Layla Ramezan, Iranian Pianist

Iranian pianist Layla Ramezan has always sought to create a connection between her Persian origin and the contemporary music which she encounters daily. Sound, phrasing, a particular sense of rhythm and a refined understanding of the “time of musical development” are the foremost qualities of her interpretations. Her musical and pianistic education began in Tehran at the age of 8 with Mostafa-Kamal Poortorab. Having moved to Paris and received a scholarship from Albert Roussel Foundation, she integrated the classes of Jean Micault and Devi Erlih at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, where she received a Diplôme de Virtuosité in piano performance and chamber music.

She was later awarded a Diplôme d’Etudes Musicales with distinction, at the Conservatoire National de Saint-Maur des Fossés et de Créteil in France with Jacqueline Bourgès Maunoury and Christophe Bukudjian. Layla went on to gain two Masters, in musical interpretation (concert diploma) and accompaniment, at the Haute Ecole de Musique of Lausanne, Switzerland.

In December 2014, she was invited to give two exceptional recitals in Iran, entitled “100 Years of Iranian Piano Music”. For this event, she has brought together almost twenty Iranian composers from all over the world, mixing styles and generations, and including many young creators from contemporary Iran. She is the President and pianist of Matka Contemporary Ensemble based in Geneva with which she organized several cultural projects between Iran and Switzerland: In 2013, she organized a four-month residency at the Maison Baron in Geneva for Karen Keyhani, following the Matka ensemble’s commission of a work by this young composer. A concert was organised, entitled “A Contemporary Reading of Persian Music” and bringing together Iranian and French composers.

In 2015 she set up a project comprising new works for small ensemble by Iranian, French, Swiss and American composers with collaboration of Center for Iranian music in Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon University. These were premiered in February 2015 at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, then in Geneva, Switzerland. She was invited in May 2016 to play as a soloist with the Tehran Symphonic Orchestra, in December 2016 with Tehran New Music Orchestra and in September 2016 as the member of jury of « 10th National Festival of Youth Music » in Tehran. Layla Ramezan performs regularly in live broadcast on RTS Espace 2.

She prepares the recordings of «100 years of Iranian music for piano» in a collection of four CDs with Label Paraty Production, Harmonia Mundi distribution. Iran is a nation whose musical tradition harks back to ancestral times. To this day, traditional music remains extremely important in the country’s culture, alongside different strains of regional folk music. Classical Western music was introduced in the 1900s, mainly through contact with France, and classical Iranian music, despite its recent origin, fascinates by its incredible variety and blending of multiple elements.

The first CD of this collection which will be available on February 2017, is entitled «Composers from the 1950s». The composers on this record, born between 1928 and 1958, perfectly illustrate this specific diversity. Most of them were educated in Europe, mainly in Austria and France, but some also studied in the United States. And, although their musical styles sometimes radically differ from each other, they are all purveyors of a musical tradition which never ceases to reinvent itself.

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Hassan Kassai, Ney Virtuoso

The name of Maestro Hassan Kassai is so vehemently intertwined with Ney (Persian reed flute) that one cannot imagine one without the other immediately coming into mind. Ney is one of the instruments which went through a lot of ups and downs in the history of the Iranian music since the time of Sassanid kings to the time when shepherds found playing it consoling when they took their cattle for grazing. However, Nay could never demonstrate its main capacities to gain a stable position among the musicians and the people like other instruments including Oud, Tar, Santour, all sorts of bowed string instruments and plucked string instruments.

Iranian Fallacies – Global Performance

One of the most important criteria for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music is number of times the piece has been performance by different ensembles and orchestras in different eras. This belief has become so pervasive in some societies, such as Iranian society, that it is considered the only criterion for measuring the quality of a piece of classical music.

From Past Days…

Payam Taghadossi: Talented Iranian-Austrian Cellist

Payam Taghadossi (born in 1989) started his musical education at the age of 4 years with Monika Scherbaum in Bregenz (Austria). At the Conservatory Feldkirch he joined the class of Imke Frank and Martin Merker. Later he studied in Zurich (Switzerland) with Thomas Grossenbacher and Christian Proske, where he 2011 graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance. Two years later as the student of Rafael Rosenfeld he received his Master of Arts in Music Performance diploma and later graduated as a Master of Arts in spezialized Music Performance in 2016 from the Hochschule für Musik Basel FHNW.

Principles of Violin Playing (I)

The present series of training articles, “Principles of Violin Playing”, seek to help students, to appropriately understand this field, by gradually introducing, categorizing, and teaching the myriad relevant points. One of the principles of playing violin, which must be always kept in mind, is that the selection of the most natural position for the body parts while playing is the best and most appropriate solution. As a matter of fact, any unnatural body part position which requires lots of energy or unusual stretching to maintain, is wrong.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (I)

Despite the fact that Iranian folk music (regional music of Iran), like the Radif of Iranian traditional music, is monophonic and follows heterophony in principal, we experience polyphonic forms, albeit, majorly unconscious.

Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (III)

Developments in Composing

Along with developments in the Iranian instruments, composition of the Iranian pieces developed as well. As a matter of fact, the developments of the two, mutually affected each other. In other words, instrumental developments led to developments in composition and vice versa.

Layla Ramezan, Iranian Pianist

Iranian pianist Layla Ramezan has always sought to create a connection between her Persian origin and the contemporary music which she encounters daily. Sound, phrasing, a particular sense of rhythm and a refined understanding of the “time of musical development” are the foremost qualities of her interpretations. Her musical and pianistic education began in Tehran at the age of 8 with Mostafa-Kamal Poortorab. Having moved to Paris and received a scholarship from Albert Roussel Foundation, she integrated the classes of Jean Micault and Devi Erlih at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot, where she received a Diplôme de Virtuosité in piano performance and chamber music.

Quality Decline in Regional Music Festivals

Regional music festivals are organized to, firstly, introduce the music of different regions and, secondly, to support its performers. Regional music festivals are held in large cities for various reasons, including the availability of financial and executive facilities and the presence of an audience. However, the organization of these festivals has always been one of the challenging issues of ethnomusicology. The reason is that the presence of regional music performers in large cities places them in a context other than the context they would normally perform in their homes; consequently this change in situation leads to changes in the quality of their performance.

Principles of Violin Playing (VIII)

1.5.1.3.sometimes, a player, due to different reasons, may decisively want to play continuously two notes with a half-step by means of the same finger, in such a case, it’s necessary to open the interior curve of the finger like a spring. Naturally coming back, the curve of finger should be closed and the finger should become curved shape again (see paragraph 3.1.2.1).

“Pledge of Love”

The “Pledge of Love” is the first album in a series composed based on the tasnifs by the renowned Iranian tasnif-maker Mohammad Ali Amir Jahed and recorded by Sahba Kohan Ensemble with Ramin Bahiraie as signer.

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs was held in Niavaran Cultural Center, in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 28th, 2015. The initiator of the festival was Sajjad Pourghanad, Iranian music writer, researcher, founder of the festival and Persian setar and tar player.

Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra

Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra is an Iranian percussion orchestra featuring 40 lady percussionists. The Orchestra was established as Iran’s largest all-female percussion orchestra in 2008 by Ms. Minoo Rezaei under the title Naerika Percussion Orchestra and changed its name to Avaye Naerika in 2017.