Tag Archives: Poetry

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

BBC: The book in every Iranian home

Iranian poet Hafez (1320-1389). He influenced centuries later Thoreau, Goethe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson among others. Emerson referred to him as

Iranian poet Hafez (1320-1389). He influenced centuries later Thoreau, Goethe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson among others. Emerson referred to him as “a poet’s poet”.

The works of the 14th Century poet Hafez can be found in almost every Iranian home – more than 600 years after his death, the writer still offers an insight into his country’s identity.

In Iran they say there are two books in every household – the Koran and Hafez. One is read, the other is not.

To understand this joke you need do no more than join the millions who regularly throng the tomb of Hafez, the 14th Century poet of Shiraz and Iran’s national hero, as I did one recent afternoon. The atmosphere was buzzing, happy and relaxed – Iran at its best.

Day and night the tomb, raised up on a beautifully decorated dais surrounded by its own fragrant rose gardens, water channels and orange trees, is crowded with devotees stroking Hafez’s alabaster sarcophagus, declaiming his verses, relishing his clever plays on words.

Hafez represents all the rich complexities of the Iranian identity. His brilliant use of metaphors in their native Farsi language unites them. […]

Thanks to Hafez, Shiraz is Iran’s most liberal city. […] the lively groups both young and old, men and women mix freely, laughing and chatting together. […]

As the sun disappears from the sky and the illuminations come on round the tomb, the atmosphere becomes ever more festive. People start singing and reciting their favourite poems. Children dangle their feet in the pools, giggling and soaking up their parents’ infectious high spirits.

The scene conceals the paradoxes of Iran but, thanks to the Mullah’s policy of education for all, there are some surprising changes afoot in Iranian society.

More women than men now graduate from university. The birth rate has dropped so dramatically, to one child per family, that the clerics have introduced financial incentives for couples to breed more. Most refuse, saying that it is still too expensive to have more than one child.

While the west remains obsessed with Iran’s nuclear enrichment it is an open secret that the well-connected clerics and businessmen enrich themselves through sanction busting. […]

Rubaiyee 21, by Hafez
Don’t make me fall in love with that face.
Don’t let the drunk the wine seller embrace.
Sufi, you know the pace of this path.
The lovers and drunks don’t disgrace.

Unfortunately for the mullahs the mystic poetry of Hafez, besides lauding the joys of love and wine, also targeted religious hypocrisy.

“Preachers who display their piety in prayer and pulpit,” he wrote 600 years ago, “behave differently when they’re alone. Why do those who demand repentance do so little of it?”

[…]

Read the complete article: BBC | News | The book in every Iranian home by Diana Darke

Iran’s Sa’adi and Spain’s Cervantes were honored in Madrid

Sa’adi-Cervantes

Spain hosted a joint literary conference on the life and works of Persian poet Sa’adi and Spanish classic author Miguel de Cervantes.

After a commemorative ceremony in Iran in April to pay tribute to Iranian and Spanish literary giants, they were remembered in Madrid in late October.

The Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) hosted Sa’adi and Cervantes Conference on October 28-29 with Iranian and Spanish academicians attending.

Ali Asghar Mohammadkhani, the manager of Shahre Ketab (City of Book) International and Cultural Affairs, interviewed before the conference started, said, “Shahre Ketab hosted the ceremony to honor Sa’adi and Cervantes on April 21-22 on the occasion of Sa’adi National Day, and we planned a Madrid conference as well to be held in late October in Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). The conference is a concerted effort by Shahre Ketab International and Cultural center, the Center for Sa’adi Studies, Iran’s cultural attaché in Madrid, and UCM, where 11 literary historians and critics will deliver lectures on Sa’adi and Cervantes.”

“Iranian delegation will be in Cervantes’ birthplace in Alcala at the invitation of the University of Alcala, and will have meetings with Spain’s contemporary poets and literary figures. The delegation will also meet Persian literature professors in Madrid and Barcelona Universities,” he concluded.

Source
Iran Front Page: http://iranfrontpage.com/news/cultures/literatures/2014/10/saadi-cervantes-honored-madrid/

Ahmad Shamloo – awarded Iranian poet, writer and journalist

https://i1.wp.com/i1.ytimg.com/vi/_c9Fa-8F_wA/hqdefault.jpg
Ahmad Shamloo (Persian: احمد شاملو‎, also known under his pen name A. Bamdad (December 12, 1925 – July 24, 2000) was a Persian poet, writer, and journalist. Shamlou was arguably the most influential poet of modern Iran. His initial poetry was influenced by and in the tradition of Nima Youshij.
Shamlou has translated extensively from French to Persian and his own works are also translated into a number of languages.
His thirteen-volume Ketab-e Koucheh (The Book of Alley) is a major contribution in understanding the Iranian folklore beliefs and language. He also wrote fiction and Screenplays, contributing to children’s literature, and journalism.
Some of his books
  • The Forgotten Songs (1947)
  • Poems of Iron and Feelings (1953)
  • Blossoming in the Mist (1970)

Awards

  • Forooghe Farrokhzad Prize, 1973
  • Freedom of Expression Award given by Human Rights Watch, 1990
  • Stig Dagerman Prize, 1999
  • Free Word Award given by Poets of All Nations in Netherlands, 2000

Iranian artist Mohammadreza Javadinasab – master of caligraphy

The Iranian artist Mohammadreza Javadinasab has recently created a number of calligraphic paintings on some Iranian percussion instruments called daf. The collection, which comprises 30 works, is scheduled to be showcased in an exhibition, which will open at the Panjareh Gallery in Tehran on May 2.

A calligraphic painting by Mohammadreza Javadinasab depicting a poem by Rumi

A calligraphic painting by Mohammadreza Javadinasab depicting a poem by Rumi

Javadinasab has been practicing the nastaliq style of calligraphy over the past 20 years and has held several exhibits.

http://www.payvand.com/news/14/apr/1166.html