Peyvand (پیوند), the Persian word for Connectivity, features works related to this theme performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, including the world premiere of C Ce See by Niloufar Nourbakhsh, the first work in Cheswatyr Commissions, an initiative of Composers Now and the Cheswatyr Foundation. Nourbakhsh founded IFCA along with Anahita Abbasi and Aida Shirazi in 2017 as a platform to support, promote, and celebrate otherwise-unheard musical voices from the Iranian diaspora through concerts, public performances, installations, interdisciplinary collaborations, and workshops.
In Nourbakhsh’s new work, C Ce See, she expresses the importance of social and artistic connectivity by way of a custom kinetic sculpture, designed by Roxanne Nesbitt, which brings the tones and colors of violins, violas, and cellos into a united sound by a single perpetually moving strand of bow hair. As part of Cheswatyr Commissions, Nourbakhsh was mentored during the composition process by celebrated Rome Prize winner Suzanne Farrin. The initiative advocates for women composers and commemorates and celebrates arts philanthropist Cece Wasserman.
The program, conducted by Steven Shick, also features the world premiere performance of Inexorable Passage by Nina Barzegar, the US premiere of within the Hadal and Epi by Anahita Abbasi, the NYC premiere of Crystalline Trees by Aida Shirazi, and additional works by Golfam Khayam, Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi, Nasim Khorassani, and Bahar Royaee. Foregrounding the program’s guiding theme of Peyvand, connectivity, Niloufar Shiri performs as solo kamancheh player throughout the evening.
Stay after the show for a post-show conversation with composers Niloufar Nourbakhsh, Anahita Abbasi, Aida Shirazi, Bahar Royaee, Niloufar Shiri, Nasim Khorassani – moderated by Suzanne Farrin.
Roxanne Nesbitt, Designer
Paige Seber, Lighting Designer
Steven Schick, Conductor
Niloufar Shiri, solo kamancheh player
From the Ensemble
Isabel Lepanto Gleicher, flute
Emmalie Tello, clarinets
Joshua Rubin, bass clarinet
Rebekah Heller, bassoon
Ross Karre, percussion
Erika Dohi, piano
Josh Modney, violin
Hannah Levinson, viola
Michael Nicolas, cello
Kyle Motl, double bass
Niloufar Nourbakhsh: C Ce See (2022, World Premiere, Commissioned by Cheswatyr Commissions)
Solo interludes by composer & kamancheh player, Niloufar Shiri
Nina Barzegar: Inexorable Passage (2020, World Premiere) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano
Anahita Abbasi: within the Hadal and Epi (2019, US Premiere) for flute, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, double bass
Golfam Khayam: Lost Wind (2019) for solo flute and wind gong
Kimia Koochakzadeh-Yazdi: What the Body Says (2021) for solo bassoon
Nasim Khorassani: Growth (2017) for violin, viola, cello
Aida Shirazi: Crystalline Trees (2020, NYC Premiere) for flute, bass clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello
Bahar Royaee: Distortions of the shell of the water on the lake, under the wind for violin, cello, piano
IFCA, co-founded by Anahita Abbasi, Niloufar Nourbakhsh, and Aida Shirazi, is a group of artists who have combined their experiences and creativity to create a platform for otherwise-unheard musical voices from the Iranian diaspora, and build and support a growing community of female and non-binary identifying composers. IFCA has formed connections with dozens of female and non-binary identifying composers from the Iranian diaspora.
International Contemporary Ensemble strives to cultivate a mosaic musical ecosystem that honors the diversity of human experience and expression by commissioning, developing, and performing the works of living artists. The Ensemble is a collective of musicians, digital media artists, producers, and educators who are committed to creating collaborations built on equity, belonging, and cultural responsiveness. Now in its third decade, the Ensemble continues to build new digital and live collaborative environments that strengthen artist agency and musical connections around the world.
Composers Now, founded and led since 2010 by Tania León, composer, conductor, educator, advisor to arts organizations and, most recently, a 2022 Kennedy Center Honors recipient and 2021 Pulitzer Prizewinner for Stride, commissioned and premiered by The New York Philharmonic. Its mission is to empower living composers (regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender), celebrate the diversity of their artistic voices (contemporary classical, jazz, concert, music theater, experimental, sound art, improvised, electronic) and honor the significance of their contributions to the cultural fabric of society. Programs include: an annual February Festival aggregating and promoting events across the five boroughs, with an Opening Event that features the presentation of Composers Now First Commission, supported by Michael Minard, and Visionary Awards; twice-monthly virtual IMPACT series offerings – presentations, each from a single composer sharing insights about their creativity, career aims and project examples; Dialogues and Composer Curator series – performances with conversations between hosts, composers and audiences; Collaborative Creative Residencies in partnership with the Pocantico Center of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Asian Cultural Council; and commissioning and career development/mentoring programs: Second Stage engages graduates of the Luna Composition Lab, founder-led by composers Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid, supported by the Toulmin Foundation; and Cheswatyr Commissions, supported by the Cheswatyr Foundation. WQXR is a media sponsor of Composers Now. www.composersnow.org
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NYU Skirball’s programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and by Howard Gilman Foundation, FACE Foundation, General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA, Collins Building Services, Consolidated Edison, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and Marta Heflin Foundation, as well as our valued donors through memberships and commissioning fund support.