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World Premiere of MITHRA by Iranian composer Behzad Ranjbaran in Santa Rosa


Santa Rosa Symphony performs Ranjbaran's MITHRA at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
February 13, 14, 15 

(SANTA ROSA, CA)- Santa Rosa Symphony Music Director Bruno Ferrandis leads the orchestra in a world premiere by award-winning contemporary composer Behzad Ranjbaran on February 13-15 at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa. Ranjbaran, who is currently on the faculty of the Juilliard School, has been hailed as "a master of the orchestra" by the Dallas Morning News and his pieces have been described as having "radiant luminescence" by the Washington Post. The composer will join Maestro Ferrandis in the pre-concert talks at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

In his program notes, Ranjbaran says the piece, titled MITHRA, was inspired by an ancient Persian mythology.

Taq-e Bostan, Iran: high-relief of Shapur II investiture; from left to right: Mithra, Shapur II, Ahura Mazda. (photo by Philippe Chavin)

"Mithra was the Iranian sun god, who represented obligation, love/affection and the battle against evil. Mithra, with his 1,000 eyes and 10,000 ears, was considered the all-observing god, with rays of light emerging from his head much like a halo.  He was the protector of the righteousness and the archenemy of the evil forces...Another side of Mithra is Mehr, meaning 'contract' or obligation as well as love and friendship. In the Iranian calendar, the seventh month is called 'Mehr.' Both numbers 7 and 4 play important roles in the numerology of Mithraism.  For example, air, fire, earth, and water were considered to be the four elements from which all things were created. The earliest references to Mithraism date back to at least 1500 B.C., in pre-Zoroastrian Iran/Persia.  This belief system, apart from Iran, received its widest followings in the ancient world, encompassing areas from India to the furthest regions in Europe, and eventually becoming the prominent religion of the Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd centuries."

Brief Composer Biography

Behzad Ranjbaran

Born in 1955 in Tehran, Iran, Behzad Ranjbaran's musical education started at the age of nine when he entered the Tehran Music Conservatory. He came to the United States in 1974 where he attended Indiana University. He received his doctorate in composition from the Juilliard School where he currently serves on the faculty. His honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a grant from Meet the Composer, and a Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ranjbaran was named a "Distinguished Artist" by the New Jersey Council on the Arts. He is also the recipient of the Rudolf Nissim Award for his Violin Concerto.

Ranjbaran's music has been performed by soloists Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, and Yo-Yo Ma, among others. Recordings include Persian Trilogy on the Delos label by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta. This orchestral cycle, comprising the works Seven Passages, Seemorgh, and The Blood of Seyavash, takes its inspiration from ancient Persian legends, as recounted in the 11th century epic poem "Shahnameh" (The Book of Kings). In August 2008, Toronto Symphony Orchestra performed a multimedia performance of Persian Trilogy with traditional storytelling and projections of Persian miniatures. In describing the Persian Trilogy CD, American Record Guide said, "Ranjbaran has composed a noble and brilliantly conceived score, spectacularly orchestrated and filled with memorable tunes, meticulous development, and impressive craftsmanship."  

Complete Program and Concert Times


In addition to the World Premiere of MITHRA, in this program, the Santa Rosa Symphony honors the 200th birthday of two classical masters by presenting Robert Schumann's Fourth Symphony and Frederic Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2. The Chopin concerto will be performed by Polish-born, rising star pianist Berenika. Concert times are Saturday, February 13 and Monday, February 15 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 14 at 3 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, in Santa Rosa.


For tickets, call (707) 546-8742, purchase online at , or come in person to the Symphony Patron Services Office at 50 Santa Rosa Avenue (north door entrance, off the elevator lobby), from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased at the door 1½ hours before each performance (based on availability.) Single tickets are $28-$55, with student and senior discounts available. $10 Student Rush tickets (student I.D. required) can be purchased a half hour prior to curtain.

What: Symphony Concert
Who: Santa Rosa Symphony
Bruno Ferrandis, conductor
Berenika, piano
Date and Time:
Sat., Feb. 13, 2010 at 8 p.m.
(Discovery Rehearsal, Sat., Feb. 13 at 2 p.m.)
Sun., Feb. 14, 2010 at 3 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 15, 2010 at 8 p.m.
Ranjbaran: MITHRA (Magnum Opus world premiere)
Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2
Schumann: Manfred Overture
Schumann: Symphony No. 4

The composer Behzad Ranjbaran will join Maestro Ferrandis for "Concert Conversations" on Saturday and Sunday only. The pre-concert talks begin one hour before each performance and are open to all ticket holders.
Venue: Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, CA
Cost: Single tickets $28-$55, with senior and student discounts available.
Tickets: Online, by phone 54-MUSIC (707-546-8742) or in person at the SRS Patron Services Office, 50 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.



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