Alizadeh: Iranian Grammy Award nominee tours Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Italy starting Feb 27

Alizadeh, Hossein - Iranian tar virtuosoIranian tar virtuoso Hossein Alizadeh is scheduled to tour Europe to perform a series of concerts entitled “The Art of Improvisation”.

Kamancheh player Saba, who is Alizadeh’s son, and tombak virtuoso Behnam Samani will accompany him during the tour, which will begin at the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Gothenburg, Sweden on February 27.

The group will then perform at the Hvidovre Main Library in Copenhagen, the most populated city in Denmark.

Cosmopolite Scene in Oslo, Norway, will be the next stop for the ensemble on March 1 and then the group will leave for Venice to perform at the Centro Culturale Candiani on March 6.

The tour will come to an end at San Luigi Guanella, a major theater in Rome, on March 7.

The concerts will offer an attractive combination of traditional Persian music with an amalgam of percussion and stringed indigenous Iranian instruments.

About Hossein Alizadeh:
Hossein Alizâdeh , is an Iranian composer, radif-preserver, researcher, teacher, and tar and setar instrumentalist and improviser, described by Allmusic as a leading Iranian classical composer and musician.

He has made numerous recording with prominent musicians including Shajarian, Nazeri, Madjid Khaladj, and Gasparyan, and is a member of the Musical group, Masters of Persian Music.

Alizadeh was born in 1951 in Tehran to Azeri and Persian parents. He graduated from the music conservatory in 1975 and entered the school of fine arts in the University of Tehran where he studied composition and Persian music. He continued his education at the Berlin University of the Arts in composition and musicology. He studied with various masters of Traditional Persian Music such as Houshang Zarif, Ali Akbar Shahnazi, Nur-Ali Borumand, Mahmoud Karimi, Abdollah Davami, Yusef Forutan, and Sa’id Hormozi. From these masters he learned the radif of Persian classical music.

Alizadeh has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia and has appeared on many radio and television programs, including Radio France, RIAS in Berlin, WDR in Cologne, the BBC, KCRW in Los Angeles, and KPFA in Berkeley. Some of Alizadeh’s most noted compositions are, The Nava Improvisations (1976), Riders of the Plains of Hope (1977), Hesar (1977), Revolt (1983) for harp, string orchestra, and percussion, NeyNava (1983), Dream (1986) for harp and flute, Torkaman (1986), Raz-O-Niaz (1986), and Song of Compassion (1991).

He has been nominated for the 2007 Grammy Award along with Armenian musician, Djivan Gasparyan, for their collaboration album, The Endless Vision. In 2008, he was voted as “Iran’s most distinguished musician of the year”.

Listen to his music on last.fm: http://www.last.fm/music/Hossein+Alizadeh

Sources: Tehran Times , Wikipedia | Hossein Alizadeh , Iran Chamber

US American saxophonist and Grammy Award winner Bob Belden: “I will never forget Iran”

American saxophonist Bob Belden, who gave performances with his band Animation in Tehran, says he will never forget Iran.

Trumpeter Pete Clagett, keyboardist Roberto Verastegui, drummer Matt Young, and bassist Jair-Rohm Parker Wells are other members of ‘Animation’ who accompanied Belden in the Tehran performances.

In his short speech before the concert, he expressed his happiness to have been visiting Iran, adding that he and his companions found love and happiness in the presence of the Iranian audience. The musician also referred to their trips to the historical cities of Isfahan and Shiraz and added that they were delighted to see the cities and meet their good people.

In addition, Belden said that during their trips, they met several young Iranian musicians who were very talented. He asserted that he liked Iran and its people very much and especially enjoyed Persian kebab.

He called music the common language among all nations and said that he has found many friends through music in different countries. His speech was followed by performances of several pieces, some of which were from his Grammy nominee compositions.

Speaking of his interest in visiting Iran again, he said that he would download their performance in Tehran on internet sites to let other people watch and see where the concert was performed.

The 30th edition of Fajr International Music Festival ran from February 13 to 20 in different venues across the Iranian capital Tehran.

About Bob Belden:
James Robert Belden (born October 31, 1956) is an American saxophonist, arranger, composer, bandleader and producer. He is noted for his Grammy Award winning jazz orchestral recording titled The Black Dahlia. He is also a past head of A & R for Blue Note Records.

