Three Grammy award-winning artists will share their talents and take the stage with other internationally-renowned musicians as part of the New West Symphony’s A Tour of Iran concert being held virtually April 11. The concert is part of the symphony’s groundbreaking and reimagined “Global Sounds, Local Cultures” season which shines its spotlight on the vivid cultural influences that have shaped classical music and Southern California itself.
As part of the festival, two-time Grammy award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, Grammy-winning instrumentalist Hamid Saeidi and New West Symphony’s Grammy-award-winning Artistic and Music Director Michael Christie will explore centuries-old traditions spotlighting Iranian poetic and musical cultural influences on the western world.
“It is impossible to overstate the profundity of Iran’s cultural impact on humanity over centuries,” said Christie. “Every beautiful turn of a phrase or intricate pattern has inspired generations to experience human emotions with more depth and character. I’m pleased to highlight connections between Iran’s great poets and writers, instrumental and dance traditions that inspired western arts over centuries. We are humbled by our guests’ depth of knowledge and their connections to one of mankind’s oldest continuous cultural lineages.”
This event will feature renowned Iranian instrumentalists Pejman Hadadi and Masoud Rezaei who will be presenting masterworks by Handel, Rameau and Gounod as well as the timeless overture to Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Iranian composers Behzad Ranjbaran, Masoud Rezaei and Golfam Khayam will also share their inspiration from Iranian sites and poetry. Choreographer Melieka Fathi and restauranter Sadaf Salout Nezhad will contribute their performing and culinary masterpieces to the festival’s cultural understanding.
“We are honored to collaborate with Farhang Foundation and its Executive Director Alireza Ardekani who has helped curate the cultural programming of the festival,” said New West Symphony CEO Natalia Staneva. “Not only does this partnership enable our programming to be that much stronger and varied but it also provides the groundwork for exciting collaborations in the future. Thanks to this wonderful Foundation we have been able to reach out to Iranian academic and musical ambassadors to deepen our understanding of the Iranian culture in Southern California.”
In addition to the April 11 concert, audiences will have access to companion programming for further immersion into Iranian music, artistry, and culture: On Friday, April 9 the symphony’s “Culture Insights” will explore Iranian culture, present demonstrations of traditional instruments and dance, and host discussions about Iranian history, arts, and music. Joining Saeidi, Ardekani, Fathi and Nezhad that evening will be Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, a distinguished literary figure, and Iranologist who has written dozens of books and hundreds of scholarly articles on poetry and language.
Pre-concert events will conclude with a “Meet the Artists” program on April 10, featuring conversations with renowned percussionist Pejman Hadadi, setar virtuoso Masoud Rezaei, and Sasha Cooke.
“As one of the leading symphony orchestras in the United States, we applaud the New West Symphony and Artistic Director Michael Christie for choosing the music of Iran as one of the centerpiece concert events of its current season,” said Ardekani. “The focus of this series is to celebrate and highlight the extraordinary communities that make up Southern California, and the Iranian community is one of the key groups that has enriched the region over the last 40+ years. We hope this virtual effort will be the first of many future collaborations with the New West Symphony.”
The cost for each “Festival Passport” is $25 per household. Patrons may also select an “All Access Season Passport” for the full season for $160. Tickets and memberships may be purchased online at NewWestSymphony.org or by phone at 805-497-5880 or 866-776-8400.
After the initial airing, all concerts and content will be streamed online and available to watch on-demand through September 30, 2021.
And for those who may not be able to view this virtual event, Farhang Foundation’s Ardekani says: “We hope to make segments of the program, particularly excerpts of the ‘cultural insights’ and ‘meet the artists’ interview available very soon on both Farhang Foundation and New West Symphony’s social media channels including Instagram. Additional musical performances may also become available at a later date after the current season is over in June.”
To learn more about this event, and purchase your ticket(s), please visit Farhang.org.