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Sahbaii appointed Tehran Symphony Orchestra conductor


TEHRAN, Jan. 26 (Mehr News Agency) -- Tehran Symphony Orchestra's council appointed Manuchehr Sahbaii as new permanent conductor of the orchestra on Saturday.

However, a member of the council, who requested anonymity, told Mehr News Agency that Sahbaii has signed a contract to conduct the orchestra for six months only.

According to the informant, the council had wanted Sahbaii to extend the time limit of the contract to one year.

Sahbaii is scheduled to begin rehearsals next week, the source added.

The council comprising several musicians was established to manage Tehran's Symphony Orchestra after the former conductor Nader Mashayekhi's dismissal last July.

Mashayekhi was informally dismissed from the post after the Music and Poetry Office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced that the orchestra no longer had a permanent leader and that in the future it would be led by guest conductors.

Afterwards, several musicians including Sahbaii and Majid Entezami led the orchestra's performances.

Mashayekhi, like his predecessor, Ali Rahbari, had complained about delays in the payment of the wages of the musicians and said that salaries fell short of the expenses needed to lead an ordinary life.

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 tolerate the fact that a good musician in his orchestra was getting paid only 800,000 rials (about $85) a month.

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

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