On March 28, 2009, the Persian Ney master Khosrow Soltani and the Austria-Slovakia Philharmonia Orchestra will perform the European premiere of Toward that Endless Plain, Concerto for Persian Ney and Orchestra by the Persian composer and Carnegie Mellon University professor Reza Vali. The concert will take place at the historic Musikverein Hall in Vienna, Austria.
The Ney is a Persian reed flute played through a special performance technique known as the technique of Isfahan (named after the Persian city of Isfahan where the performance technique was developed). The sound is produced through anchoring the instrument's embouchure at the front teeth at a 10 to 20 degree angle to the chin and using the mouth cavity, the tongue and the teeth for sound production.
Toward that Endless Plain, Concerto for Persian Ney and Orchestra was
a joint commission from The Boston Modern Orchestra Project and The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The composition was premiered in the US by The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (east coast premiere), and The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (west coast premiere) during their 2006-2007 concert seasons. The work was written for Khosrow Soltani and is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Soltani's wife, Farzaneh Navai who passed away in 2004.
The title and the content of the work are inspired by a poem by the 20th century Persian mystic poet Sohrab Sepehri:
I must depart tonight.
Taking a suitcase
the size of my loneliness,
I must go
where the mythical trees are in sight.
Toward that endless plain
is calling me to itself.
The concerto consists of a prelude and three movements. The second and the third movements are connected through an interlude. Throughout the concerto the solo Ney characterizes "the seeker" (Sâlek or Ráhro in Persian), while the orchestra embodies the environment of the seeker (Vâdi in Persian).
The musical material of the composition is entirely derived from Persian traditional music. The tuning, rhythm, form, as well as the polyphonic constructions relate to the Persian modal system, the Dástgâh.
For more information about the Ney Concerto and Reza Vali, please visit the following online sites:
PRI/BBC online article about the Ney Concerto:
Reza Vali was born in Ghazvin, Persia (Iran) in 1952. He began his music studies at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran. In 1972 he went to Austria and studied music education and composition at the Academy of Music in Vienna. After graduating from the Academy of Music, he moved to the United States and continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving his Ph.D. in music theory and composition in 1985. Mr. Vali has been a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988. He has received numerous honors and commissions, including the honor prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the Outstanding Emerging Artist for which he received the Creative Achievement Award. Vali's orchestral compositions have been performed in the United States by the Seattle Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001. His chamber works have received performances by Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Da Capo Chamber Players. His music has been performed in Europe, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia and is recorded on the Naxos, New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, and ABC Classics labels.
Khosrow Soltani is a master of Persian as well as western wind instruments. He has studied bassoon at the Academy of Music in Vienna, Austria, and has performed with the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Parallel to his career as a bassoonist, Mr. Soltani has excelled performing medieval and renaissance wind instruments as well as the Persian wind instruments such as the Ney, the Balaban, the Surna, and the Karna. Since 1976, he has been a member of the Viennese early music ensemble Les Menestrels. He has also performed with other Austrian early music ensembles such as Clemencic Consort and Musica Antiqua Wien.
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