Peace and Friendship Symphony will be a slight to Iran’s classical music: musicians

January 9, 2010 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Top Iranian musicians are opposing Iran’s plan for then to perform the Peace and Friendship Symphony in Europe in the near future.

Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO) conductor Manuchehr Sahbaii said last week that the orchestra will perform the symphony in Europe from January 22 to February 4.
However, no country was mentioned for the location of the concerts.
Composed by Majid Entezami in last year, the symphony was originally entitled the Islamic Revolution Symphony, but it has recently been renamed for the European concerts.
“When there is a plan to perform concerts in Europe, we should select a work from among the most excellent compositions to prevent dishonoring Iranian classical music,” Melal Orchestra conductor Peyman Soltani told the Persian service of Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.
He asked TSO’s officials to choose a symphony that doesn’t trifle with the honor of Iran’s classical music.
Soltani said that the work should be selected from compositions by Emanuel Melik Aslanian, Farhad Meshkat, Ali Rahbari, Loris Tjeknavorian and Heshmat Sanjari.
He also said that Rahbari is the best option to conduct any of TSO’s programs for the European concerts.
TSO Council member Mostafa-Kamal Purtorab is also opposed to any plan to perform the Peace and Friendship Symphony in Europe.
“I am opposed to the plan for performing the ‘symphony’ because technically I can’t verify it’s actually a symphony.
“Just any run-of-the-mill composition doesn’t deserve to be called a symphony,” he said.
Musician Kambiz Roshanravan believes the TSO will renew itself with its performances in Europe. However, he said that it is important that familiar compositions of high quality are selected for the concerts.
“I have no idea about the Peace and Friendship Symphony because I have not listened to it. In any event, the symphony selected for performance in Europe should be very profound and powerful,” he added
The TSO performed the symphony in February 2009 as a number of high-ranking Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, attended one of its concerts.
------Chaos still rules at TSO------
Choosing the Peace and Friendship Symphony for concerts in Europe shows that chronic chaos still remains within the TSO.
The Peace and Friendship Symphony was composed last year for domestic audiences in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Consequently, it lacks the necessary qualifications to be performed in Europe, the home of the world’s most prominent composers and prestigious symphony orchestras.
Iranian musician and conductor Ali Rahbari, was invited from Austria in 2004 to reorganize the TSO, but he resigned the following year over the low salaries paid to the orchestra’s musicians.
Afterwards, Nader Mashayekhi, another Austrian-based Iranian musician and conductor, was invited to helm the TSO.
In July 2007, Mashayekhi was dismissed following his complaints over low salaries and delays in payment of wages of the musicians.
The TSO spent several months without any permanent conductor until Manuchehr Sahbaii was appointed to conduct the TSO in January 2008.
Over the past two years, the TSO has performed concerts occasionally, in commemoration of the Iran-Iraq 1980-1988 war and for ceremonies celebrating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
Photo: Manuchehr Sahbaii (C) conducts the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in a concert held at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall on June 3, 2009, to commemorate the Founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini. (Mehr/Abutaleb Nadri)