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Echoes of Tehran

Sahba Aminikia Music

Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:00 PM (PDT)

Echoes of Tehran

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Come and hear the echoes of Tehran. An evening full of voices, sounds and melodies from Tehran, composed and compiled by Sahba Aminikia.


Read more about Sahba Aminikia at:

"Deltangi-ha" (commissioned by Delphi Trio) and "A Threnody for Those Who Remain" (commissioned by Kronos Performing Arts Association and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts) along other works will be performed in one night. 

Deltangi-ha is a collection of my memories from my homeland, Iran, where I have spent most of my life. Tehran, the capital, where the essence of my Persian identity has formed, is the city of light, warmth and spirit and has always had a special place in my heart. The first section "Tehran; first encounter" looks at Tehran, as I imagined, from the top of a hill or a mountain and sees the capital as a polluted, chaotic but deeply epic and cultural landscape. Second movement portrays my childhood during the infamous 1980's U.S.-sponsered Iran-Iraq war in which hundred of thousands Iranian and Iraqi lives were lost... The third movement simply talks about my first love under the snow in Tehran which I never found the courage to express to my loved one. The fourth movement is a rendition of a well-known theme that is used at the moment of countdown for every Persian new year I have been present for in Iran... the theme perfectly reminds every Iranian of the happiest moment of the year. The last movement is for those who are gone and it simply portrays my memories of them flying over the oceans trying to reach me."

A Threnody for Those Who Remain
"Around 8:00 A.M. on Sunday, December 20th, 2009, I received a call in San Francisco from my sister in Iran, telling me that my dad had passed away in a car crash on a highway in Tehran on the way home. Shocked and hysterical, I bought a plane ticket for the day after to Frankfurt, and then on to Tehran, where I spent 20 days. After I got back to San Francisco, I had coffee with David Harrington from Kronos to talk about a new project. We both came up with this idea: how strange it is that our loved ones leave us so swiftly and suddenly, and with an ocean of sorrow and grief that lasts until the end of our lives.

"This piece is directly inspired by my trip and what I went through during this journey. The first movement draws from my childhood memories during the 1980s, while Iran was at war with Iraq, right after the Islamic revolution that overthrew the Shāh. This movement is based on a game I used to play with my dad as a kid, basically standing on his feet and having him walk me around the house. This felt like the most enjoyable thing I could do with my dad at that time.

"In the second movement, I gathered material from a typical ritual lamentation ceremony from the southern regions of Iran, where most of the residents are primarily from African and Arabian cultures. The drums (Damām), cymbals and the scream–like human voices (called Kél in this culture) are essential elements of a common lamentation ceremony in Bandar Abbās and Boushehr. This movement is informed by nightmares I had during the flight to back to Tehran.

"The last movement draws from the days I spent in Tehran, where in the early morning, after being awakened by the voices of sparrows, you hear the Azān, the call for morning prayer. The call to prayer I have used in this piece is one of the most symbolic and famous forms of its kind, by Rahim Moazzén–zādéh. It is the symbol of Persianized Islam, as this was the first time Azān had been sung in Persian modes. Although I am not a Muslim myself, the Azān evokes my hometown, and reminds me of this time trying to overcome grief, which still seems like a never–ending pain.

"The piece ends with calls of 'Allāh–u–akbar' (God is great), with which the people protested the results of the 2009 presidential election, recorded on the rooftops of Tehran. These are the shouts that I heard all the time at night during my stay."

Have questions about Echoes of Tehran? Contact Sahba Aminikia Music

When & Where

San Francisco Conservatory of Music
50 Oak St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

Monday, May 6, 2013 at 8:00 PM (PDT)

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Sahba Aminikia Music

Composer and pianist Sahba Aminikia is foremost an artist, whose view of the arts as one inseparable entity informs his broad body of work.

Born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran Aminikia studied music composition in Russia at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory under Boris Ivanovich Tishchenko, a post-graduate student of Dimitry Shostakovich. In his homeland, Aminikia studied under renowned Iranian pianists Nikan Milani, Safa Shahidi and Gagik Babayan. He was perhaps most influenced by work with his first teacher and renown composer , Dr. Mehran Rouhani, a post-graduate of Royal Academy of Music and former student of Sir Michael Tippett. Aminikia currently lives and studies in the United States, forging a unique creative path through cultural boundaries and continuing to learn from other's musical concepts.

 He is a student of Dan Becker and David Garner at San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he is the recipient of Phyllis Wattis Foundation scholarship. He has also received lessons from David Conte, Conrad Susa, Richard Danielpour, John Corigliano and has been in a recent master class with John Adams.

In his work, Aminikia draws influence from jazz, Russian contemporary composition and, most importantly to him, the traditional melodies of Iran. These he increasingly incorporates into his original musical language, relying on them to establish a grounded voice in the vast world of contemporary music.

He is the recipient of many various commissions from theatre troops to concert music ensembles, Persian traditional music groups to jazz bands including Kronos Quartet, Parnassus Symphony, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Mobius Trio and Delphi Trio and has collaborated with artists such as Rashin Fahandej, Taraneh Hemami and Samira Eskandarfar and sees these as opportunities to further establish a unique communication between himself and international audiences.

His third string quartet ,"A Threnody for Those Who Remain", commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Kronos Performing Arts Association was described by Financial Times as “An experience not to be easily forgotten”.

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