Sources: Payvand News of Iran, Wikipedia | Bob Belden

Keyhan Kalhor: Iranian music maestro and former Grammy awards nominee to perform in the US and Canada

Iranian musician and Kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor along with Indian sitar maestro Shujaat Husain Khan is slated to perform in New York, Boston and Irvine

The duo is planning to present their program accompanied by Ghazal Ensemble in the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University on March 22, 2015.

Ghazal (with Shujaat Hussein Khan and Sandeep Das) March 2015 events are:
13 Mar: Kay Meek Theater, Vancouver, Canada
15 Mar: Skirball Center, Los Anegeles, CA
17 Mar: Irvine Barclay Theater, Irvine, CA
19 Mar: Freer Gallery, Washington, DC
21 Mar: Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA
22 Mar: Schimmel Center at Pace University, NY
25-28 Mar: Agha Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada
29 Mar: Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, TX

Other Kayhan Kalhor early 2015 events (Europe, US): www.facebook.com/kalhor.kayhan

Iranian Kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor

Ghazal Ensemble, formed in 1997 by Kalhor and Husain Khan, has been touring the world and it is acclaimed for performing Indo-Persian music.

Described by the Los Angeles Times as “utterly captivating…an irresistible expression of creative musical passion,” Ghazal’s performances and recordings have garnered critical acclaim as well as a 2004 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album for their 2003 live album The Rain. Amazon named Ghazal’s first CD, Lost Songs of the Silk Road, to its list of the best 100 world music albums ever recorded.

Kalhor is known for his brilliant performances on the traditional instrument Kamancheh and creating a unique mixture of classical Persian music with folk tunes of the Kurdistan region.

He held many concerts along with the world-renowned musicians and ensembles such as the string quartet, Brooklyn Rider ensemble, in Minneapolis, United States, in 2012.

Kalhor also presented joint programs with the veteran Turkish Baglama player Erdal Erzincan in New York’s GlobalFest held at the Marlin Room on January 13, 2013.

He also performed introspective performances with a number of world-class Asian musicians at BT River of Music in London.

Shujaat Husain Khan is one of today’s greatest North Indian artists, who represent the seventh generation of illustrious musicians, which includes his father, the great sitarist Ustad Vilayat Khan.

BIOGRAPHY – KAYHAN KALHOR
Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle). His performances of Persian music and his many collaborations have attracted audiences around the globe.

Born in Tehran, Iran, he began his musical studies at the age of seven. At thirteen, he was invited to work with the National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran, where he performed for five years. When he was seventeen he began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center, the most prestigious arts organization in Iran at the time.  At a musical conservatory in Tehran around age 20 Kalhor worked under the directorship of Mohammad-Reza Lotfi who is from Northern Khorasan. He has traveled extensively throughout Iran, studying the music of its many regions, in particular those of Khorason and Kordestan. He later moved to Rome and Ottawa to study European classical music.

Kayhan has toured the world as a soloist with various ensembles and orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon.  He is co-founder of the renowned ensembles Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations and Masters of Persian Music. Kayhan has composed works for Iran’s most renowned vocalists Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri and has also performed and recorded with Iran’s greatest instrumentalists.

Kayhan has composed music for television and film and was most recently featured on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Copolla’s Youth Without Youth in a score that he collaborated on with Osvaldo Golijov. In 2004, Kayhan was invited by American composer John Adams to give a solo recital at Carnegie Hall as part of his Perspectives Series and in the same year he appeared on a double bill at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, sharing the program with the Festival Orchestra performing the Mozart Requiem. Kayhan is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and his compositions Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur, Silent City and Mountains Are Far Away, appear on all three of the Ensemble’s albums. His most recent commission for the Kölner Philharmonic in Germany will be premiered in October 2009.

Three of his recent recordings have been nominated for Grammys, Faryad, Without You and The Rain.  His new CD Silent City, with the innovative ensemble Brooklyn Rider, was released on the World Village label in September 2008 to critical acclaim.

Compositions
– Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur
– Gallop of a Thousand Horses
– I was There
– The Silent City
– Mountains Are Far Away

Sources: Press TVwww.kayhankalhor.net, Tehran TimesKODOOM.com, Philharmonic Society

Majid Derakhshani: Iranian composer and tar expert

Iranian-tar-musician-Majid-Derakhshani-HRMajid Derakhshani (born 13/09/1957 in Sangesar, Iran) is an acclaimed Iranian musician and composer.

He was born into a family of artists from the Iranian province Semnan. During his studies of string instruments and composition at the University of Tehran, the legendary Mohammad Reza Lotfi became his teacher.

