Shahram and Hafez Nazeri – A Conversation/Demonstration | Asia Society

Shahram and Hafez Nazeri – A Conversation/Demonstration at Asia Society

Join legendary Iranian musicians, father and son Shahram (vocals) and Hafez Nazeri (setar), in an exploration of the musical traditions of Iran as they give an informative presentation on the music of their native country. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy the musicianship of the Nazeri family in an intimate setting prior to their concert “Iranian Sounds of Peace” at Carnegie Hall on November 14.

Nov 11, 2009 | 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
$10 Asia Society members and students w/ID; $12 nonmembers
Tix: https://tickets.asiasociety.org/public/loader.asp?target=show_events_list.asp?shcode=572

PAF Shab-e She’r feat. Hossein Kamaly – Nov 18th, 6-7:30 pm!

Profile_hKamalyThis month’s Shab-e She’r series will feature Hossein Kamaly on November 18th, 6 – 7:30 pm. Hossein Kamaly is the Assistant Professor in the Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures Department and specializes in Middle Eastern history and Islamic Studies. After years of working as an electrical engineer, computer programmer, mathematical analyst, and simultaneous interpreter, he obtained a Ph.D. in history from Columbia University in 2004. His research interests focus on intellectual history, and the broad field of Perso-Islamic studies. He is committed to close reading of classical texts, and teaches courses in which important themes are traced across texts and societies.  Hossein will also speak about music and rhythm found in Persian poetry.

An open mic will follow the reading, inviting everyone to read either his or her own poetry or works by other poets, in Persian or English, bearing some connection to Iran or Iranian/Persian culture.

This event will be streamed LIVE at www.bowerypoetry.com!

Persian Arts Festival (PAF) has successfully revived Shab-e She’r, A Night of (Persian) Poetry, at the Bowery Poetry Club (BPC) but with a modern, new generational spin. The program has made its comeback and expanded what tends to be a very classical Persian tradition to feature modern works of literature, ranging from fictional novels to memoirs. Entering into its third season, PAF and BPC continue to host readings of well-established and emerging authors who are of Persian descent or specialize in Persian literature. Readers have included Nahid Rachlin, Manijeh Nasrabadi and Joe Martin to name a few.

The Bowery Poetry Club is at 308 Bowery, New York, NY 10012 in Manhattan. Nearest subway is the 2nd Avenue F train.

Be sure to save the date for our upcoming Shab-e She’r events!

Wed. Nov. 18, 6 – 7:30pm,  Hossein Kamaly
Wed. Dec.  9,
6 – 7:30pm – Special Iranian American Women Writers Featuring Soraya Shalforoosh and Farnoosh Fathi
Wed. Jan.  20,
6 – 7:30pm, Dalia Sofer
Wed. Feb. 17,
6 – 7:30pm, Sholeh Wolpe
Sat.   March 20,
7 – 9:30pm, NOROOZ EDITION!
Wed. April 28,
6 – 7:30pm      TBD
Wed. May 19, 6 – 7:30pm      TBD
Wed. June 16, 6 – 7:30pm      TBD

Dreaming of Peace, Hafez Nazeri Heads to Carnegie Hall

(reposted article from Women’s Wear Daily by Karyn Monget, 9/11/09)

For Hafez Nazeri, the opportunity to be the first Iranian composer to headline Carnegie Hall with his opus titled “Iranian Sounds of Peace” will fulfill a dream of helping promote peace and understanding between Eastern and Western cultures, especially after the crackdown on the 2009 Iranian election protests in June.

The New York debut on Nov. 14 will be presented by the Nazeri Music Foundation, Absolutely Live Entertainment and the Asia Society. Nazeri’s New York appearance with his father, Shahram Nazir, long considered the Pavarotti of Iran, will follow a presentation in Los Angeles on Oct. 3 at the Pantages Theatre, titled “Rumi Symphony Project: Cycle One.” Nazeri describes the modern concept and philosophy behind this opus as a “musical discourse to promote world peace.”

“At a time when all that we hear about Iran is filtered through headlines of intolerance, chaos and violence, I feel it is important to portray a 7,000-year cultural history with its deeply poetic and artistic mystical traditions,” says Nazeri. His goal is to be the “new face of Iran in the West, and create something that talks to young Iranians.”

