Hossein Aslani passed away!

Hossein Aslani, Iranian pianist residing in the US, passed away due to cancer in late January 2020. His last musical activity was an article written for Harmony Talk entitled “Iran amidst musical struggle” in 2016, his memoir entitled “I Play You Again” in the same year and his album “Symbolic Emotion” published by Arganoun Publications in 2014. Here is a brief biography of Hossein Aslani according to his own website:
Hossein Aslani was born in the village of Shahghaji in Gilan, Iran in 1936. After elementary education, he moved alone to Tehran. While completing his high school years and surviving for sustenance on labor-intensive daily jobs, he entered the music world by mastering accordion.

audio file Listen to “Hope and Hopelessness” for Piano

Recommended by a close clarinet virtuoso friend the late Hossein Shahverdi, he entered the international conservatory of music in Tehran in Vahdat Hall in 1958. He was trained under the tutelage of renowned western classical music scholars of the era in piano by Tatania Kharatian, music theory and solfeggio by Fereidun Farzaneh, and harmony and orchestration by Houshang Ostovar. Hossein Aslani was also invited to join the national radio Iran as a composer, arranger and pianist in 1965.

audio file Liaten to a part of the String Quartet

In an era when Pop music was still regarded as an artistic classic genre, Aslani was instrumental in popularizing it among the youth in particular, through his innovative polyphonic and independent melodic lines. He employed wind instrument ensembles, electric guitar and percussion. This was manifest through performances by the late vocalist Mohammad Nouri and many other singers of the era during 1968-71. Concurrently, with his professional endeavors, he has tirelessly continued piano instructions since 1960. Aslani’s first written composition was a piece for piano and orchestra, conducted by Feredun Shahbazian, and performed by the Grand National Radio Orchestra in 1971.

audio file Listen to “A Shadow at Midnight” featuring Mohammad Nouri (singer)

This popular notoriety prompted Aslani’s involuntary emigration to New York U. S. A. and his trials and tribulations that followed in a foreign land. Committed for life to contemporary music as anchored on his intrinsic affinity and love for music, he earned his master’s degree in music composition from the State University of New York Conservatory of Music specializing in contemporary music and orchestration. His lifelong cooperation with his university mentors as Professors Dary John Mizelle and Joel Thome for 20th century harmony, Suzanne Farrin for music literature and critique, Steven Lubin for classic, Brady Brookshire and Stuart Isakoff for music analysis as perceived by the musicians and listeners, has continued.

audio file Listen to “Moments of Solitutde” featuring Aref (singer)

His work has remained most inspired by the folkloric music of Gilan and other regions of his motherland Iran, combined with nostalgic melancholy of his early years as well as his extensive research of the works of renowned Master contemporary composers Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky John cage, Bella Bartok, Leonard Bernstein and Houshang Ostovar. Aslani’s unique approach to contemporary music is deemed progressive; nonetheless, emanated from noble well rooted origins. This has thus far yielded a number of pieces and proses that are multidimensional and unimaginable at times.
Hossein Aslani’s firm belief in humanity and community, nurtured by his beloved mother Gilaneh, is heralded through his lifelong philanthropy, altruism and voluntarism.

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Rare documents of Tehran Opera Company published in Europe

The year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Evlin Baghcheban’s death. She played a crucial role to promote opera and choral music in Persia (Iran). Born to an Assyrian-French family in Turkey, she studied singing and piano at the Ankara State Conservatory. In 1950 Evlin married the Persian composer and fellow student Samin Baghcheban and moved to Tehran.

Interview with the Makers of the New Qeychak

On occasion of the 8th anniversary of launching HarmonyTalk Online Journal on 6 April 2012, Reza Ziaei, master luthier and researcher on classical music instruments (violin family), announced that the first phase of the project to improve Qeychak has borne fruit. The new instrument would feature a bowl of ribs and the material used for the surface would be wooden. Carrying out the second phase of the project took more than 7 years engaging the new members of Reza Ziaei’s Workshop. In this phase, new researches were conducted from different aspects on the Qeychak and the modern versions of the instrument which were introduced previously by other instrument makers. The available versions of the instrument were studied in terms of their weak and strong technical features.

From Past Days…

A Note on the Occasion of Houshang Zarif’s Demise

No introduction is needed when talking about the position of the late Houshang Zarif (1938-2020) in the Iranian music. His character and personality are so well-known among musicians that his name per se is a symbol and role model for the Iranian youth. “Becoming Houshang Zarif” is the dream of many young people who enter the world of music in Iran and many of whom retire regretting the realisation of this dream.

Principles of Violin Playing (VII)

4.3.1.3 Regarding the great linear distance and the unusual distance between the first and forth fingers, the first finger while playing the doubles of ninth and tenth interval, can be twisted in the knuckle area and the point mentioned in 3.1.2.5 paragraph in relation to the way first finger is placed indicating that the first joint of this finger in back of hand must be in line with the direction of forearm and left hand is not true here.

Tehran Flute Choir Established

Tehran Flute Choir was established in 1394 (late 2015) by Firouzeh Navai. Tehran Flute Choir, Iran’s first largest flute choir, recruited its members mostly from young talented flutists of Iranian Flute Association. Featuring piccolo, flute, alto flute and bass flute, Tehran Flute Choir, directed by Firouzeh Navai, premiered under the batons of Saeed Taghadosi on January 7-8, 2016 at Roudaki Hall in Tehran.

New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (I)

Joint application of the two techniques of “Lip” and “Nose” could be effectively applied for hearing and playing far-away intervals, by the Classical Guitar. Before this, a Classical Guitar player had to waive playing intervals not possible with the left hand, and had to replace or eliminate some notes, making it possible to play such intervals; specifically the capability of the left hand of the musician, was also a factor in such a selection. These methods are hereby illustrated by photographs and a video-file, in order to provide optimum comprehension of applying these methods, invented by the author; specifically the “Lip” technique, which is considered to be a more significant technique, emphasized by the author.

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.

Principles of Playing Violin (IV)

Principles of Playing Violin (IV)

Pattern No.3/1 Left hand finger Placement: 3/1/1: Landing Fingers on one String: In preliminary stages of training, an apprentice should pay attention to the principle of keeping fingers while placing them on the fingerboard. Professional violinists pay less attention to this principle. Novice player’s complying with this principle, in preliminary stages of training, has several…
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“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.

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.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (IV)

Two choirs alternatively perform Veŝ Tavaré Na avaz (Transcription 5). The second group starts the avaz before the first group finishes it; consequently, two different voices coincide (Transcription 5, staves 2 and 5).

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.