Performing Asia: Constantinople

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This concert is an initiatory journey into music and poetry from the Safavid era of Persian culture. Based on the latest musical researches, Kiya Tabassian, Sepideh Raissadat and Hamni Honari revisit some of the country's most beautiful musical pieces and rediscovered treasures. This performance sheds light on Persian Magham music (prior to the Dastgâh system) and builds bridges with our contemporary repertoire of Radif. New compositions and improvisations by Ziya Tabassian will also be performed. The poetry of Hafez describing the mystical life inside the gardens will lead the musicians and the audience inside this sophisticated world of Persian Chahar-bagh.

About Kiya Tabassian

At age 14, Kiya Tabassian immigrated with his family to Quebec, bringing with him a background in ancient Persian music (setar and vocals) and the beginnings of a career in Iran.

Determined to become a musician, composer, and historical torchbearer, he continued his self-taught training in Persian music, meeting frequently with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. At the same time, he studied composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay and Michel Gonneville.

After years of professional activities, he co-founded Constantinople with his brother Ziya Tabassian in 2001. The ensemble’s aim was to draw upon the musical heritage of medieval and Renaissance Europe, the Mediterranean, and Middle East.

Kiya has performed on stages throughout the world and collaborated on highly eclectic projects as a composer, performer, and improviser. These include regular collaborations with Radio-Canada since 1996; an active involvement from 2002 to 2005 in the international MediMuses project researching the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music, and participating in several publishing and recording initiatives. He has also collaborated with the Atlas Ensemble (Holland), and worked with the Atlas Academy as a tutor, and on a project linking contemporary music with oral traditions.

Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the Union Européenne de Radio-Télévision. He also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
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By: Asia Society Texas Center