Interview with Farhad Poupel (II)

HT: Please tell us more about this piece and your background with this orchestra.
: My acquaintance with the eminent American pianist, Jeffrey Biegel, was made through my piano work, Fantasia on One Note.
Fantasia on One Note was my first professional work for piano, which had its world premiere by the great pianist Peter Jablonski in Sweden, and it has been performed by various pianists in the UK, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. The recording of this work has also been broadcast on the Dutch public radio, NPR Radio 4.
Since 1999, the prominent American pianist and professor at the Brooklyn Conservatory, Jeffrey Biegel, after working with Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the first Pulitzer Prize-winning female composer, began to collaborate with the most prominent American composers on new commissions for solo and orchestra performances. This includes Kenneth Fuch, Richard Danielpour and… I was the first non-American composer that worked with him. After some talk, we came to the story of Bijan and Manijeh, and after my explanation about the Shahnameh, he suggested the use of the Persian choir. I myself did not expect to be able to use Ferdowsi’s poems in Farsi, so I eagerly accepted.
The Windows Symphony Orchestra in Canada was the first professional orchestra to perform my work, Zayandeh Rud for string orchestra in April 2019 (This work could have had its world premiere by Deutsche Radio Philharmonie; however, the concert was cancelled unfortunately). The orchestra performed Zayndeh Rud in seven concerts conducted by Daniel Wiley (Daniel Wiley is now the assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Orchestra and will soon be performing my Childhood Memories under his direction with the Cincinnati Youth Orchestra), and since then, I’m having a close relationship with this orchestra.
HT: Will this piece be performed by other orchestras as well?
: Yes, it will be performed with Key Chorale in February 2024 in Florida. This work could have been performed with the Cincinnati Youth Orchestra, which unfortunately was cancelled due to planning for the choir, and the Childhood Memories will be performed instead. Probably, other orchestras will perform The Legend Bijan and Manijeh in the future, which will be announced.
HT: The complete audio file or the video of this concert has not been released yet; is there any reasons behind this
FP: Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to release the recording of the premiere footage due to specific laws in Canada and Ontario regarding the release of the recording. But the Florida performance of this work will be released.
HT: Have you been happy with this commission and will you continue working with them?
FP: Windows Symphony Orchestra is a professional and flexible orchestra (the premiere was done well with only two rehearsals), especially due to its conductor and music director, Robert Franz, who has previously worked with the Iranian composer, Behzad Ranjbaran.
HT: You are one of Dr. Mohammad Saeed Sharifian’s most successful pupils; do you still find his influence in your work
FP: You are very kind. He influenced me enormously, from composing to understanding music and even how to look at life.
A very significant point was his freedom in education so that each of his students has a different philosophy and style from each other. I had the honour of being his student for five and a half years and if I were born again, I would definitely repeat the same choice.

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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

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…

Harmony in the Iranian Music (I)

Translated by Mahboube Khalvati The article you are about to read was written by Rouhollah Khaleqi (1906-1965), composer, and conductor of Golha Orchestra (established in 1956). Khaleqi was one of the most prominent promoters of polyphony for the Iranian music and is one of the best representatives of the school of Ali Naghi Vaziri. In…
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Ruggero Chiesa’s Legacy

Written by Peyman Shirali Translated by Mahta Mottaghi Since many years ago, I had the intention of writing an article on the Italian maestro Ruggero Chiesa and his musical life; but his ingenuity and the immense legacy, which is impressive for not only me, but also almost everyone who knows him properly, made it hard for me…
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New Technique for Playing Classical Guitar (II)

When the author was working on the piece “Playing Love” by Ennio Morricone (from the legend of 1900), he realized a failure of the Lip Technique. Needing to play a chord in the 14th position of the guitar and in order to complete the harmony, it is necessary to play a harmonic note on the 7th or 5th position; it was not possible to touch the string to play this harmonic note, because the Lip Technique is used for getting the notes and not to touch the string and producing harmonic notes. Naturally, the only possible way to touch the string was to use the nose at the required position and playing the note with the right hand, and this was the best option the author found to how to play such harmonic notes, and where the Nose Technique was generated.

Polyphony in Iranian Music (VI)

Torqeh or jal is the same bird (Bimaculated lark) and is the name of a muqam which is well-known in Torbate Jam and those areas. Jal muqam is called Torqeh in Esfarayen and Bojnourd. This muqam which was used to be played by Bakhshis/Bagşies (dutar-players) in the past is seldom performed today.

A Look at Ali Tajvidi’s Manifold Musical Activities (II)

Tajvidi thought of studying harmony and orchestration with Houshang Ostvar (who was eight years younger than him) at a time when he had gained a reputation among musicians. His humbleness, making him willing to kneel before the scholars at any age and position, became the key to his scientific success. After this period, Tajvidi made some of his works polyphonic, the most prominent of which is “Burn” set to a poem by Abdullah Ulfat. However, his ability to make his works polyphonic was not so great to make him self-sufficient; so he depended on musicians such as Farhad Fakhreddini, Fereydoun Naseri, Kambiz Roshanravan, Fereydoun Shahbazian and Morteza Hananeh for the arrangement of his compositions.

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.

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.

A Promising Concert by National Instruments Orchestra

The National Instruments Orchestra of Iran performed its first concert amid much hope and anxiety on July 18, 2015. The Orchestra is founded by Roudaki Cultural and Arts Foundation which is a semi-private foundation in Iran. The Arts Director for the National Instruments Orchestra of Iran is cand the Orchestra Executive Director is Sadjad Pourghand.

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.

Principles of Violin Playing (VII) 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 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.