Subsequent to his emigration to Germany he founded the Nawa Musikzentrum in Cologne; the primary and most active center for Persian classical music outside of Iran. In Iran Majid Derakhshani is deemed to be amongst the best on his instrument – the tar. Hence he carries the venerable title Ostad, denoting him as a master of his instrument. His virtuosity has been celebrated worldwide in festivals, concerts, radio and television productions. He is now considered as the best tar player in the world. He has composed for myriads of international musicians, such as the greatly renowned Iranian singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian (Album Dar Khial).

Here a video of his performance with the wonderful Mah Banoo ensemble:

More information and a list of his CDs: wikipedia | Majid Derakshani

More music-related posts: The other Iran | Music

 

Iranian-American music conductor and composer Shahrdad Rohani directed orchestra in Tehran

Acclaimed music conductor Shahrdad Rohani performed an orchestra for a big audience Friday night at Tehran’s Grand Hall of the Interior Ministry.

Shahrdad Rohani, born May 27, 1954 in Tehran, Iran is an Iranian-American composer, violinist/pianist, and conductor. His style is contemporary and he is well known for composing and conducting classical, instrumental, adult contemporary/new age, film soundtrack as well as pop music.

Early life
His father, Reza Rohani, was an accomplished musician and Shahrdad followed in his father’s footsteps. He started down the path of becoming a musician at the age of five when he learned to play the violin under the instruction of his father.

He was a student to a well-known Persian violinist, Ebrahim Rouhifar. At age 10 he attended the Persian National Music Conservatory of Tehran. He studied with a Swiss teacher named Basil as well as an Armenian teacher named Hagh Nazarian, who taught him to play the piano; they worked together for seven years.

After studying at the Tehran Conservatory, Shahrdad Rohani left his family, many of whom still remain in Iran, and traveled in 1975 to Austria where he attended the Academy and Conservatories of Music in Vienna. Then, in the early 1980’s, he accepted a scholarship to study music at UCLA and moved to the United States.

Musical career
From 1987 until 1991 Mr. Rohani served as the music director and conductor of the COTA symphony orchestra in Los Angeles. He has appeared as a guest conductor with a number of prestigious orchestras including London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras and many others.

Shahrdad arranged the music and conducted the orchestra to supplement Yanni’s keyboard compositions during the Yanni Live at the Acropolis concert in 1993, an open-air concert with the London Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra in the Parthenon, Athens, Greece. Shahrdad also played the violin in all but two of the tracks during this concert. Yanni Live at the Acropolis was acclaimed by both critics and audience and became the most widely viewed program ever shown on Public Television in United States and is the second best-selling music video of all time.

Rohani was commissioned in 1998 by the government of Thailand and the committee of the 13th Asian Games to compose and conduct the music for opening ceremonies. The composition became the most popular song of the Asian Games.

In 1999 Rohani received the Thailand’s Pikanes award, the country’s most prestigious music award for an outstanding orchestral performance. The award is considered the highest artistic achievement.

Sources: Mehr News Agency, wikipedia, IIP Digital | U.S. Department of State

Photo gallery + Video: Rastak – Iranian Band plays in Gorgan

Here you can enjoy them in action:

Rastak a new ensemble for contemporary Persian folk music was formed as an experimental music group in 1997. The group seeks to collect, record and interpret traditional Persian folk music for a global audience, incorporating language, culture and history also merging traditional instruments and forms with contemporary rhythms. The musicians who comprise Rastak have graduated from the best universities in Iran and have done extensive research into Persian folk music.

History
It all began when Siamak and Behzad became friends on a winter’s day in 1994. Three years later, Siamak and Behzad were discussing the idea of forming an ensemble for folk music based on research, collection and interpretation. In 1997 Rastak Music Group was founded in Tehran. …
2002 marks Rastak’s meeting with renowned musicians in folk music from all around Iran such as: Khalifeh Aghe Ghosi from Kurdistan, Noor Mohammad Dorpoor from Khorasan, Shir Mohammad Espandar From Sistan and Balouchestan, Mohsen Heidarieh from Booshehr, Ashigh Imran & Ashigh Hasan from azerbaidjan, Faroogh Kiani from Khorasan, Abolhasan Khoshroo & Mohammadreza Es’haghi from Mazandaran, Dr. Tekkeh & Ghlich Anvar from Turkemen Sahra. Along with these meetings, Rastak began field recording and collecting folk music pieces. These endeavors prepared the material for one of Rastak’s major productions published under the name of ” minimalism in persian folk music “. These recordings demanded a studio, therefor the group made one.

