Loris Tjeknavorian – Armenian-Iranian composer and holder of Iran’s “Top Medal of Art”

Loris Tjeknavorian (also spelled Cheknavarian, born 13 October 1937) is an Iranian-born Armenian composer and conductor.

He was born in Borujerd in the province of Lorestan, southwestern Iran, and was educated in Tehran. In the course of his career, Tjeknavarian has made about 100 recordings (with RCA, Philips, EMI, ASV, etc.) and written more than 75 compositions (symphonies, operas, a requiem, chamber music, concerto for piano, violin, guitar, cello and pipa (Chinese lute), ballet music, choral works and an oratorio. And over 45 Film mosaics. Tjeknavarian also has conducted international orchestras throughout the world: in Austria, UK, US, Canada, Hungary, Iran, Finland, former USSR, Armenia, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Denmark, Israel, etc. In October 2010 he became the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra in Southern California. Glenn Treibitz, president of the Glendale Symphony said; “with Loris Tjeknavorian at the helm, our orchestra will automatically become one of the most prominent in the Western USA.”

Awards

  • Austria’s Presidential Gold Medal of Artistic Merit (2008)
  • Austria’s Cross of Honor for Science and Art, first class (2008)

Awarded “Top Medal of Art”, Iran’s highest medal for performing arts (2002)

Source: wikipedia.org/wiki/Loris_Tjeknavorian

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Video: Impressions of US musician Bob Belden on Iran

The audience members in Tehran’s Vahdat concert hall rose from their seats, clapping wildly as the frontman Bob Belden, a fun-loving New Yorker with a predilection for loud shirts, rested his soprano saxophone on a nearby stand.

“We love you Bob!” someone shouted in English from the balcony after Mr. Belden, 58, finished his third song of the night. A Grammy Award-winning producer, composer and jazz performer, he smiled broadly. “It is an utter honor to be here in Iran,” Mr. Belden said, drawing even more cheers.

The concert last Friday was the first by an American musician in Iran since the 1979 revolution.

View Bob’s impressions on Video (Playlist: 4 short videos – keep on watching):

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance sat in the front row, nodding their heads to renditions of tunes by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Mr. Belden’s own compositions. The Iranians who filled the 1,200-seat theater clapped and cheered. They recorded video with their mobile phones of Mr. Belden and his four bandmates, who did little to suppress their own enthusiasm, waving, smiling and taking their own pictures of the audience.

The Tehran gig was the end of a short, wild tour through a country that officially considers the United States its enemy, but where people go out of their way to please guests, especially when they are American.

“This guy comes up to me, an Iranian; asks me where I’m from. I say, ‘America!’ He says, ‘I love you!’ ”

Mr. Belden said before Friday’s concert. “I tell him I’m a jazz musician. He says, ‘I love jazz!’ ”. “Everybody is nice to us here,” he added.

Source: The New York Times | Rebirth of the cool: American music makes a return to Iran

Photo gallery: Iran Fajr Music Festival 2015 – Summary, Winners & Closing Ceremony

Fajr International Music Festival is Iran’s most prestigious Music Festival founded in 1986. The festival is affiliated with UNESCO and includes national and international competition sections.

Since its establishment, many musicians from several countries like Austria, Germany, France participated in the event. The festival have enjoyed a strong presence of Asian countries as well.

This year ten foreign groups performed 15 concerts. The groups were from USA, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Estonia, Armenia, Tunisia and Iraq:

[Click the names of the artists to see the according posts and photo galleries on this blog]
US American saxophonist and Grammy Award winner Bob Belden and his band Animation
Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler.
Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia.
Italian quartet Maurice led by violinist it Georgia Privera. Laura Bertolino, Francesco Vernero and Aline Privitera are the other members of the quartet.
The Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra.
German Jazz-pianist and composer Johan Wendt, also known as Joja Wendt.
A string orchestra from Estonia, two duets from Armenia and musicians from Austria and Tunisia.
Dutch quartet composed of tenor and soprano saxophonist Yuri Honing, pianist Wolfert Brederode, double bassist Ruben Samama and drummer Joost Lijbaart.

In the National Music section, Mohammad Reza Amou-Javadi was selected as the best composer. While, Kourosh Matin, Keyvan A’laei, Massoud Najafi and Hassan Soleimani were honored.

Houman Rofrof and Mohammad Hadi Ayanbod were jointly awarded as best composers in the non-Iranian Classical Music section. Ali Afshari was also honored. The Hamnavazan ensemble topped the Iranian Classical Music section.

