Last night I attended "Sounds of Peace", the first Iranian headlining event at Carnegie Hall, featuring Hafez Nazeri and his internationally acclaimed father, Shahram Nazeri, together with an international all-star ensemble that includes cellist Matt Haimovitz and performers from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Nazeri describes the concept and philosophy behind the work as "a musical discourse to promote world peace." His goal is to be the “new face of Iran in the West, and at 30, is his country’s most influential young composer. Main inspiration comes from Rumi, the 13th century mystic poet. He also created a new musical instrument based on the traditional four-string sitar called The Hafez, which has two additional low strings to craft greater a melodic range. The result, an incredible musical venture of hypnotizing chants and moving sitar melodies.
The Rumi Symphony Project is an ongoing work in Hafez Nazeri’s search to cross formal boundaries and integrate classical Iranian and Western musical traditions into a new genre. While the essence and elemental structures of Persian music are preserved in this work, its orchestration, harmony and rhythmic patterns diverge from traditional musical arrangements. In the Path of Rumi is an expression of respect for the legacy of evolution, innovation, and creative interaction between musical traditions. Like Rumi, this project celebrates unity while rejoicing human diversity.