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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History’s Impact on Evaluating a Work of Art

With this description, we have automatically included a criterion called “History”, Until we know the time of the creation of a work of art, we cannot judge whether it has been easy to create or not. Suppose that, in a historical study, we find a musical work that is similar in compositional techniques (including form, melody, context, and orchestration) to a minor work of the nineteenth century; however, our research proves that, this work dates back to 200 years prior to that date. Can we still consider this work insignificant? Definitely not! So this is where the first use of history-based judgment comes into play.

Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, performed at Suntory Hall

On June 19, 2021 , young Iranian composer and pianist, Farhad Poupel’s piece, Road to Bach, was performed at the prestigious Suntory Hall by the great Japanese pianist, Kotaro Fukuma. The piece was commissioned by Kotaro Fukuma to have its world premiere in Suntory Hall during a concert by the same name.

From Past Days…

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.

Iranian Fallacies – Composition and Arrangement

In the tradition of classical music, it is generally tried to use the same technical terms related to music in all countries. Even in the cultures in which native terms exist to refer to musical terms, usually the better known universal terms are employed.

Simorgh Criticised

Simorgh (Simorq) Orchestra was founded by the renowned Iranian composer, Hamid Motebassem, in 2011. Simorgh Orchestra is the largest orchestra featuring Iranian national instruments. Although the orchestra established by Master Hossein Dehlavi, the great Iranian composer, in 1993 was larger than Simorgh Orchestra, it only featured the Iranian plucked string instruments unlike the latter one. The first album which was recorded by the Orchestra, conducted under Motebassem’s baton, was his Simorq based on Zal story from Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, the great Iranian poet.

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.

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.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (V)

In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].

Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (II)

Santour:
Nine-bridge and twelve-bridge Sanours were both used until the early Pahlavi dynasty. However, as Faramarz Payvar devised new methods for playing the nine-bridge Sanour, this variety of the instrument which was hammered by felted sticks became popular.

Violin’s inner mold, an essential factor in developing the idea of violin

A part of the secrets of the masterpieces from the golden era lies in the special design of the instruments, as a result of a profound insight to and awareness of the significance of the precise calculation of the various components of the object of arts being created, such as making a violin or a bow.

A year without Mohsen Ghanebasiri

The year 1396 (21 March 2017-20 March 2018) was the most sorrowful year for HarmonyTalk journal. One month after holding HarmonyTalk’s 13th establishment anniversary in Mohsen Ghanebasiri’s house in Tehran in April 2017, he untimely passed away. Mohsen Ghanebasiri was the prominent HarmonyTalk author.

Ashoura Opera

Ashura Opera was composed by Behzad Abdi, the Iranian composer, in 2008 based on librettos compiled by Behrouz Gharib. The main source for the libretto is poems by Mohtasham Kashani, a sixteenth century Iranian poet.