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.