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STAY CLOSE: A Contemporary Music Project

Source: Iran Heritage Foundation

Supported by

Arts Council England, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Iran Heritage Foundation.


Stay Close is a ten-month project funded by Arts Council England and Jerwood Charitable Foundation exploring contemporary classical music as a means of cultural exchange between the UK and Iran. Following research periods in both countries, British-Iranian composer Soosan Lolavar will write a new piece of music considering ethnic identity in the UK through the lens of the Iranian-British community. Stay Close is supported by the Iran Heritage Foundation who are facilitating the administration and publicity of the project as well as producing the premiere performance in London 2014 as part of their wider programme promoting the culture of the Persianate world.

The aims of this project will be achieved in four stages. Stage 1 involves a month-long research trip to Iran where composer Soosan Lolavar will work with musicians connected to Hermes Records, a record company promoting contemporary and avantgarde classical music in Iran.

On her return, Stage 2 involves an 8-week workshop with members of the Iranian Youth Development Association in Woolwich. Through these sessions the composer will encourage participants (with ages ranging from 11 to 60) to consider and represent their ethnic identity through sound and language.

At the third stage of the project, the composer will draw on these two periods of research to create a new 15-minute piece of music which will draw on both Western and Iranian classical musics and be played by Western classical musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra Foyle Future Firsts Scheme and Iranian classical musicians from Nava Arts. This piece will include sound recordings of IYDA members talking about their experiences of ethnic identity in the UK, thus making them both participants and audience members in a new music work.

At the fourth stage of the project, the new piece will be performed in 3 venues in London in 2014, accompanied by a composer-led lecture on te project in conjunction with the ethnomusicology department at City University.

Soosan Lolavar is a British-Iranian composer, sound artist and educator whose work spans the genres of concert music, installation, film, dance, animation and theatre. She holds degrees in Social and Political Sciences (University of Cambridge) and Musicology (University of Oxford) and has worked as an Assistant Lecturer at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Her work has been performed at the Royal Festival Hall, the National Maritime Museum, the ICA, the LSE New Academic Building, the Jacqueline Du Pre Music Centre, the Bonnie Bird Theatre and Circus Space.

More Information

Soosan Lolavar is currently carrying out the first research phase working with musicians connected to Hermes Records in Tehran. She is keeping a blog of her progress at

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