In 2006, Rastak took new members: Mohammad Mazhari, Yavar Ahmadifar, Akbar Esmaeelipour, Sahar Ebrahim, Sara Naderi, Kaveh Sarvarian and Hale Seyfizade. In addition to the new album, two concerts were conducted which gained considerable popularity.After Majid left and Sara Ahmadi joined the group , Rastak continued hiring educated and versatile musicians in terms of vocal and instrumental skills and capabilities for its international appearances. Eversince this time, Rastak has held worldwide concerts and made numerous recordings.

Sources:

http://irna.ir/fa/Photo/2799616/

http://www.whatsupiran.com/Profile/Rastak/About

Another good read is this beautiful travel blog by a german mexican couple who met Rastak accidently while traveeling through Iran:

http://www.tastingtravels.com/rastak-iranian-music/

 

Sussan Deyhim Performance at UCLA: The House is Black, on January 23 in Royce Hall Los Angles, USA

Sussan Deyhim, performance artist/vocalist and composer presents her latest work, inspired by the life and poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s most influential feminist poets and filmmakers of the 20th Century.

“For me, the most inspiring aspect of this project is the opportunity to introduce the great work and sensibility of an Iranian female icon to the international community. Many Iranian intellectuals consider Forough a cultural godmother of modernist literature in Iran, but she died so young (at the age of 32) that I also think of her as our cultural daughter. A rebel with a cause, Forough spoke with awe-inspiring rawness and maturity. She was an existentialist, feminist provocateur. She was Iran’s Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Maya Deren and Patti Smith all rolled into one. Her work has given me the inspiration to continue my own artistic journey during my 30 years in exile from Iran.”

Biography
Singer Sussan Deyhim was born in Tehran and has had a full career as a dancer. From 1971 to 1975, she was a part of Pars National Ballet, affiliated with Persian National Television. In 1976, she received a scholarship to MUDRA (Maurice Bejart’s School of Performing Arts). She then performed with Bejart’s Ballet of the XX Century.

Since 1980, Deyhim has been based in New York and has performed internationally as a vocalist, performance artist, and composer. She has collaborated with composers Mickey Hart, Jerry Garcia, Peter Gabriel (The Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack), Jaron Lanier, Branford Marsalis, Peter Seherer, Naut Humon, and others. She has also appeared in many international productions, including Jean Claude Van Italie’s The Tibetan Book of the Dead, directed by Assur Banipal Babilla, La Scala in Milan by Micha Van Heugh, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Nijinksi with Lindsay Kemp’s English Theatre Group in South America and Italy.

Her primary collaborator is composer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Horowitz. They began their collaboration in 1981 with Azaxattra: Desert Equations, and they have performed together since 1984. They have also created two media theatre pieces, ballets, and many feature and short film projects. In 1997, they released Majoun on the Sony Classical label. Deyhim can also be heard as a member of the improvising ensemble on Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs.

Sources: Payvand News of Iran, allmusic.com

Vocalist Hengameh Akhavan gives a concert in Tehran on December 26


Iranian vocalist Hengameh Akhavan will give a concert at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on December 26.
Tar player Azadeh Amiri, kamancheh players Shima Bolukifar and Nasim Arbabi, tonbak player Nazanin Pedarsani, and oud player Marjan Ravandi will accompany her during the Performance.

Hengameh Akhavan was born in Fuman, Gilan, Iran in 1955. She started singing at the age of ten. Her father taught her “Avaz-e Dashti” (One of the modes in Iranian modal system of music). She and her brother were part of their school singing group.

[…]

After finishing the elementary School she went to Tehran to visit her sister and her sister’s family. During her stay she was encouraged by her sister and her brother-in-law to stay in Tehran to continue her musical training and studies. […] For about ten years (1972-1982) she was the student of Ostad Adib-Khansari.

[…]

She started singing for Radio in 1975 collaborating with the Shayda, Aref and Samai Ensembles, recreating the works of Ghamar. In 1984 she was invited to collaborate with the Archive of Iranian national Radio and TV. She has performed many concerts in Iran and Europe.

Now she teaches vocal music. Nasrollah Nasehpoor has declared: “Hengameh Akhavan is one of the best female singers of Iran. She is the Second Ghamar.”

