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. The concert was before the release of Mr. Fukuma’s Bach transcriptions album, released by Naxos, and it tries to look at the influences that Bach music has had since.

The program included:

Farhad Poupel: “Road to Bach”
Brahms: 6 Piano Pieces, Op. 118
J. S. Bach (arr. Brahms): Chaconne in D minor, BWV 1004
J. S. Bach (arr. Liszt): Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543
List: Great Paganini Studies, S. 141

Road to Bach will be published in Japan mid-September, 2021. Composer Farhad Poupel in his interview with English pianist and author Frances Wilson said:
‘The Road to Bach’ was commissioned by great Japanese pianist Kotaro Fukuma for a concert of the same name in Suntory Hall, Tokyo on June 19. Approximately 3 to 4 months before being contacted by Kotaro Fukuma, I was studying Bach intensely and I was profoundly influenced by his dramatic use of harmonic and tonal language. So I’ve decided to write a piece which gains its movement primarily through its harmonies, but with modern harmonic language.

“…Working with Kotaro is one of the most delightful experiences of my life, even though writing this piece was quite challenging for me, especially since it was one of the most difficult times in my personal life. We had so many useful discussions regarding the work and I even changed the piece based on a good suggestion from him. The piece is quite challenging, but after he sent a video of himself performing it considerably musically, I was jubilant beyond measure since I saw all of our challenges led to this moment. And after he suggested my work be published in Japan, the sense of triumph was even greater, since this is my first publication by a publisher so far…”.

The work will also have three performances in France, Including the prestigious La Roque-d’Anthéron Festival on July 25. It will also have its Belgian-premier in Flagey, Brussels on October 31.
The pianist and commissioner of this work, Kotaro Fukuma, has a career in music, including performances at Wigmore Hall, Suntory Hall and Carnegie Hall, and performances with the world’s most important orchestras, including the NHK, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra.

***

Farhad Poupel is described as “knowledgeable, highly competent and a serious musical thinker.it will be rewarding to follow his progress” (Simon Mundy, International festival review) and his music is described as “.. Immediately captures the audience’s attention. Whether ethereal or intense, the harmonies and melodies are fused with love, passion, and colorful sonic landscape..”(Jeffrey Biegel, American Pianist)

Born in Isfahan, Iran, his music has been performed and will be performed in numerous prestigious concert halls and festivals throughout the world Such as Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan; La Roque-d’Anthéron Piano Festival, La Roque-d’Anthéron, France;Biarritz Festival, Biarritz, France; Stoller Hall, Manchester,UK; Janacek academy of music and performing art, Brno, Czech Republic; Karlskrona International Piano Festival, Karlskrona, Sweden; by distinguished artists such as Kotaro Fukuma, Peter Jablonski, Daniel Grimwood, Margaret Fingerhut, Catherine Carby, Kristýna Znamenáčková,Jeffrey Biegel, Jean-Francois Bouvery and orchestras such as Windsor Symphony Orchestra or broadcasted on the NPR Radio 4, Netherland

His music received critical acclaim worldwide which led to commissions such as Road to Bach for Piano by Kotaro Fukuma and The Legend of Bijan and Manijeh for Piano, Choir and Orchestra with Jeffrey Biegel, to be premiered by Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

At the age of nine, Mr. Poupel commenced his musical journey by studying the Persian Dulcimer (Santur). Soon thereafter, he began piano lessons under the tutelage of Amin Savabi and finally studied Harmony, Counterpoint, and composition with the great Iranian composer, Saeed Sharifian privately for 5.5 years. After a brief gap between his studies( about 6 months), he launched his international career by Zayande-Rud for string orchestra which has its first professional performance by Windsor Symphony orchestra in Canada, and his music has been demanded throughout the world ever since

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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…

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

Gholam Reza Khan Minbashian, a.k.a Salar-Mo’azez, was a pioneer in several domains in the history of the Iranian music. He is recognized as the first Iranian musician who was educated in classical music. He is also the first Iranian the score of whose works were published in Europe. He is the first Iranian to have launched courses on Western classical music and was also the first Iranian teacher of classical music. Moreover, he is the first founder of a string orchestra in Iran, the first author of the Iranian Radif which was available in oral form. Minbashian is also the first Iranian who studied music in Europe.

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.

Harmony in the Iranian Music (II)

One of his works was the translation of Harmony, which was carried out with the help of Mozayyan al-Dowleh, and included a pamphlet based on which he used to teach the subject to the students of the school of music; the pamphlet was never published. It was, in fact, a kind of simple harmony for the piano with no quadriads, it rather featured the engagement of both the right hand and the left hand which was being taught at the music school for the first time. Salar-Mo’azez also composed military marches and hymns for schools, which he harmonized to be performed and piano. Likewise, he used to compose for military orchestras.

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs

The 4th Iranian Festival of Music Websites and Weblogs was held in Niavaran Cultural Center, in Tehran, Iran on Feb. 28th, 2015. The initiator of the festival was Sajjad Pourghanad, Iranian music writer, researcher, founder of the festival and Persian setar and tar player.

Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri

Iranian Fallacies – School of Vaziri

The term “School of Vaziri” is often used in writings on Iranian music, but the exact meaning of the term is not clear; some of the authors have used the term to only refer to the group of Vaziri’s students, including a large group of his conservatory students and his Tar students such as Abolhassan Saba, Rouhollah Khaleghi, Ahmad Foroutan Rad, Hossein Sanjari, Heshmat Sanjari and others. But can we consider all Vaziri’s students as followers of his school of thought? This is definitely a mistake, because we know that some of Vaziri’s students have chosen a completely different path than that of Vaziri.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.