Born in Isfahan, Iran, and based in the UK, Farhad Poupel’s music has been performed and will be performed in numerous prestigious concert halls and festivals throughout the world including 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. The following is an interview with him on the ocaasion of the premier of the Legend of Bijan and Manijeh.
HT: Did you compose the Legend of Bijan and Manijeh based on commission or out of your personal interest in Ferdowsi?
FP: The brief answer to your question is that it was an interest of mine that led to a commission.
But to elaborate on the answer, this question should be addressed from several angles. First of all, in my opinion, this popular belief in commissioned vs. non-commissioned duality is at least not valid in most cases outside of Iran. Unfortunately, due to the low-quality commissioned works that were produced in Iran only featuring a propagandistic aspect, the term “commissioned” has become disrespectful. In the UK, however, it is the exact opposite; a “commissioned” work is always respected (although to be fair, I saw this thinking here as well, albeit rarely and also by people who had no idea about how commissioning works and mostly judged based on folk and Hollywood legends). In my opinion, this is due to the difference in the commissioning process. For example, in the case of Bijan and Manijeh, the pianist of this work, Jeffrey Biegel, and I already knew the conductor and music director of the Windsor Orchestra, Robert Franz, so we proposed this idea to him and he agreed very quickly to be part of the commission and the world-premiere orchestra.
Or, for example, they may know about the interests of the composer or his ideas through the orchestra directors and know what he/she is interested in. In general, the composer has much more authority in his/her composition than what is expected in many cases, and therefore the thinking that there is a difference between commissioned and non-commissioned work is wrong. At least for me, there has been no difference.
Regarding Ferdowsi, in my opinion, Shahnameh is one of the greatest masterpieces of literature. It is very interesting that the comparison of Ferdowsi’s image in society and as portrayed by statues, etc., with the Shahnameh itself, reminds me of the same analogy about Bach’s image and his music. The image of an old, dry and uncreative person who only cares about preserving tradition and “rules”. While examining the works of the two, one will see how creative, dramatic and coherent they are. Ferdowsi reminds me a lot of Shakespeare who took stories and made them more attractive and with higher artistic value. In my opinion, Ferdowsi was the preserver of traditions; not in the sense of transferring them, but in the sense of Mahler’s famous quote “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.”
- Interview with Farhad Poupel (II)
- Interview with Farhad Poupel (I)
- About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program
- Rouhollah Khaleghi Artistic Center established in Washington DC
- Ruggero Chiesa’s Legacy
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VII)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (VI)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (V)
- A Miracle in the Iranian Music: About Tehran Flute Choir’s Eight-year Tenacity
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (IV)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (III)
- The Structure of Kurdistan Daf (II)
From Past Days…
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.
Interview with the Makers of the New Qeychak (II)
Regarding the classification of a new instrument in an instrument family, one can point to a number of fundamental issues, one of the most obvious of which is the instrument’s visual features. If we look at how the new instrument has changed compared to its historical versions, the set of visual elements that link the instrument to the Qeychak family becomes apparent. But other characteristics such as the geometric dimensions of the instrument, characteristics of the instrument’s various parts and how they relate to each other, its systematic performance, its sound range (compared to modern versions), the material and color of the sound, the way it is played and the like, can be considered in order to classify the instrument in the Qeychak family.
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…
About Davoud Pirnia, the founder of “Golha” radio program
Davoud Pirnia, writer and musicologist was the founder of “Golha” (Flowers of Persian Song and Music) programs on Tehran Radio (1956-1966). He received his early education from his father, Hassan Pirnia (Moshir al-Douleh), and several tutors of the time (Taraghi, interview, July 1989) and continued his studies at Saint Louis School in Tehran and then in Switzerland and graduated in law. While studying law, Pirnia got acquainted with European classical music. Upon returning to Iran, he was employed by the Ministry of Justice and founded the Lawyers’ Guild. Then he was transferred to the Ministry of Finance and established the Department of Statistics in this ministry. Later, he became the head of the state inspection office at the Prime Ministry; he was, then, promoted to the position of the Deputy Prime Minister (Navab Safa, interview, August 1999)
Iannis Xenakis’ Persephassa
Shiraz Arts Festival which was held in Shiraz from 1967 to 1977 featured many contemporary renowned artists who were commissioned by the Iranian royalty to compose or create works of art for performance in the arts festival. Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) participated in Shiraz Arts Festival three times in 1968, 1969 and 1971. The Greek-French composer,…
Developments in Iranian Music Since Qajar Era (II)
Nine-bridge and twelve-bridge Sanours were both used until the early Pahlavi dynasty. However, as Faramarz Payvar devised new methods for playing the nine-bridge Sanour, this variety of the instrument which was hammered by felted sticks became popular.
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.
Polyphony in Iranian Music (II)
With regard to each polyphonic form, only one specific and distinguished example is analyzed. These polyphonic forms are as follows:
The First Saba Student Music Festival Concluded in Tehran
Preparations for Saba Student Music Festival started in the summer of 2016; the Student Music Festival will be held annually by the students of music at Arts University. The first part of the closing ceremony of the Festival was dedicated to the celebration of the life, work and strives by Maestro Hossein Dehlavi to upgrade the level of music as an academic discipline. The name of the award-winning students and ensembles were announced at the second part of the ceremony.
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.