Press Release, Allentown Symphony Association
IRANIAN-BORN COMPOSER BEHZAD RANJBARAN TO HIGHLIGHT ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY'S EXPLORATION OF "POWER AND PASSION" ON SATURDAY, FEBRURARY 9TH AND SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH AT ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY HALL.
Violinist, Cho-Liang "Jimmy" Lin will be performing with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra performing the Violin Concerto by Iranian-born composer Behzad Ranjbaran which will highlight the February 9th and 10th Power and Passion concert at Allentown Symphony Hall. The performance will feature other works including the "The Firebird" by Stravinsky and "Don Juan" by Strauss.
Behzad Ranjbaran, born in 1955 and raised in Tehran, Iran, entered the Tehran Conservatory at the age of nine. He came to the United States in 1974 where he attended Indian University and received his doctorate in composition from The Juilliard School. He has been on the faculty of Juilliard since 1991. Ranjbaran's distinctions include the 1996 Rudolf Nissim Award from ASCAP, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, citation as a "Distinguished Artist" by the New Jersey Council on the Arts, a grant from the Guggenheim Museum, a grant from Meet The Composer (Composer/Choreographer Project), and the Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The seed for Ranjbaran's Violin Concerto was planted in 1980, when he was studying at Indiana University and met the Bloomington-born twelve-year-old violin prodigy Joshua Bell, then a protégé of the renowned pedagogue Josef Gingold. In 1994, when Ranjbaran was teaching at Juilliard and Bell had moved to Manhattan, the composer received a grant from the NEA to write a new work and settled immediately on a concerto for his violinist friend. The Violin Concerto was composed that year, and won ASCAP's Rudolf Nissim Award. Joshua Bell premiered the Violin Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Gerard Schwarz on January 9, 2003, and introduced it to North America with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra two years later. Bell says:
"This concerto is a grand work-both lyrical and powerful, melodic and well-structured. ... From the moment I read through the first draft of the piece, I knew that it had a chance of becoming one of the modern staples of the violin repertoire. I was not surprised to hear that the concerto was chosen by Julliard for this year's  student violin competition. This fact makes me ever more confident that this piece will have a splendid future." Also, the violin concerto was performed by Chantal Juillet with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Charles Dutoit, during Ranjbaran's residency at the 2005 Saratoga Music Festival.
Ranjbaran wrote, "I was thrilled when the National Endowment for the Arts awarded me a grant to write a violin concerto [in 1994]. This was an opportunity to revisit some of my musical impressions of the Persian kamancheh, an ancient Persian bowed instrument supported by a spike that is held upright like a cello and considered to be one of the ancestors of the modern violin. From my early years in the Tehran Music Conservatory, I was mesmerized by the sound of the kamancheh. Therefore the notion of writing a violin concerto that incorporates the power and brilliance of modern instruments on one hand and the intimacy of an ancient solo instrument on the other was simply irresistible.... The soloist here is a kind of storyteller, like Scheherazade in 1,001 Nights, telling stories and covering a lot of them with suspense. The Concerto is virtuosic and very melodic. It's not the kind of modern piece that's going to scare people away.
For Tickets and information:
(610) 432-6715 or http://allentownsymphony.org. Prices: $20 -- $40.
Read more about Behzad Ranjbaran at: www.behzadranjbaran.com
... Payvand News - 02/02/08 ... --