Nazeri’s works, including the newest, “Night Angel,” to be released in 2010, could well do that. Reminiscent of a fairy tale set in ancient Persia’s purple night sky, it evokes the passion of a star-crossed angel and his lover, a Persian flower. The result is a combination of classical Western music with the pitch and tone of his homeland, his Kurdish heritage and Indian ragas (melodic modes).

Nazeri, whose work has been performed at a number of venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Theatre de Ville in Paris and the De Bijloke in Belgium, notes, “Americans are going to understand my work fairly easily because they will hear their own classical music, but they will hear something very different in it. Because we will be singing in Farsi, it will be like going to an opera and hearing something in Italian.”

Nazeri, 30, is his country’s most influential young composer. A main inspiration is gleaned from Rumi, the 13th century mystic poet. He also created a new musical instrument based on the traditional four-string sitar called The Hafez, which has two additional low strings to craft greater a melodic range.

Here, Nazeri talks about his work as well as his Carnegie Hall debut.

WWD: When did you begin what you describe as a free and borderless sound of both classic Persian and Western music?
Hafez Nazeri: I started playing Persian music when I was three years old, the sitar and the tanbur lutes, the daf drum, and at age 9 started singing at music festivals in Paris and Avignon, France. I lived in Iran until I was 19. I attended Mannes College of Music in Manhattan and received a diploma in composition and conducting in 2005. I had no idea I would be coming to New York to study Western classical music.

WWD: What was the turning point in your career?
H.N.: I always wanted to create something different. When I first composed “Passion of the Rumi” at age 19 in Iran, I gathered four other young musicians. It was the first time a great musical master, my father, played with five young musicians. The Middle Eastern mentality is very conservative. It was a huge controversy and everybody went crazy.

WWD: So far, what has been your biggest accomplishment?
H.N.: The “Rumi Ensemble” with my father in 2000, a 20-city tour across Iran including the late Shah’s palace. We even played in front of 140,000 in Tehran. This is what I want to do again. I need to bring Western classical music to them, but I need to talk to the government and tell them, “Let me do this for the young people. They have nothing to listen to.” Young people are burning and dying over there for culture and music. They can’t record anything and they don’t have access to concerts, just traditional Persian music. When I was growing up I was a huge Metallica fan.

WWD: Have you spoken with the Iranian government about this project?
H.N.: Yes, a minister in the Department of Culture said we’ll do it. But it has to go through so many channels. And one of the laws over there is you can’t have more than 8,000 to 10,000 people in one place.

WWD: What are your impressions of the election protests in June?
H.N.: I was in Iran and left a month before the movement. It was quiet. But it all happened suddenly.

PAF Shab-e She’r featuring Sassan Tabatabai – Oct 14th 6-7:30pm

Sassan_Tabatabai_photoOur next Shab-e She’r series will feature poet and translator Sassan Tabatabai.

October 14, 2009
6-7:30pm
Bowery Poetry Club

308 Bowery @ Bleeker Street, NYC
Nearest subway is the 2nd Avenue F train.

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1967 and having lived in the United States since 1980, Sassan’s work has appeared in a number of publications including Levathan Quarterly, Seneca Review, Literary Imagination, Pusteblume: Journal of Translation and The Christian Science Monitor. He is the author of Father of Songs: Rudaki and his Poetry (Rozenberg/Purdue UP, 2008) and the forthcoming Uzunburun: Poems (Pen and Anvil Press, 2009). He is also Poetry Editor of The Republic of Letters. Tabatabai holds a Ph.D. in Persian Literature from Boston University where he currently teaches Persian and the Humanities.

An open mic will follow the reading, inviting everyone to read either his or her own poetry or works by other poets, in Persian or English, bearing some connection to Iran or Iranian/Persian culture.

This performance will be streamed LIVE at http://www.bowerypoetry.com!

Persian Arts Festival (PAF) has successfully revived Shab-e She’r, A Night of (Persian) Poetry, at the Bowery Poetry Club (BPC) but with a modern, new generational spin. The program has made its comeback and expanded what tends to be a very classical Persian tradition to feature modern works of literature, ranging from fictional novels to memoirs. Entering into its third season, PAF and BPC continue to host readings of well-established and emerging authors who are of Persian descent or specialize in Persian literature. Readers have included Nahid Rachlin, Manijeh Nasrabadi and Joe Martin to name a few.