- Award Presented Every March in Honor of Persian New Year -
Stanford, California - In a ceremony held at Stanford University last Wednesday evening, March 12, 2014, global philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari awarded the First Annual Bita Prize for Young Persian Artists to acclaimed seventeen-year-old concert pianist Dena Taherianfar.
Concert pianist Dena Taherianfar, playing the grand piano at the ceremony
With the continued generous support of Daryabari, the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Program in Iranian Studies at StanfordUniversity will now award the Bita Prize for Young Persian Artists every March. In honor of Nowruz (the Persian New Year) and the season of new beginnings, the award will identify and recognize the most promising young Iranian artists and their talents and achievements. It is the hope that receiving this honor will help the blossoming careers of talented youth as they continue their quest for excellence and artistic expression.
Upon personally presenting the distinguished award to its recipient, Daryabari stated, “We must celebrate the work of young artists. We must help them realize their full potential. They should know that, in their effort to achieve excellence, they are not alone and that the entire community supports their effort and cherishes their talent. It is hard to imagine a more deserving young artist than Ms. Dena Taherianfar. It is in recognition of her talent and dedication, discipline and sterling accomplishments that Dena is the first young artist to win our award.”
In 2008, Daryabari created the $6.5M Bita Daryabari Endowment in Persian Letters at Stanford. It has not only allowed the university to hire three full-time professors of Persian literature, but has also allowed the Iranian Studies Program’s to award the coveted, annual Bita Prize for Persian Letters to some of the most prominent Iranian writers, poets, vocalists, and playwrights of our time: Simin Behbahani andMohammad Reza Shajarian (the first poet laureate of the people and beloved vocalist), to Bahram Beyzaie (the eminent film-maker and playwright) and Mahshid Amirshahy (the acclaimed writer and translator).
About Dena Taherianfar
Dena was born in Tehran, in November of 1996. She began taking lessons in piano when she was six years old. Her first teacher was Mrs. Shohreh J. Ghajar. Dena gave her debut concert in the renowned Roudaki Concert Hall of Tehran in 2008. At her teacher’s suggestion, Dena eventually moved to Vienna with her Mother (her father still in Iran) where she began to study piano with Prof. Stanislaw Tichonow at the Joseph Haydn Conservatory. She has won numerous national and international prizes. She performed at the Gala Concert in the House of “Music House” in Vienna and won two first prizes in the Austrian Youth Competitions “Prima La Musica.” She has also won first prizes in the International Competition “Concours Flame 2011” in Paris, “Valsesia Musica 2012” in Italy, and the “21st Century Art 2013” in Vienna.
About Bita Daryabari
In less than a decade, arts advocate and global philanthropist Bita Daryabari has emerged as one of the most beloved and cherished leaders of the Iranian-American community. From the beginning of her professional life, her work has been accompanied by her avid interest in Arts & Humanities. She created the Bita Daryabari Endowment in Persian Letters at Stanford University, where the Annual Bita Prize in Literature has become a coveted prize in the realm on Persian Letters. In 2010, she founded Pars Equality Center-the only non-profit of its kind providing social and legal services to Iranian emigrants, refugees and asylum seekers-where she is also the executive director (http://www.parsequalitycenter.org.) Her charitable Unique Zan Foundation is dedicated to supporting the education of women and children all over Western Asia-from building orphanages for Afghan children to schools in the Middle East (http://www.uniquezanfoundation.org/). She was a co-sponsor of the 2013 Cyrus Cylinder Exhibition at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. One of the most iconic objects of religious tolerance and multiculturalism in the world, this was the first time in history that the Cylinder came to the United States. In October 2013, she announced a $2M endowment of the Shahnama Project and Centre at Cambridge University, which will help fund the continued research and study of the Persian epic poem the Shahnama, also known as The Book of Kings. Her Honors include the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2012), the United Nations Appreciation Award for Outstanding Leadership, Commitment and Support of the UN and Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (2011), PAAIA Philanthropist of the Year Award (2010) and Golden Gate University’s Alumni of the Year Award (2008).
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