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2014 Nowruz Celebration in Orange County

Source: Farhang Foundation

Honoring the Iranian New Year in Orange County with Music, Dance, Family-friendly Entertainment, and a Special Nowruz Concert Featuring the "Nowruz Ensemble with guest vocalist Mamak Khadem"
on Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nowruz - Celebrating Iranian New Year
Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 11:30 to 5 p.m.
Segerstrom Center for the Arts - Samueli Theater
600 Town Center Drive Costa Mesa, CA 92626

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Farhang Foundation is pleased to announce its official 2014 Nowruz (Iranian New Year) Celebration in Orange County program lineup, set to take place on Saturday, March 29, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to5:00 p.m. at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, offered FREE and open to the public.

The day will include activities designed for children with the support of Khayam Persian School and will feature a puppet show by Vida Ghahremani, a display of the traditional Nowruz centerpiece known as Haft-Sin designed by Taraneh Ajdar of Elegant Sofreh Design, screening of the top six films from the 2014 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival, and a spectacular musical experience made possible by the "Nowruz Ensemble" with guest vocalist Mamak Khadem, Pezhham Akhavass (tonbak), Mehdi Bagheri (kamancheh), Hamidreza Maleki (santur), and Sahba Motallebi (tar). Due to high interest, a free ticket will be required for this concert, repeating twice at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. To reserve your ticket, click here.

"Nowruz Ensemble with guest vocalist Mamak Khadem"
Pezhham Akhavass - tonbak
Mehdi Bagheri - kamancheh
Mamak Khadem - vocal
Hamidreza Maleki - santur
Sahba Motallebi - tar

"We are thrilled to be celebrating this joyous occasion in Orange County once again," said Assad Kazeminy, chair of Farhang's Orange County Council. "Our previous Nowruz programs here were met with overwhelming popularity, as hundreds of visitors joined us in celebration of Nowruz on the beautiful Segerstrom grounds. We look forward to another successful and festive event with our friends in Orange County."

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is located at 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. For more information, visit Farhang Foundation's official Nowruz in OC event page.

About Mamak Khadem

Called " of the wonders of world trance music", by The Los Angeles Times, Mamak Khadem captivates audiences by blending her roots in the ancient poetry and music of the Persian masters with a bold and revolutionary new sound. By nature, she is a nomad, one who thrives on open spaces. By occupation, she is a bridge, one that connects geography to lore. In music, she is open to cultural influences, but she has chosen the classical Persian style as her base. Formerly of the sensational cross-cultural fusion ensemble AXIOM OF CHOICE, Mamak weaves a canopy, both simple and rich, for a stunningly emotional and spiritual musical experience that inspires new listeners to embrace cultural diversity and an awareness and appreciation of Persian arts and culture through a blending of old and new. For more info visit

About Sahba Motallebi

Sahba Motallebi was born in 1978 in Tehran, Iran, and started playing traditional Persian music very early on. She is a graduate of Tehran Conservatory where she mastered playing Tar and Setar (traditional Persian instruments) under the instructions of master Fariborz Azizi. In 2000 she joined the Iranian National Orchestra and since then she has been traveling around the world to present Persian music. Sahba has recorded several CDs and composed numerous theatrical pieces. Currently she is a resident of Southern California where she spends most of her time teaching Tar and Setar to her students. For more info visit

About Pezhham Akhavass

Pezhham Akhavass is a percussionist/musician and modern day master of the Tonbak. Pezhham was born in 1980 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in music from Sureh University of Tehran. With the support of his renowned artist father Mostafa, Pezhham began studying the Tonbak at the age of five with the guidance of Naser Farhanghfar. From 1989-1991, he continued studying Tombak with Saeid Roudbary. While in college, Pezhham also studied the Setar with Hamid Sokoti and Masoud Shaari. Pezhham also plays the Oud and Tanbour. In addition to the Tombak, Pezhham has studied other percussion instruments: daf, Indian tabla, kanjira and gatam. His unique approach to rhythm and style have resulted in him being termed one of the most distinguished tombak players of his generation. For more info click here.

About Mehdi Bagheri

Mehdi was born in Kermanshah in 1980, and started his musical endeavors by learning to play the Tonbak by Ramin Tafazoli. He then started learning other instruments in order to familiarize himself even further with Iranian music and composing. These included the Setar and Kamanche; he finally chose Kamanche as his main instrument. He learned playing the Kamancheh by Maestro Ardeshir Kamkar, and studied drama at the university at the same time. He graduated from the Theater Faculty in 2003, holding a BA degree. Mehdi has held several concerts across the world and has gone on stage in a variety of credible festivals and halls. For more info click here.

About Hamidreza Maleki

Hamidreza Maleki is a sound engineer and a music producer living in New York with eight years of experience creating music and sound for albums, soundtracks, and various other projects. Hamidreza has managed and co-produced international concert tours, and set up, run, and mixed live shows. He also has more than two decades of experience as a musician and has performed on stage with many master musicians. For more info click here.

About Vida Ghahremani

Vida Ghahremani is an Iranian actress, designer and teacher. She began acting in film as a teenager. Her earliest work was in 1958's Toofan dar shahre ma (Storm in Our Town). She currently teaches creative theatre and Persian Language in Pleasanton, California and Persian Center where she has been an active member since its establishment in Berkeley, California and Artistic associate in San Francisco Golden Thread Production. Ghahremani received a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and holds a diploma in Directing and Producing television. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Gem and Mineral society. Vida is the mother of three and recently finished a film with director Wayne Wang called A Thousand Years of Good Prayers as supporting actress. For more info click here.

About Khayam Persian School

Since 1982, Khayam Persian School Foundation has taught speaking, reading, and writing of Persian (Farsi) to Iranian-American children in the Orange County, California area. Through their program, children learn an elementary level of speaking, writing, and reading. Khayam Persian School Foundation is a non-profit (501) c (3), non-religious, and non-political organization. Their after-school classes are held once a week at three different locations. Students' ages range from 6 to 12 years old. Khayam Persian School Foundation has also joined the Irvine Public Schools Foundation in offering after-school classes at Irvine Unified School District schools. Their summer course is a 6 week intensive program for learning elementary Persian and is combined with traditional Persian dance lessons. By participating in special cultural festivals (e.g., the Persian New Year festivities ("Norooz") and Mehregan Festival of Autumn customs), Khayam Persian School Foundation aims to strengthen our students' knowledge and promote deeper understanding about their cultural heritage. For more info visit

About Farhang Foundation

Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports diverse cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz and Mehregan, theater, dance performances, film screenings and poetry reading in Southern California. And, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions, Farhang Foundation funds major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture. However, the content, viewpoints or biases expressed by individual artists, academics, institutions or events supported by the foundation belong solely to each individual party and do not necessarily reflect the views of Farhang Foundation. For more info visit


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