Cal Performances presents a major event in Persian culture to celebrate Nowruz. Master of Persian classical music Mohammad Reza Shajarian charts new directions in Persian music in Zellerbach Hall on Sunday, March 24, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. Joining him are the Pournazeri Brothers, in their Cal Performances debut, and an ensemble of twelve musicians from North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Considered “Iran’s greatest living master of traditional Persian music” (Los Angeles Times), Ostad (Persian honorific meaning “master”) Shajarian is an internationally acclaimed vocalist and two-time Grammy Award nominee. Tahmoures and Sohrab Pournazeri are two of Iran’s most innovative young composers and principal members of the renowned Shamss Ensemble. The program centers on the Pournazeris’ new music, composed for and inspired by a family of string instruments designed and handmade by Ostad Shajarian. The Pournazeris’ new settings of works by Nezami, Rumi, and contemporary Iranian poets will allow the “audience to take away an experience where they are touched by…a new culture of Iran” (Sohrab Pournazeri to the Los Angeles Times).
Entitled Colors of Transcendence, the concert is in two parts. First, Ostad Shajarian and the Pournazeris will perform improvisations from the radif, the modal foundation upon which Persian classical music rests. Then the ensemble will join the three virtuosi, performing on instruments invented by Ostad Shajarian. The Pournazeris’ innovative compositions for these instruments introduce new harmonies and rhythms into Persian classical music, expanding the range of Persian musical composition and offering the audience an experience of music both fresh and new.
Born in 1940 in Mashhad, Iran, Mohammad Reza Shajarian is world renowned as a master of Persian classical music. He began studying singing at age five and began his career in 1959, singing for a local radio station. Since then, he has taught in the Department of Music at Tehran University and has worked for Iran’s National Radio and Television. When he is not singing or researching Persian music, he is a practitioner of Persian calligraphy. In addition to his two Grammy nominations, Ostad Shajarian is a recipient of UNESCO’s Mozart and Picasso Medals (2006 and 1999, respectively) for his contributions to world culture. He is the only person ever to win both awards.
Born in 1977 and 1982 respectively, Tahmoures and Sohrab Pournazeri are the sons and protégés of Kaykhosro Pournazeri, founder of the Shamss Ensemble. Tahmoures, a multi-instrumentalist who is equally well-versed on all the major Persian instruments, began studying music at a very young age and joined the Shamss Ensemble at age 12. His younger brother Sohrab, a vocalist and virtuoso of the tanbour and kamancheh, joined the ensemble at age 13, and since then has developed his own distinct, idiosyncratic style. Upon joining their father’s ensemble, the brothers began composing new music that fused Persian classicism with the music of other nations. This constant innovation has kept the Shamss Ensemble at the top of record-sales charts in Iran for over 30 years.
Tickets for Mohammad Reza Shajarian and the Pournazeri Brothers on Sunday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall range from $26.00 to $200.00, and are subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door. Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets. For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.