Sources
http://www.payvand.com/news/14/dec/1053.html
http://www.iranchamber.com/music/hakhavan/hengameh_akhavan.php

Sistanagila – The Rare Place Where Israelis And Iranians Play Together

by Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson for npr

What do you get when three Israelis, two Iranians and a German walk into a room? A Berlin-based world music ensemble known as Sistanagila, named after an Iranian province — Sistan and Baluchestan — and the popular Jewish folk song "Hava Nagila."

What do you get when three Israelis, two Iranians and a German walk into a room? A Berlin-based world music ensemble known as Sistanagila, named after an Iranian province — Sistan and Baluchestan — and the popular Jewish folk song “Hava Nagila.” (courtesy of Sistanagila)

Like many Iranians, Babak Shafian cringed over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his country’s former president, rhetoric about Israel. The 33-year-old computer scientist says the diatribes ignored thousands of years of shared history between Jews and Persians.

“The main thing which annoyed me really is that Ahmadinejad was presented in the Western media as the main voice of Iranian society,” says Shafian, who moved to Germany 14 years ago.

He decided the best antidote would be a musical collaboration with the alleged enemy. The problem, however, is that he didn’t know how to play a musical instrument. So three years ago, Shafian talked to friends and scoured the Internet to find Israelis and Iranians living in Berlin who did.

Yuval Halpern, a 34-year-old lsraeli composer there, recalls getting Shafian’s invitation through couchsurfing.org, a website that connects travelers with locals offering a place to crash.

“At first I thought he’s a terrorist wanting to kidnap me, as most Israelis think when they think of Iran,” Halpern says. “But then I thought I would just meet him and see how it is because I thought the idea was a nice one, and that is how it started.”

Shafian, his German wife, two other Israelis and two Iranians now form the band Sistanagila, which plays what members describe as world music with improvisations and a folksy flair. The name, like the group, is a mix of Israel and Iran, combining the names of an Iranian province and a popular Jewish folk song played at bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs and weddings.

Source: NPR

Mozart Medal holder Shajarian and Shahnaz ensemble to perform in London’s Appolo Hammersmith on October 26.

Mohammad Reza Shajarian

The world-renowned musician ensemble, Shahnaz, started its music tour at the Malmo Arena in Sweden on September 27.

Composer and tar virtuoso Majid Derakhshani, kamancheh virtuoso Saeed Farajpouri and several other musicians are accompanying Shajarian on this tour.

Shajarian is known as Iran’s contemporary traditional music legendary who has invented new string instruments dubbed Bam Sorahi, Saghar and Kereshmeh, designed for traditional Persian music.

The maestro, Shajarian, was honored with UNESCO’s Mozart Medal in 2006 and the 1999 prestigious Golden Picasso Medal.

http://iranfrontpage.com/news/cultures/music/2014/10/shahnaz-music-ensemble-go-stage-germany/

Iran hosts retrospective on Christian Iranian composer Loris Tjeknavorian’s music arts

A number of Iran’s leading music artists and cineastes attended the opening gala held on Oct. 9. […] Tjeknavorian was also honored with the lifetime achievement award during the gala.

Tjeknavorian has made nearly 100 recordings and written more than 75 compositions, including symphonies, operas, requiems, chamber music, ballet music, concertos, choral works and an oratorio.

He has conducted international orchestras throughout the world in numerous countries including Austria, the UK, the US, Canada, Hungary, Finland, the former USSR, Armenia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Denmark. […] The literary opera, Rostam and Sohrab and the requiem Departed and the Survived are among his best-known works.

Tjeknavorian has received numerous international awards such as Austria’s Cross of Honor for Science and Art First Class.

More info: http://iranianroots.com/2014/06/07/christian-composer-and-coductor-loris-tjeknavorian-one-of-the-most-celebrated-cultural-figures-in-iran/

Video: Face to Face – Iran music maestro Loris Tjeknavorian talks to PressTV (1 and 2)

Source: http://www.payvand.com/news/14/oct/1069.html

World-known Japanese composer Kitaro in Tehran, Iran

iran-kitaro-concert

Distinguished Japanese composer and instrumentalist Kitaro is in Tehran to stage concerts October 15-17.

“My heart is beating hard and I am so excited to see the audience in concerts,” Kitaro said on his arrival.

He also wished to have the opportunity to get acquainted with rich Persian music.

Former instrumentalists of Tehran Symphony Orchestra are to accompany the musician in the concerts.

A winner of a Grammy Award and a Golden Globe Award, Kitaro is regarded as a pioneer of New Age music. Kitaro has received fifteen Grammy Award nominations, winning once in 2000.

