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Iran's classical music needs reform: Mashayekhi

TEHRAN, Jan. 21 (Mehr News Agency) -- Musician Nader Mashayekhi considers that reformation is essential in the field of Iranian classical and symphonic music.

Mashayekhi, who was formerly the conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, was informally dismissed from the position after the Music and Poetry Office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced last July that the orchestra no longer had a permanent leader and that in the future it would be led by guest conductors.

"Most cultural officials don't allow young talent to enter the classical music arena, but it is my belief that this form of art in Iran needs to be reconstructed," he said.

"Unfortunately, we are witnessing many works of a very low quality in this field that are being produced by some very pretentious composers who are presenting it as classical music," he added.

"A more depressing fact is that most of the works are based on compositions performed in Europe about 200 years ago and these musicians are inappropriately imitating them," he lamented.

In order that the dilemma be solved Mashayekhi believes that most of the musicians presently working in the area of classical music in Iran should step down forever and allow the young more motivated generation to take over its management.

He described the Tehran Symphony Orchestra as being the symbol of classical music in Iran and emphasized that changes should begin with the orchestra, which he believes is currently in a very shaky condition.

"Weak management is the most important problem affecting cultural affairs including the domain of classical music," Mashayekhi said.

"A large number of government officials' cultural advisers are inefficient and also uninformed about cultural affairs. This leads to misguidance in management," he added.

After Mashayekhi's dismissal, a council comprising several musicians was commissioned to manage Tehran's Symphony Orchestra.

"Establishing a council to handle the orchestra was essentially inefficient and a mistake. The activities of this council have shown that they don't know what they want," Mashayekhi said.

Mashayekhi, who used to be based in Austria, was invited and assigned by Iranian cultural officials to conduct the orchestra in 2005. Just a few months previously, his counterpart, Ali Rahbari, had quit because of financial problems and changes in the cultural policy.

Austrian-based Iranian musician and conductor Rahbari, had been invited in 2004 to reorganize the orchestra, but he resigned in February 2005 and left Tehran for Vienna.

Rahbari said in his resignation letter that he could not bear the situation when he saw that a good musician in his orchestra was getting paid only 800,000 rials (about $85) a month.

However, Mashayekhi agreed to resume rehearsals with the very low budget allocated.

In early 2007, Mashayekhi complained about delays in the payment of the wages of the musicians and said that salaries fell short of the expenses of an ordinary life. Such complaints finally led to his dismissal.

... Payvand News - 01/21/08 ... --

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