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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Principles of Violin Playing (X)

Creating sound continuity between two notes in the source and destination positions when left hand position changes and “two different finger numbers” are involved is called portamento. Portamento can be performed on single string or two neighboring strings and with hand moving on fingerboard either upward or downward.

Musical Sense or Technique?

One of the most popular terms used by Iranian instrumentalists is the existence or a lack of musical “sense”. Both musicians and fans of music consider having “sense” while playing music as an important principle to the extent that they use it vis-a-vis having technique.

From Past Days…


Principles of Violin Playing (VIII), 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


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.


Call for papers SIMF 1396

The Association of Iranian Contemporary Music Composers (ACIMC) and SHAHREAFTAB Art & Cultural Association are pleased to announce a call for papers for SIMF 1396.


From the Last Instrumentalist to the First Composer (I)

Music as an art has its own special history; emergence of a singer, of an instrumentalist and then the emergence of the strong character of a composer covers three significant phases of the art of music. With the emergence of composer which was simultaneous with the emergence of the language of music, this art managed to offer a domain for criticism for its composer; a procedure which led to a magnificent variety and evolution in musical production. Even though the conflicts between singers and instrumentalists have not met their end in the Iranian society and while singers can achieve high, instrumentalists have yet to play behind curtains . In a special era, with the efforts of musicians such as Ali Naghi Vaziri (1887-1979) and Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965), glimmers of a composing era started to glow bearing fruit in Khaleghi’s achievement as Iran’s first professional composer. Khaleghi made his reputation as a composer while Vaziri deserved to pioneer this path. By then Vaziri was well-known as a Tar player.


Principles of Violin Playing (IX)

4.3.1. To practice playing of doubles of notes involving two different fingers, each note is played at separate bows with slow tempo, each note is played perfectly regarding its bass and tenor sounds and then the considered double is played at another bow while considering the resulted sound of the double.


A note on “Illusion or Ingenuity” article

The author of the “Illusion or Ingenuity” article, who is apprehensive of the future of the Music in Iran, enumerates some symptoms of the music weakening in the country for example decreasing in the quality of the music as well as lack of the innovation in creating them, a gradual decline in the music public taste and the drop in the application of layered sound and polyphony in music. He explains that one reason for this gradual weakening might be our unawareness of the fact that we are not so intelligent nation. He believes that we, Iranians, have a comprehensive “Illusion of the high national intelligence “that make us ignorant of the unfavorable realities of our music and consequently no searching for the remedy is taking place. His point of view brings to the mind a patient who thinks he is healthy, therefore delays the treatment and finally is killed by the disease. The author also refers to the national difficulties which gradually will lower the national intelligence score such as the increased rate of the immigration and brain drain, low quality of the nutrition, incompetence of the education system and etc and predicts that the condition of the music of Iran might deteriorate in the future because of the mentioned illusion of its great status.


A Promising Concert by National Instruments Orchestra

The National Instruments Orchestra of Iran performed its first concert amid much hope and anxiety on July 18, 2015. The Orchestra is founded by Roudaki Cultural and Arts Foundation which is a semi-private foundation in Iran. The Arts Director for the National Instruments Orchestra of Iran is cand the Orchestra Executive Director is Sadjad Pourghand.


Banan: the Artist of the Age

Gholam Hossein Banan was born in 1911 in Tehran. He was born in an affluent art-loving family who were Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1848-1896)’s relative. The Qajar King was his mother’s uncle on her father’s side. He learnt his first lessons in music while his father sang Iranian avaz (improvised rhythmic-free singing), he then attended classes by the renowned Iranian composer, Morteza Neydavoud (1900-1990) along with his sisters; the composer is, therefore, considered as his first teacher. He then learnt Iranian avaz under the supervision of Mirza Taher Zia Resaee (Zia-o Zakerin) and Naser Seif in an oral manner.


Shaahin Mohajeri Wins UnTwelve Composition Competition

UnTwelve Non-profit Organization announced the results of its 2014/2015 composition competition on January 28, 2015. Shaahin Mohajeri, an Iranian Tonbak player, microtonalist, acoustician and composer, was awarded the second prize for his piece “Castle of Babak.”


Iranian Contradictions: Iranian Chords

Finding a way to harmonize the Iranian music has been the subject of controversy among Iranian musicians for a long time. Some believe in the creation of harmonies for Iranian music based on a method which is similar to the tierce harmony; while others have either selected or invented some other methods. There are also some musicians who do not basically agree with the harmonization of the Iranian music.