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.”
- A brief examination of Ardavan Kamkar’s Santour playing style
- Lilly Afshar, Iranian Guitar Legend, passed away
- Mohammad Esmaili passes away
- Inefficiency of some chords and harmonization systems in Iranian music
- The response of the fired musicians to the interview of the managing director of Rudaki Foundation
- Loss of Development in Iranian Music
- Last Year under the Light of Music
- 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
From Past Days…
Avaye Naerika Percussion Orchestra is an Iranian percussion orchestra featuring 40 lady percussionists. The Orchestra was established as Iran’s largest all-female percussion orchestra in 2008 by Ms. Minoo Rezaei under the title Naerika Percussion Orchestra and changed its name to Avaye Naerika in 2017.
“Daf” is one of type of percussion instruments that has a long history and is commonly known as circular instruments (with a rim). In some tribes, Daf was used as the main instrument in festivity and joy ceremonies; in another tribe it was used as the main instrument for war and campaign ceremonies and some others used it for ritual and religious ceremonies.
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.
In addition to the above-mentioned, polyphony can be also formed when a melody is performed by several singers in different ambiances or different sound registers according to their physiologic abilities. An example of this has been performed in rituals of Khanqah of Ghaderi darawish of Mahabad[i].
In this project, my specialized responsibility was the basic drawings of the desired instrument with the help of engineering and mechanical software. I have also the carried out phases related to engineering designs, related variables, and volume and weight calculations under Mr. Ziaei’s direct supervision from the very beginning. Regarding the challenges of this work, suffice it to say that the set of designs for the instrument lasted more than 9 months in the final stage of the project only.
Shaahin Mohajeri, the award-winning Iranian microtonal compose, has contributed to The Art of Silence is an international project which features unpublished pieces by microtonal composers from Iran, Japan, the United States, and other countries.
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).
A part of the secrets of the masterpieces from the golden era lies in the special design of the instruments, as a result of a profound insight to and awareness of the significance of the precise calculation of the various components of the object of arts being created, such as making a violin or a bow.
Joint application of the two techniques of “Lip” and “Nose” could be effectively applied for hearing and playing far-away intervals, by the Classical Guitar. Before this, a Classical Guitar player had to waive playing intervals not possible with the left hand, and had to replace or eliminate some notes, making it possible to play such intervals; specifically the capability of the left hand of the musician, was also a factor in such a selection. These methods are hereby illustrated by photographs and a video-file, in order to provide optimum comprehension of applying these methods, invented by the author; specifically the “Lip” technique, which is considered to be a more significant technique, emphasized by the author.
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.