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Persian Fiddler Lights Up Paris


Darius KADIVAR reports from Paris


Ghassem Talebzadeh and Daniel Blumenthal Paris Recital at Salle Cortot




 "The search for perfection in the rehearsal of the same forms will one day have to give way to a formal evolution allowing Iranian music to acquire a new cultural and geographic dimension, in measure with its rich historic past and with the talent of its interpreters"

 - Ghassem Talebzadeh



Passion for Classic and Folklore Music seems to play an ever growing part in the lives of Iranian expats of all ages and backgrounds and the regular rehearsals of classic composers of Persian heritage in Paris, London, Budapest or Vienna over the past years confirm the emergence of a confirmed generation of music Maestros who are gaining worldwide recognition from their peers. Conductors and composers like Alexander (Ali) Rahbari, Reza Vali or the talented Khadem-Missagh family clan of Father (Bijan) and son (Vahid) seem to confirm the desire of a new generation of Iranian musicians to combine Western classical Music with sounds and rhythms of their home country. If Pop music and other forms of artistic expression deemed as "Western and Corrupt" were banned by the Iranian regime in the years that followed the Islamic Revolution, paradoxically Western Classic music was reinstated as the only authorized form of tolerated Western musical expression. However in the meantime many  great masters of Persian Music were forced to exile and many prestigious composers and musicologist who used to teach at the Tehran National Music Conservatory were to abandon their academic jobs by sheer disappointment and lack of governmental funding. The days when concerts at the famous Roudaki Hall used to draw the cream of the International world of music and ballets in the 1960's and 1970's Iran was definitively over, and it was not until quite recently that some of the expatriate Iranian composers have attempted to renew with the countries musicians and performers. Exile has however been beneficial to most of these great composers and conductors who like in other disciplines have been confronted with the challenge of enriching their Art with foreign musical influences and sensibilities. Nostalgia and resilience has certainly contributed in reinventing and experimenting new musical frontiers and also drawing Western musicians to take interest in Persian Music and Culture beyond political or religious clichés associated to Iranians and their home country. This has led to some interesting cooperation's in the past few decades between Iranian musicians and European or American colleagues thus happily proving wrong Rudyard Kipling's infamous and pessimistic observation that:  The East being to the East and the West being  to the West. Neither will ever meet !  The Classic Recital at the Parisian Salle Cortot situated at the Ecole Normale de Music de Paris given on Thursday night on the 25th of January perfectly illustrated the successful marriage between what Music Maestro Ghassem Talebzadeh ( professor and former director of the Tehran National Music Conservatory )  defines:  "as a coherent musical world built upon the combination of Western Classical composition techniques and ancient themes of Persian Folklore."



The Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris was founded
in 1919  by 
Alfred Cortot and  Auguste Mangeot


Together American Daniel Blumenthal at the piano and Iranian Ghassem Talebzadeh at the Violin performed a two part recital in front of an elegant and admiring crowd of Persian and French music



The first part of the concert was dedicated to classic works of Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ( Sonata in Sol, K.301), American Ernest Bloch ( Nigun ), Russian Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ( Chanson Triste) Polish Henryk Wieniawski ( Souvenir de Mouscou) and Spanish Manuel de Falla-Kreisler ( Danse Espagnole).


The second part of the concert followed a short intermission and allowed Daniel Blumenthal to play two solo piano compositions of Talebzadeh entitled Pour l'Anniversaire de M. and Fantaisie. The American Pianist was to then perform again with Mr. Talebzadeh at the Violin with the Persian Maestro's other classical compositions based on Persian themes such as Evocation, Danse populaire Persane, Sur la Colline, and Variation sur le Theme de "Homayoune".

American Daniel Blumenthal, piano


About Daniel Blumenthal :


enjoys an international reputation as soloist, concert musician and chamber musician. He is professor at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels, Belgium and director of the "Thy Master class Chamber Music Festival", Denmark. His discography includes over eighty CDs.

Daniel Blumenthal was born in Landstuhl, Germany and began his musical training at the age of five. He received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan and his Master of Music degree and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Juilliard School in New York.

Blumenthal is a laureate of the Sydney, Leeds, Geneva, Busoni, and the Queen Elisabeth competitions. In 1995 he was on the jury of the Queen Elisabeth Competition for Piano. He is an honorary member and musical advisor of Icons of Europe, Brussels.

Musicologist, Violinist and Composer

Ghassem Talebzadeh © Ghassem Talebzadeh



About Ghassem Talebzadeh

Former student of the Tehran Superior Conservatory of Classic Music Ghassem Talbzadeh entered the Tehran Symphonic Orchestra at the age of sixteen as a violinist. Working with masters such as Tina Mantoffel and Ruben Saffarian and Leon Grigorian. He then joins Vienna with a scholarship from the Minister of Culture and then Brussels where he will obtain the first prize of Chamber Music, Harmony, orchestration and other major musical principles at the Royal Music Conservatory of Brussels. He also earned a degree in Violin at the Mozarteùm of  Salzburg. After other major achievements in Liege such as the recording of thirteen major symphonies of Belgian Musician Van Malden, he joined the Royal Symphonic Orchestra of the Radio and Television of Belgium. Before returning to Iran. After Teaching Violin as well as Music theory at the Tehran Conservatory he is named director of the Conservatory and creates a Chamber Orchestra that will perform in Tehran with the collaboration of the Graz Orchestra ( Austria). He has performed Worldwide and  his compositions are inspired by ancient themes related to Persian History and culture. He is member of the SABAM the Belgian Society of Authors and Compositors.  He has also released CD's with Radio France on the works of Beethoven, Hindemit , E.Lalo , Rachmaninoff , Prokofieff , Gabriele Fauré, etc ...

He has also written extensively on Persian Poetry and their influence on his musical  research and has also published a book entitled Abbas Khochgelé Edition Farzad about life in Tehran 50 to 70 years ago.

Official Website: 



About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant.


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