Source: http://iranfrontpage.com/news/cultures/music/2014/10/world-known-japanese-composer-kitaro-tehran/

All-female pop band to perform at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on September 4 and 5

An all-female Iranian pop band, will appear again to perform concerts at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on September 4 and 5.

The band, which is composed of five singers and 12 musicians, will perform a repertoire of Persian, English, French, Arabic, and Hindi songs during the performances.

Band leader Bahar Ilchi said that her band is the first all-female Iranian pop group to perform live in concert in Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

More infos and more photos:

http://www.payvand.com/news/14/sep/1017.html

Tar virtuoso Jalil Shahnaz

Jalili Shahnaz was born in 1921 in Isfahan, Persia (Iran). Shahnaz studied under the supervision of Abdolhossein Shahnazi and Hossein Shahnaz and befriended ney player Hassan Kassai.[2]

Persian classical vocalist Shajarian named his most recent musical group “Shahnaz” in honor of Masetro Shahnaz.[4]

Jalil Shahnaz died in Tehran on 17 June 2013.

Works

  • “Atr Afshan” (tar solo, accompanied by Mohammad Esmaeili, tombak).
  • “Zaban-e tar” (tar solo, accompanied by Jahangir Malek, tombak).
  • “15 Pieces for Tar & Setar” (transcribed by Houshang Zarif). Soroud Publications, Tehran, 2000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jalil_Shahnaz

Here is what Shajarian said about him on his commemoration ceremony

“I am glad to come together here again and to talk with the language of heart,” Shajarian said.

“I have been living with the voice of Shahnaz’s tar for years. When he performs it is as if he tells a story. All the motifs and words of his music are of the same nature and narrate a single subject,” he added.

“Few musicians I have seen are able to perform as illustratively as Shahnaz did. Shahnaz was the god of this job. With his instrument, he pictured everything,” he stated.

Shahnaz died at the age of 92 on June 17, 2013. Shajaran said during his funeral, “The master created love and passion inside me. I owe all my achievements to the voice of his tar. He is the only person who deserves the title of master [of tar playing]. Like Hafez, he is unrepeatable. With all respect to tar players, the book of Iranian tar playing should be closed after the death of Shahnaz.”

http://www.payvand.com/news/14/jun/1130.html

Related article:

https://theotheriran.com/2014/07/11/iranian-vocalist-mohammadreza-shajarian-to-receive-frances-highest-honor/

Iranian vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian to receive France’s highest honor

The living legend of Iranian traditional music Mohammadreza Shajarian will receive the medal of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in Paris next week.

Shahram Nazeri, another Iranian vocalist, received the honor on September 29, 2008 for the scholarly interest he has taken in the musical interpretation and vocalization of the transcendent lyrics of Rumi.

More about Shajarian

Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (Persian: محمدرضا شجريان‎) (born 23 September 1940) is an internationally and critically acclaimed Persian classical singer, composer and Ostad (master) of Persian music.[1][2][3] He has been called “Iran’s greatest living master of traditional Persian music.”[4] Shajarian is also known for his skills in Persian calligraphy, and humanitarian activities.

Shajarian was born in Mashhad, Iran, and started singing at the age of five, under the supervision of his father. At the age of twelve, he began studying the traditional classical repertoire known as the Radif.

Invention of New Musical Instruments

Shajarian has led the invention of many new Iranian classical music instruments, many of which were showcased in his 2012 concert tour with the Shahnaz Ensemble. Among these instruments are the Kereshmeh, the Saboo, the Saghar, the Sorahi, and the Tondar.

Awards and distinctions

  • One of NPR‘s 50 great voices.[6] (2010)
  • Nushin medal (2008)
  • The UNESCO award – the UNESCO Mozart Medal[7] (2006)
  • Nominated for Grammy award in Best World Music (2006)
  • Nominated for Grammy award in Best World Music (2004)
  • Iran’s best classical vocalist (2000)
  • Golden Picasso Medal (1999), one of UNESCO‘s highest honors
  • National radio and television golden cup (1977)
  • Prize presented by Turkish parliament speaker (1976)

http://www.payvand.com/news/14/jun/1130.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shajarian

