The Review of 1st Tehran Contemporary Music Festival

Stanisław Suchora

This year, the first edition of the Tehran Contemporary Music Festival was held.The organizers of the event have been able to attract important partners, including the Iranian Ministry of Culture, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the Lajevardi Foundation and the prominent Polish Embassy in Tehran, thanks to which the Festival of Artists, the Lajevardi Gallery, the Concert Hall them. Rudaki or Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. The organizers of the festival (the artistic director is Navid Gohari, and the organizer of Ehsan Tarokh) were very keen on taking into account the (often young) bands and performers from Iran, on the one hand, and presenting diverse concerts with foreign artists.
The most interesting in my opinion of the festival events was certainly the concert conducted by Navida Gohari Nipler Orchestra, with two successful premiers of concerts (Idina Samimi-Mofakham and Hooshyara Khayam) and three Polish accents – in the form of performers of the solo parties Martyna Kosecka (piano) and Aleksandra Pykacz (cello) and Wojciech Kilar’s Orawa on the program.
Also interesting is the performance of Iranian Trans Modern Quartet (quartets of Alireza Mashayekhi and Hamidreza Ardalana), two concerts Stockholm Saxophone Quartet and two performances of the Belgian pianist Geert Callaert. In addition, the commendation of the Georgian composer and saxophonist Reso Kiknadze, and the performance of the young string quartet A4, deserve commendation. The latter, however, left me with some musical wishes, captured me with a determined determination to pursue an ambitious program consisting of Philip Glass’s III Quartet and Kaveh Mirhosseini’s (an interesting, albeit a bit long) piece by four young instrumentalists.
It is also worth noting that the organizers of the festival also took care not to close in the ivory tower of academic music, and enriched the program of the show with performances of improvisers and electronic musicians, sometimes connecting the sound with the picture. Yes, Mohammad Reza Govahi (recording as Xerxes the Dark), Arman Moghaddam or Sina Shoaei appeared in the festival program.
Another interesting addition to the Tehran Contemporary Music Festival was the fact that some of his concerts took place at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, which was a wonderful, though not always acoustically, setting for the performance. A central point built in 1977 and featuring the largest collection of 20th-century art in Europe and North America (to mention works by Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, James Ensor, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque or Pierre Soulages) a museum is a spiral ramp , leading to its underground part where concerts took place. It was a perfect space for the performances of the aforementioned Iranian experimenters or the large volume of the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet, although for some (such as Firouzeh Navai’s flutists) it was completely unsuitable. I wonder if next year the organizers of the event will be tempted to try the Museum Theater, which may be a good solution for demanding more standard concert conditions.
Rich in about 30 performances with international artists and preceded by a two-day music conference, the festival impressed me not only with its grandeur and professionalism, but also with the wonderful atmosphere that the organizers managed to create and sustain. It is very valuable that the organizers have ensured that all participants of the event have time for meetings, discussions and exchanges of thoughts. It was nice to observe how some of the musicians invited to the festival discussed the works they brought with young Iranian composers. From my talk with Navidem Goharim, the exchange of knowledge and competencies between artists from Iran and abroad is and will be one of the important goals of the festival.
The first edition of the Tehran Contemporary Music Festival allowed me to create an image of the contemporary music of this country. It is characterized by a great variety of European and contemporary techniques, such as spectralism and postmodernism, as well as elements with a distinct local origins, such as the free manipulation and prolongation of musical time, and references to melody and metro-rhythmics derived from Persian music. traditional. During the talks and meetings held during the festival, I also concluded that young Iranian artists are very open and curious about new ideas, so it will not surprise me if the whole of contemporary music in this country is rapidly evolving.
Until recently, the combination of the words “contemporary music” and “Iran” reminded me of the only festival in Siberia that was held between 1967 and 1977, with musicians like Aloys and Alfons Kontarsky, Krzysztof Penderecki, John Cage and Cathy Barberian. has produced, among others, premieres of compositions by Bruno Maderna and Iannis Xenakis. The first Tehran Contemporary Music Festival gives the chance that after forty years, Tehran and Iran will once again become important centers for new music, which in turn will bring closer ties with countries around the world, which Iran and the world would like to welcome.
The first Tehran Contemporary Music Festival was held in Tehran on 22-29 April.