Iranian violist Kimia Hesabi releases her debut album of music by composers of the Iranian Diaspora, featuring works for solo viola, viola and electronics, viola and voice, and viola and piano. The recording explores her passion for the music of her home country through a range of sounds, colors, stories, memories, and identities inspired in different and unique ways by Iran.
Veiled for viola and electronics was composed by Niloufar Nourbakhsh and inspired by two specific subjects: the hijab and the “veiled” presence of women in Iran. “The covered hair is a metaphor in general for women’s presence in the society…on the other hand, I used the meaning and concept of “veiled” in creating sounds from the instrument that “dissolve” or are “covered” in various ways”. In 2017, a series of protests known as the Girls of Enghelab Street (Revolution Street) movement took place against the compulsory hijab for women in Iran. Nourbakhsh recalls being moved by this event and the tragedy and violence it provoked, and was motivated to center Veiled on it.
During the final round of the competition, Nourkbakhsh presented “Threshold of Brightness.” Written by Lisa Flanagan and directed by Shadi Ghaheri, the work follows controversial Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad “as she is seriously injured in a car crash and enters a dream-like state where she reckons with the ghosts of her past.”
Nourbakhsh is a pianist and composer who was a 2019 recipient of Opera America’s Discovery Grant. Her compositions include the opera “We the Innumerable” as well as the song cycle “Darkness of the Womb” for soprano and vocoder.
“Niloufar Nourbakhsh has demonstrated extraordinary skill in musical and theatrical storytelling. We are thrilled to announce that BMP will be commissioning Niloufar for a full evening-length opera-theatre work that will be developed and produced by BMP over the coming seasons. We look forward to sharing her world premiere with all of you in the future,” said an official statement by the company’s founder Beth Morrison and Executive Director Jecca Barry.
PRIMAVERA II the rabbits is the second of six albums in a momentous series encompassing 81 world premieres for solo cello. This digital album presents 13 new commissions by The Primavera Project for groundbreaking, multi-GRAMMY nominated cellist Matt Haimovitz. Each composer responds to Sandro Botticelli’s enigmatic painting, Primavera, and the prophetic large-scale triptych, Primavera 2020, by world-renowned contemporary artist Charline von Heyl.
The album takes its name from the rabbit trilogy motif in Charline von Heyl’s work. In Primavera 2020, the rabbits join the dancing graces, referencing centuries of symbolism: eternity, rebirth, fertility, and vitality. Niloufar Nourbakhsh depicts this communal ecstasy in her Cyclical Rabbits, incorporating Persian modes and oud-like strumming.
This is a digital-only album, not available as a physical product.
Taking home the $2,500 Spotlight Prize was composer Niloufar Nourbakhsh for creating ANIM composition residency. In conjunction with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, Nourbakhsh mentored seven young female instrumentalists in Kabul to compose music for members of the Zohra Orchestra.
These pieces premiered on New Music USA’s youtube page and is available to watch:
This program was made possible with the partnership of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) and support of Turn the Spotlight Fellowship, New Music USA, New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers Program, and members of the Zohra Orchestra. Site Coordinators: Dr. Benjamin Wu, and Qudrat Wasefi Video and Audio Recordings Engineers: Qudrat Wasefi and Najib Angar Video Editor: Qudrat Wasefi Audio Mix and Master: Niloufar Nourbakhsh and Siavash Kaveh Creative Director: Niloufar Nourbakhsh
Since August 2021, all members of the Zohra Orchestra have been evacuated alongside other students, faculty, and staff of ANIM.
Amanda Gookin’s Forward Music Project 2.0: In this Skin is released on Bright Shiny Things. Niloufar’s “Veiled” for solo cello and live electronics is included in this compilation. For more information, refer to the following LINK.