Payvand, Iran
June 5 2005

Historical Event in Persian Polyphonic Music: Persian String Quartets
at Niavaran Cultural Center

By Pejman Akbarzadeh, Member of Artists Without Frontiers

(TAVOOS ONLINE) -- Persian (Iranian) composers who have been active
in polyphonic music have not been very fortunate in the performance
and publication of their works. Their chamber works have seldom
been performed, let alone their symphonic works which are far more
complicated. The expenses and necessary facilities for performance,
recording and publication of scores naturally require government
support, but in circumstances in which there is no sign of such
support. Persian musicians, inside and outside their country, have
rarely demonstrated any interest in performing their fellow composers'
works in their programs.

The masterpieces of Persian symphonic music, such as "Persian Pictures"
by Heshmat Sanjari and "Provincial Suite" by Samin Baghtcheban, were
recorded approximately forty years after being composed, and even these
works were recorded in the 1990s, with the efforts of Manuchehr Sahbai,
without government support. Among other dispersed recordings, one can
name the three LPs entitled, "Symphonische Dichtungen aus Persien"
[Symphonic Poems from Persia] performed by the Nuremberg Symphony
Orchestra, conducted by Ali Rahbari, a recording which was done with
the support of the [former] Ministry of Culture and Art in 1978.

The publication of scores is even worse. Although the history of
Persian Symphonic music dates back to the 1920s and 30s, the first
score, "Sabokbal," composed by Hossein Dehlavi, was published in
1974 through his own efforts. In recent years, a few scores by Ahmad
Pejman, Kambiz Roshan-Ravan, etc., have been published. Compared
to the totality of works composed by Persian (Iranian) composers,
this is an insignificant number. Not only does the non-publication
of the works dishearten composers, it also prevents researchers and
music students from gaining access to the works. If in the future the
possibility arises for the performance and recording of the works,
the lack of access to these scores will create difficulty.

It may be said that, in May 2005, the Niavaran Artistic Creations
Foundation (NACF) was host to a historical event in Persian polyphonic
music. Ani String Quartet from Armenia performed eleven string
quartets from three generations of Persian contemporary composers:
Hormoz Farhat, Alireza Mashayekhi, Loris Cheknavorian (Tjeknavorian),
Mehran Rouhani, Shahin Farhat, Reza Vali, Behzad Ranjbaran, Ramin
Heidarbegi, Kiavash Saheb-Nassagh, Amir-Mahyar Tafreshipour and Ali
Gorji - composers who for various reasons are not well-known in the
Persian [Iranian] society.

The organizer of this concert Kiavash Saheb-Nassagh, 36, is based in
Graz, Austria. On his motives for organizing this concert, he said,
"This concert was an opportunity for music audiences to become familiar
with pieces which have been composed by Persian composers in the past
three decades for string quartet."

The performances of the three nights will be released in CD and book
form by the Music Department of NACF.

The last concert in which string works by Persian contemporary
composers were performed was in 1976: the National Iranian Radio and
Television [NIRT] Chamber Orchestra, conducted by the Persian-Armenian
Ruben (Rubik) Gregorian at the Tehran Niavaran Palace.