Tehran, Iran Roudaki Opera House aka Vahdat Hall

Tehran, Iran Roudaki Opera House aka as Vahdat Hall

Tehran, Iran Roudaki Opera House aka as Vahdat Hall

Vahdat Hall or Talar-e Vahdat (built 1967) is an opera house in Tehran, Iran. Architect Aftandilian designed the building, partly modelled after the Vienna State Opera. Prior to 1979 it was known as Talar-e Rudaki.[1] Among the performances: Dundee Repertory Theatre, Mohammad Esmaili, Parvaz Homay, Leningrad Ballet, Marcel Marceau, Bagher Moazen, Gorgin Mousissian’s choir, Nour Ensemble, Pari Samar in Carmen, Tehran Symphony, Loris Tjeknavorian, Peyman Yazdanian. Other events in the space have included the Tehran Art Expo.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vahdat_Hall

Underground musicans in Iran

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In fact, music is becoming one of the most potent avenues for a new generation of newly empowered women, who sense a tide shifting in their opportunities in the country. They are expressing themselves in ways that previous generations could not have imagined since the Islamic Revolution. But the moderate stance of current president Hassan Rouhani has encouraged more artists and musicians to ply their wares, and tourists and travelers are taking notice.

ABC News met a young “underground” singer in Iran this week. She’s one of many young men and women who perform everything from metal and rock to jazz and R&B, including covers of famous American artists. ABC News spoke with Rana Farhan, a well-known Iranian singer based in New York.

What musical genres are most popular among young Iranians?

Iranian young people are like most young people. Their taste ranges from rock to hip-hop and R&B to traditional Iranian music. Although they can’t legally buy it, they find ways to grab songs from the Internet and share them. For instance, my website is blocked in Iran, but if any of my fans send me an email, I will send them my latest mp3s and encourage them to share.

Rest of the interviewcan be read here:

http://originalworldtravel.com/travel-news/?WPACRandom=1398533411393#comment-97

Fakhreddini and Sahbaii return to Iran’s National Orchestra and Tehran Symphony Orchestra

Farhad Fakhreddini and Manuchehr Sahbaii have been hired to conduct Iran’s National Orchestra and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO), two ensembles, which were almost dismantled over the past five years.

Left: Tehran Symphony Orchestra Conductor Manuchehr Sahbaii
Right: Iran’s National Orchestra Conductor Farhad Fakhreddini

http://www.payvand.com/news/14/apr/1051.html

Female Pianist Dena Taherianfar awarded with the Bita Prize

Stanford, California – In a ceremony held at Stanford University last Wednesday evening, March 12, 2014, global philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari awarded the First Annual Bita Prize for Young Persian Artists to acclaimed seventeen-year-old concert pianist Dena Taherianfar.

About Dena Taherianfar
Dena was born in Tehran, in November of 1996. She began taking lessons in piano when she was six years old. Her first teacher was Mrs. Shohreh J. Ghajar. Dena gave her debut concert in the renowned Roudaki Concert Hall of Tehran in 2008. At her teacher’s suggestion, Dena eventually moved to Vienna with her Mother (her father still in Iran) where she began to study piano with Prof. Stanislaw Tichonow at the Joseph Haydn Conservatory. She has won numerous national and international prizes. She performed at the Gala Concert in the House of “Music House” in Vienna and won two first prizes in the Austrian Youth Competitions “Prima La Musica.” She has also won first prizes in the International Competition “Concours Flame 2011” in Paris, “Valsesia Musica 2012” in Italy, and the “21st Century Art 2013” in Vienna.

http://www.payvand.com/news/14/mar/1144.html

Vigen or Viguen: popular Armenian-Iranian artist

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Vigen, born Vigen Derderian (November 23, 1929 – October 26, 2003), known as “Sultan of Pop” and “Sultan of Persian jazz”, was an immensely popular Iranian pop music singer and actor, well known throughout the Near East.

Vigen’s innovative and upbeat style of music had a great influence on paving the way for a new genre of Iranian music, influenced by Western European and Latin American styles.

Among his notable songs are Chera nemiraghsi? (Why you are not dancing?), Mahtab (Moonlight), Lala’ee (Lullaby), and Zane Irooni take (Iranian woman is unique). Ref: Wikipedia

Loris Tjeknavorian: Armenian-Iranian composer and holder of Iran’s “Top Medal of Art”

Tjeknavorian, Loris - Iranian composer and conductor - Foto by Arash Mirsepasi for Young Journalists ClubLoris Tjeknavorian (also spelled Cheknavarian) is an Iranian-Armenian composer and conductor. He was born in 1937 in Borujerd in the province of Lorestan, southwestern Iran, and was educated in Tehran.

In the course of his career, Tjeknavarian has made about 100 recordings (with RCA, Philips, EMI, ASV, etc.) and written more than 75 compositions (symphonies, operas, a requiem, chamber music, concerto for piano, violin, guitar, cello and pipa (Chinese lute), ballet music, choral works and an oratorio. And over 45 Film mosaics.