Amir Hossein Ramezani and Maryam Sharifzadeh topped the Music Theses section, while Pirouzan Kouhi was honored.

The Ava-ye Mahan Choir, conducted by Nima Fatehi, was honored as the best vocal.

Sources: wikipedia | Fajr International Music Festival, Tehran Times, Iran Daily, IRNA | Photos, IRIB | Galleries, Tasnim News | Photos

30th Fajr International Music Festival in Iran – Photo gallery (part 2)

Some of the performers shown in the photo gallery below were covered earlier in this blog. To get some back ground and more photos or videos, please click:
http://theotheriran.com/tag/music/

Click on a photo to open in original size, and navigate through the gallery.

Sources:
IRNA| Photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
ISNA | Photos 1, 2, 3
Tasnim News | Photos 1, 2

German artist Otto Piene’s “Rainbow” exhibited in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran

A collection from the “Rainbow” series by German artist Otto Piene is currently being showcased at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting a collection of artworks by the German painter, printmaker and environmental artist, as well as the founder of the influential European postwar movement Group Zero Otto Piene.

This is the fourth time this museum hosts German artists’ artworks. But this is Piene’s first ever exhibit in the Middle East which opened at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday evening, revealing a variety of artworks ranging from paintings to light sculptures, smoke and fire paintings, and beautiful environmental “sky art.”

Sky art is a term he coined in 1969, which allowed him to use landscape and cities themselves as the focal point of his work.

Most of Piene’s works have been inspired by nature and based on the four elements of ‘light, fire, air and earth’ which points to the philosophical viewpoint of this avant-garde artist.

The first galleries of the museum is dedicated to his rainbow works and silkscreen prints. Then his other works are put on display which are the combination of grids with sources of fire (candles, gas-burners) producing smoke-traces and fire paintings, in which the paint was burnt.

One of his works in particular is said to have been specially made for Tehran exhibition. It is the light sculpture inspired by tile works of Imam Mosque which has been created from glass.

With much regret, Piene passed away in July 2014, and did not get the chance to attend the exhibition in Tehran.

He always sought a better world in his dreams and believed his most brilliant work was to light up the dark sky.

The exhibit of this German artist will be running until April 17 at the museum located on North Kargar St., next to Laleh Park.

Sources: Deutsche Welle | Farsi, Deutsche Welle, Mehr News Agency

Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia performed in Iran

The two-part rendition by the famous Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia and the renowned German clarinet player Ulrich Drechsler saw music fans fill the hall leaving no vacant seats.

The duet, performed Saturday night, in the international section of the festival at Tehran’s Rudaki Hall, had the audience mesmerized for the high quality musical by the two virtuosos, IRNA reports.

Read more what Ulrich Drechsler said about Iran and Iranians here

Sources: Italian Embassy Tehran, Financial Tribune, IRNA | Photos

 

Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler: “I like Iranians for their kindness, politeness, and hospitality.”

Austria-based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler attended the 30th Fajr International Music Festival in Iran.

Austria based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler

Austria based German clarinet virtuoso Ulrich Drechsler

“I am addicted to food. When I came to Iran and a friend took me to a restaurant in northern district of Tehran and had kebab with a taste of saffron, I was in high spirits,” Ulrich Drechsler told the Persian service of ISNA on Sunday.
“Pomegranate juice and saffron ice cream, these are incredible and awesome. You make use of a variety of spice and vegetables in your food. I think I would own a restaurant in Iran if I could come back to this world once again,’ he exclaimed.

He continued that this is his second trip to Iran and hoped to return again in spring or summer.

“I have only stayed in Tehran during these days and have got to know only a little part of your culture. My friends have shown beautiful places like the Music Museum of Iran, and I was surprised to see such numbers of Iranian musical instruments,” he stated.

“I must say that the main thing in my life is my family, then food and after that music. I have fallen in love with Iranian life and the Iranian mentality,” he stated.

Drechsler also noted that he has got familiar with Iranian traditional music through works of Kayhan Kalhor, the famous Kamancheh (knee fiddle) player, and is a big fan of his works. He believes that music in Iran comes from the heart of the players so the factor of emotion “is so prominent in it.” Coming for the second time to Iran, he said, “I like Iranians for their kindness, politeness, and hospitality.”

Ulrich Drechsler and Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia have given two performances at the festival, which will come to an end on February 20.

The Iranian audience was highly entertained by a series of lullabies that Ulrich Drechsler performed at his concerts during the festival.

All posts about Music and foreign musicians in Iran on this blog:
http://theotheriran.com/tag/music/

Sources: Financial Tribune, Tehran Times