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Tehran symphony conductor quits, leaves for Vienna


TEHRAN, Nov. 19 (Mehr News Agency) -- The permanent conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Ali Rahbari, quit the orchestra and left Tehran for Vienna today morning, the Persian service of CHN announced on Saturday. He said he would not return unless all the musicians of the Tehran orchestra gain their rights and get appropriate salaries.

"I can not bear this situation when I see a good musician of this group gets paid 800,000 rials (almost $90) a month. It is a shame when I see members of the group get such a little amount of money," Rahbari told the audience attending his performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on Friday night.

Addressing the audience, he continued, "Perhaps the pieces performed here are repeated many times, but the Ninth Symphony is worth listening to several times. I was surprised to see how much Iranian people are interested in works by Beethoven in this place when I returned to Iran after thirty years. All members of this group are Iranian. Each member has many years of experience playing notes. You may not know how professional they are.

"I know I have not gained a sports gold medal for the country, but I received the gold medal of the world music contest (referring to his gold medal at the Besancon contest). I came back to my country with all my love and interest, but I will not conduct any orchestra in Tehran until the musicians are respected once again. I will go back to Vienna. It is very hard for me, but I am trying to convince myself," he added.

The Policy-Making High Council of Iran's Music Center appointed Rahbari as the permanent conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra on August 28, but his patience only lasted for a few months.

The 57-year-old musician was trained in Vienna as a pupil of Gottfried von Einem, Hans Swarowsky, and Karl Osterreicher.

He was the recipient of several major awards in his early conducting career. In 1977, he won the prestigious Gold Medal at the Besancon International Conductors' Competition following a silver medal at the Geneva Competition.

In 1985, Rahbari was invited by the Czech Philharmonic to become their permanent guest conductor and it was during this period that he was awarded the Dvorak Medal for his outstanding work with the Czech Philharmonic.

Beginning in 1985, Rahbari became guest conductor with the Belgian Radio and Television Orchestra, Brussels -- the "BRTN" -- and served as chief music director from 1988 until 1996.

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