Tjeknavarian also has conducted international orchestras throughout the world: in Austria, UK, US, Canada, Hungary, Iran, Finland, former USSR, Armenia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Denmark, Israel, etc. In October 2010 he became the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra in Southern California. Glenn Treibitz, president of the Glendale Symphony said; “with Loris Tjeknavorian at the helm, our orchestra will automatically become one of the most prominent in the Western USA.”

Awards
– Austria’s Presidential Gold Medal of Artistic Merit (2008)
– Austria’s Cross of Honor for Science and Art, first class (2008)
– Awarded “Top Medal of Art”, Iran’s highest medal for performing arts (2002)

Sources: Wikipedia | Loris Tjeknavorian

Iran Heritage Foundation’s Norouz Gala 2014 in London

Iran Heritage Foundation invites you to celebrate The Persian New Year NOROUZ with its legendary hospitality on Saturday 22nd March 2014 at The Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London W1K 7TN. Featuring: Rising Star Rana Mansour.

About Rana Mansour
Rana Mansour has performed her original song entitled “No Place Like Home” on Bravo TV’s hit show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. A Finalist of the VH1 ‘Song of the Year’ Competition, Rana earned her Bachelor’s in Music with honors at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Currently, Rana lives in Los Angeles where she is working on releasing her first Persian album with producer Erwin Khachikian (Serj Tankian) while also continuing to pursue her music career in the American market with their new project ‘The Animates‘. The Animates released their first single ‘IN mY hEAd‘ in January 2014.

Hamed Nikpay and International ensemble performing Persian-Flamenco fusion in London

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A couple of weeks ago I was in London with a great Persian singer and multi-instrumentalist called Hamed Nikpay to play a show and do a live in-studio recording for the BBC Persia channel. The show was at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, and the recording session was at one of London’s famous rehearsal and recording studios, Premises Studios and was for the BBC’s Persian channel.

I had never played with Hamed before (or with any Persian musicians – except for a few rehearsals and a little warm-up gig we did in L.A. before we left), but he always has a flamenco guitarist with him (usually my good friend Alfredo Cáceres, who couldn’t make these dates), as he likes the vibe that gives. I don’t know much about Persian music, but apparently this is fusion and that’s the sound he likes, and it certainly sounds right. The musical director was sax player Farzin Farhadi, the percussionist was Greg Ellis , 

and the bass player was Eric Klerks, who besides being a great bass player is the one of the guitarists with the Magic Band. There were also two dancers – Paris-based Persian dancer Sharokh Moshkin Ghalam and Paris-based flamenco dancer Karen Gonzales.

You can see some of the great photos shot for the BBC at Cadogan Hall here, and you can see some of my not-so-amazing photos of the trip in the gallery below. Here’s a video that has some interviews with the guys in Farsi and some good footage of the show.

http://www.guitarsalon.com/blog/?p=4690#more-4690

A possible revival of Tehran’s and Iran’s National Symphony Orchestras

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WASHINGTON — Alexander Rahbari fondly recalls his last stint conducting the Tehran Symphony Orchestra. It was the fall of 2005, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was on the card, and the Iranian capital’s Vahdat Hall was packed.

“I conducted Beethoven’s Ninth in Tehran for seven nights. If I said I conducted the Ninth for seven nights in New York or Austria, I would be asked if there was anyone in the audience — after two nights the hall would be empty,” Rahbari said.

“But [in Tehran] it was full — so many people came. Later some newspapers complained that, after returning to Iran after so many years, I conducted the symphony for only seven nights.” […]

In 2012, the funding problems that Rahbari and his successors complained about silenced the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, whose roots dating back to the 1930s made it one of the oldest in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Iran’s National Orchestra, founded by Iranian-born composer and conductor Farhad Fakhreddini in 1998, suffered similar difficulties. Fakhreddini himself resigned in 1999, and the orchestra that performed only classical Iranian music dissolved in October 2012. […]

The election of President Hassan Rohani in 2013 has provided a glimmer of hope for the country’s orchestra scene, however.

“I’m very sorry that the [Tehran] Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra have been shut down,” Rohani said in a January 8 speech to artists and cultural figures. “This government will revive them in the coming months.” […]

Iran’s culture minister, Ali Jannati, added to the optimism when he said at the Fajr International Music Festival last week that the government aims to strengthen Music.