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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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

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From Past Days…

Persian Music: “Mahour the Great” in Austria

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Principles of Violin Playing (III)

Violin players should always pay attention to the proper position of the left thumb and other points related to it and to its joining point to the palm.

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.

Behzad Abdi’s opera Rumi was physically released by Naxos

Composing a traditional Iranian opera using the Iranian modal system, dastgāh, has always been my dream. I first approached this by composing an opera called Ashura followed by the operas Rumi and Hafez. I believe that in order to attract an international audience for Iranian opera, it is essential to fuse dastgāh with Western classical forms.

Ennio Morricone’s music for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight

After watching Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, The Hateful Eight, everyone was excited by its novel music besides the beautiful scenes of blood and guts.
The Hateful Eight is the first collaboration between the world-famous film music composer, Ennio Morricone, and Quentin Tarantino as a famous director.

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.”

Principles of Playing Violin (V)

3/1/2/5: When the first finger lands next to the nut, continuation of first phalange of this finger, on back of the hand, should be in line with continuation of the back of the wrist and the left hand; moreover, it should not pass them and bend at knuckles. Otherwise, an uncommon stretch is created in first finger’s knuckle also reducing the freedom of other fingers (especially the fourth finger) in finger placement.

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.

The Role of Arts in Development of Societies

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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.