Other Programmes

Shahram Nazeri and the Rumi Ensemble perform Hafez Nazeri's Passion of Rumi

Concert - Introduction

15 October 2007, 7.30pm
Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

A cycle of Rumi's poetry sung by the great Iranian classical singer Shahram Nazeri, created and composed by Hafez Nazeri, featuring the Rumi Ensemble.

Produced by

The Barbican in association with Serious, the Royal Albert Hall and the Iran Heritage Foundation as part of Ramadan Nights 2007.


The original programme, which is in Dastgah-e Nava was composed by Hafez Nazeri then twenty years old in year 2000 was performed in a series of landmark concerts in sixteen cities in Iran. The event was billed as the first concert tour of Persian music in the country. The four nights of performances in Tehran's Saadabad Palace alone attracted 140,000 people, a record for the entire Middle East. Remarkably, most were young men and women who had only recently tuned into Persian classical music. The program was conceived for a duet accompanied by the following Persian classical instruments: setar, barbat, alto kamanche, daf and tonbak, dammam and chaghaneh (miniature cymbals).

The musical composition and arrangement of this program is fundamentally different from typical Persian classical pieces in terms of orchestration, harmony, form, mood, and rhythmic patterns.

The entire program recreates the atmosphere of Nava, not by resorting to the familiar note sequences but with the use of new sonority, texture, phrase and rhythmic combinations, underscored by beautiful segments of Jalal al-Din Rumi's poetry. Also Poetic melodies created to match the particular mood of each poem are coupled with Shahram Nazeri's unique personal innovations on vocals to create a new tone in Persian singing. One of his goals has been to revive the long lost vocal forms, which were forgotten due to historical and social circumstances. In which the tones of mythical and epic characters of the text, which were forgotten due to social and historical reasons, are expressed in the form of the vocal renditions.

Shahram Nazeri

Shahram Nazeri is an undisputed icon of Persian classical and Sufi music. Born in a Kurdish musical family, He was the first vocalist to set Rumi's poetry to Persian music thirty-five years ago, thus establishing a tradition of Sufi music within both Persian classical music and Kurdish music and his music was instrumental in introducing Western musical audiences to both Sufism and to the poetry of Rumi.

Master Nazeri has released over forty recordings to date, his "Gol'eh Sad Barg," recording has held the record for the highest selling album of Persian classical music and Sufi music in the history.

He has performed at major venues worldwide, including the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, the festival of Avignon, Theatre de la Ville in Paris, the Tokyo Summer festival, the Kodak Theatre (Oscar ceremony) in Los Angeles, and the Royal Albert Hall, the Festa del Popolo in Italy, the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon, the Koelner Philharmonie in Germany, Asia Society, World Music Instituted and Brooklyn Academy of Music BAM in New York, the Roma Europa Festival in Rome, Sao Paolo Music Festival in Brazil and Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco and many others.

From early on, Master Nazeri began to sing and compose music to the works of Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi, Iran's most cherished Sufi poet. Nazeri was also pioneering in assimilating contemporary Persian poetry into the classical repertoire.

His international appeal led to several invitations to speak at various media outlets, including radio stations such as NPR in the United States, BBC, a live appearance on the Fox Channel (3/10/06), and an exclusive on ABC NEWS, following a recent New York performance.

Hafez Nazeri

Is Iran's most influential and admired new composer. By the age of nine, Hafez had already begun to perform alongside his father, Shahram Nazeri, in many prestigious music festivals in Europe and the Middle East. Hafez is considered to have extended the technique of setar-playing and has received praise from musicians and craftsmen alike. At the age of sixteen he performed, among others, at the Sfinks Festival in Belgium, the Festa del Popolo in Italy, the Theatre de la Ville in Paris and the Beiteddine Festival in Lebanon and many, many more.

At the age of 20, in a search for new artistic ground, Hafez came to New York to study western classical music. In 2005, he received a Diploma in Composition and Conducting from the Mannes College of Music. Later in the year, Hafez, along with new members of his Rumi Ensemble launched "In the Path of Rumi," a highly successful North American tour which performed record-breaking sold-out concerts, to rave reviews. The venues, included Los Angeles' Kodak theater (12/11/05) - the most highly attended Persian classical music concert outside of Iran - The Atlanta Symphony Hall and traveled to San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Boston. Hafez's international appeal led to several invitations to speak at various media outlets, including radio stations such as KPBS, KUSC, KPFK, KPFA, UC Berkeley Radio and NPR in the United States.

Hafez is also the recipient of a UCLA creativity award for most distinguished young composer. The Irvine City Hall Award of Distinction in Kurdish music was given to Hafez Nazeri for his contributions in spreading Rumi's spiritual message of peace through the language of music. The United Nations Association also recognized Hafez's contributions and his innovation in undertaking the "In the Path of Rumi" tour.

Rumi Ensemble

The Rumi Ensemble, which has been assembled by Hafez Nazeri, includes Siavash Nazeri on the daf, Shervin Mohajer on the alto kamancheh, and Pejham Akhavas on the tombak and dammam. Mohammad Firuzi, a well-known barbat player.

The Ensemble has perfomed Hafez Nazeri's new musical compositions and arrangements to great acclaim including a series of landmark concerts in 2001 in sixteen cities in Iran, which culminated in four nights of performances in Tehran's Saadabad Palace.

Some of the original music recorded live during the 2001 tour was released as a CD on the occasion of Jala al- Din Rumi's 800th birthday celebrations in 2007.


15 / 20 / 25 Pounds

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