“I Will Never Perform Just for Women!”: Golnoush Khaleghi Passes Away in Exile

Golnoush Khaleghi, first Persian woman conductor and daughter of legendary composer Rouhollah Khaleghi, passed away on February 14. She was 80.

Golnoush Khaleghi was the conductor of the NIRT (National Iranian Radio & Television) Choir in the 1970s. Shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ms. Khaleghi moved to the United States and founded the Rouhollah Khaleghi Orchestra in Washington DC to preserve Persian music. BBC’s Pejman Akbarzadeh has reviewed her career.
The year 1974 was the beginning of Golnoush Khaleghi’s professional career. She was invited to Persia to establish the National Radio and Television’s choir, known as ‘Hamavazan’. This choral group performed various concerts focused on Western classical music.
“The Television at that time had a quite successful chamber orchestra which was formed some years earlier. They were going to expand the activities of this orchestra and have a professional choral group to collaborate with it. Therefore, when I suggested to establish a choral group, the Television warmly received the idea.” Golnoush Khaleghi said in a 2016 interview.

The choral group’s career expanded a lot but the victory of the Islamic Revolution halted its activities. The last work of this choir was the secretive recording of Azadi [Freedom] anthem by Golnoush Khaleghi with lyrics by Fereydoun Moshiri.

Golnoush Khaleghi in the same interview said: “One day that I was heading to the Television the chief sound engineer said to me ” I’ve heard that you have written a beautiful anthem!” The choir members had told him. He asked me “Are you not willing to record this work?” I replied: “I would love to record it but don’t know if I am allowed to record that.” He said: “No, they will not allow you to record this piece but we will do it secretly!” – The chief sound engineer was Yousef Shahab. He said “I will provide you a studio but if the Revolutionary Guard finds out about that, they will not allow you to record. So, you can perform just twice, and you must perform well during this session!” Choir members had already rehearsed so we performed twice with the orchestra and recorded the piece…”

Golnoush Khaleghi, less than a year after the 1979 revolution, moved to the United States. After various activities, in 1985 she established Rouhollah Khaleghi Orchestra in Washington DC and performed new arrangements of works by Persian music masters. The orchestra’s activities were stopped after some years due to financial difficulties.

In 1990, for the 25th anniversary of Rouhollah Khaleghi’s death, Golnoush travelled to Iran to conduct in few concerts. The then authorities did not allow her to conduct on stage due to being a woman. In her 2016 interview with Pejman Akbarzadeh, Khaleghi says: “Although I was going to cover my hair during the performance and wear Islamic dress, they did not allow me to conduct on the stage. Later when they tried to be kind, they told me “You can perform only for women!” – I said “I will never do that. If I perform a concert it should be free for all to come and listen. Why should it be just for women?!”

Golnoush Khaleghi later established Rouhollah Khaleghi Artistic Center in the United States to preserve her father’s legacy. Such efforts caused publications of Rouhollah Khaleghi’s work in Persia and the United States. But many of her own compositions have not been released yet.
Golnoush Khaleghi is survived by her husband, American organist Stephan Ackert, and two sons, Ramin (David) and Julian.

Source: BBC Persian

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*
Your email is never shared.

Lilly Afshar, Iranian Guitar Legend, passed away

The text you are reading is about Hamed Fathi, a guitarist and one of Lilly Afshar’s students, which was previously published on the Persian website HarmonyTalk.com:

Mohammad Esmaili passes away

Master Mohammad Ismaili, a prominent musician and renowned tombak player, passed away on August 13, 2023, after battling an illness in the ICU of Rasoul Akram Hospital. His funeral will take place on Thursday, August 17, at 10 am in front of Vahdat Hall, and he will be laid to rest in the Artists’ Section of Behesht Zahra Cemetery.

From Past Days…

“Symphonic Poems from Persia” Released in Germany

While the name “Persia” (Western historical name of Iran) has attracted tens of thousands of people from around the world to London’s British Museum to visit ancient Persian artifacts, the Nuremberg-based music company, Colosseum, invites Europeans to listen to eight masterpieces of Persian symphonic music.

Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian: a pioneer in Iranian music (II)

Gholamreza Khan Minbashian taught courses such as organology, orchestration of military music and harmony based on the books which were translated from French into Persian with the help of Aliakbar Mozayyan-o-Dolleh (1846-1932).

Kayvan Mirhadi and O.R.P Qaurtet

Establishing O.R.P. Quartet is Kayvan Mirhadi’s latest activity as a guitarist, composer and conductor of Kamerata Orchestra. Besides working with this Quartet, Mirhadi is busy these days recording and mixing some of his own works as well as some pieces by 20th century composers. O.R.P Quartet performed a concert in Rasht, Gilan Province in late May 2016 and offered a master class.

Rouhollah Khaleghi Artistic Center established in Washington DC

Golnoush Khaleghi (1941-2021), a Washington-based Persian musician and the daughter of the contemporary Persian (Iranian) composer and theoretician Rouhollah Khaleghi (1906-1965) founded a musical center called RKAC to keep the name and the work of her father alive.

Qanun, a feminized instrument?

In the world music culture, there are instruments which were traditionally associated with a certain gender. It remains disputable to what extent these gender-based perceptions have been logical and scientific. For example, as playing wind instruments need more breath strength and the public opinion believe that men have stronger breath compared to women, these instruments are predominantly a male domain. Harp is also considered a female instrument as the public opinion believe that women have finer fingers and can therefore better perform nuances and delicate techniques on the instrument.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (III)

In heterophonic variant, two performers perform a single melody simultaneously and change it. Performing and changing a single melody simultaneously by two performers leads to the coincidence of different voices.

Farshad Sanjari, Forgotten Iranian Conductor Met His Tragic End

Farshad Sanjari, one of the most renowned Iranian conductors in the 1970s in Iran died after fire broke in his apartment in Vienna on November 22, 2019. Farshad Sanjari was not involved in politics; however, he was one of the victims of the Iranian Islamic Revolution in 1979. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, his name was never seen as the conductor of any programmes.

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).

Ali Rahbari & Recording Iranian Symphonic Compositions

In the few days prior to the New Iranian year (March 2015), the news of the revival of Tehran Symphony Orchestra under Ali (Alexander) Rahbari’s conductorship was announced. Ali Rahbari, who served as assistant to Herbert von Karajan in Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at a very young age, was also invited to conduct Tehran Symphony Orchestra in 2005; however, the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government put an end to his collaboration with this Orchestra. Recently, it was announced that Rahbari is invited to conduct an orchestra in the U.S.

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.