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April 8-11: Michael Christie and New West Symphony present A Tour of Iran featuring Pejman Hadadi, Masoud Rezaei, and Sasha Cooke

March 17, 2021 | By Maggie Stapleton
Jensen Artists

Press Contacts: Maggie Stapleton, Jensen Artists (Christie)
646.536.7864 x2 | maggie@jensenartists.com
Ross Goldberg (New West Symphony)
818.597.8453, x1 | ross@kevinross.net

New West Symphony Presents A Tour of Iran
Michael Christie, Artistic & Music Director
Featuring Iranian Instrumentalists Pejman Hadadi (tombak and daf) and Masoud Rezaei (setar) and Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke

Michael Christie with NWS.jpg

Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 3pm PT – Symphony Concert
With Additional Cultural Festival Events April 8, 9, and 10

Season and Concert Passports Available Here:

[New West Symphony is] embracing the mission of refreshing the modern concert experience for a new generation” – Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles, CA – New West Symphony (NWS), with Grammy-winning conductor Michael Christie as Artistic and Music Director, continues its 2020-21 groundbreaking and reimagined season of Global Sounds, Local Cultures” with A Tour of Iran. Exploring centuries old traditions of Iranian poetic and musical cultural influences on the western world, award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and Iranian instrumentalists Pejman Hadadi (tombak and daf) and Masoud Rezaei (setar) join the New West Symphony on this musical voyage. Michael Christie leads the orchestra in Western classical masterworks by Handel, Rameau, Gounod, and the timeless overture to Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Iranian composers Behzad Ranjbaran, Masoud Rezaei, and Golfam Khayam share their inspiration from Iranian sites and poetry.

This festival is presented in partnership with Farhang Foundation. Established in 2008 in Los Angeles, Farhang Foundation is a nonreligious, nonpolitical, not-for-profit, member-supported foundation with a mission to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large.

Along with the symphony concert, Season and Concert Passport holders can enjoy access to companion cultural festival programs for further immersion into the music, the artistry, and the culture that inspired the concert, curated by Michael Christie. These events will take place on Thursday, April 8 at 6pm PT – Pre-Concert Talk from UCLA Senior Lecturer, David Ravetch, who explores the music presented in the A Tour of Iran concert in an informative, audience-friendly formatFriday, April 9 at 7pm PT – Culture Insights, offering insights into Southern California’s Iranian culture, demonstrations of traditional instruments & dance, and discussions about history, arts and music with distinguished guest artists; and Saturday, April 10 at 7pm PT – Meet the Artists, an online expansion of a longstanding New West Symphony tradition that breaks the barrier between the stage and audience seats featuring conversations with percussionist Pejman Hadidi, setar virtuoso Masoud Rezaei, and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.

Christie will be available to answer questions in the live chat during each program. In addition to each initial live-streamed event, all programs (except the pre-concert talk) will be available on-demand to passport holders shortly after the initial broadcast ends. Of this festival’s programming, Christie says, “It is impossible to overstate the profundity of Greater Iran’s cultural impact on humanity over centuries. Every beautiful turn of a phrase or intricate pattern has inspired generations to experience human emotions with more depth and character. I am humbled by our guests’ depth of knowledge and their connections to one of mankind’s oldest continuous cultural lineages.”

A Tour of Iran is the fifth in a series of festivals being held October 2020 through June 2021, designed to spotlight the vivid cultural influences that have shaped classical music and Southern California itself. Each festival tradition has strong connections to symphonic music of the past and present. The season has so far included A Tour of Japan (October 2020) featuring violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, NWS concertmaster Alyssa Park, and Japanese drum ensemble Makoto Taiko; A Tour of India (November 2020) where works of Reena Esmail, Debussy, Elgar, Turina, Cooke and Philip Glass shared the spotlight with performances of Hindustani and Carnatic music; Holocaust Remembrance (January 2021), to commemorate and honor six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism voices, featuring touching historical context and music of the early 20th century and today exploring Jewish themes; and A Tour of China (February 2021), a celebration of Chinese New Year and the Spring Lantern Festival, featuring the world’s premier Pipa virtuoso and leading ambassador of Chinese music, Wu Man; multi-Grammy-winning soprano Sasha Cooke; and a master of erhu, Hong Wang. All four festivals are now available for on-demand viewing to passport holders at www.newwestsymphony.org/2020-21-virtual-season

Program Information: A Tour of Iran – Symphony Concert and Cultural Festival

Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 3pm PT – A Tour of Iran Symphony Concert

Michael Christie, conductor
Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano
Pejman Hadadi, tombak and daf
Masoud Rezaei, setar

Khayam: Seven Valleys of Love for Strings (Simorgh, Murmuration)

Mozart: Overture to The Magic Flute

Ranjbaran: Enchanted Garden: Joy

Rameau: Suite from Zoroastre

Handel: Xerxes: “Ombra mai fu”

Gounod: Faust: Entr’Acte | “Faites lui mes aveux” (Flower Song) | “Si le bonheur “(When fortune beckons) 

Rezaei: Excerpts from Nothingness (2015 album)
“Another Birth” | “Cold Autumn” | “Failure”

A reception with Michael Christie and guest artists will follow immediately after the concert. 

Additional Cultural Programs Included with a Concert Passport:

Pre-Concert Talk with David Ravetch
Presented Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 6pm PT (not available on-demand)

The New West Symphony’s Pre-Concert Talk features UCLA Senior Lecturer, David Ravetch, who explores the music presented in the A Tour of Iran concert in an informative, audience-friendly format.

Culture Insights
Premieres Friday, April 9, 2021 at 7pm PT

In Culture Insights, the New West Symphony offers insights into Southern California – Iranian culture; demonstrations of traditional instruments and dance; and discussions about history, arts and music with distinguished guest artists including Dr. Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, a distinguished literary figure and Iranologist who has written dozens of books and hundreds of scholarly articles on poetry and language, Grammy – winning composer, musician and santur player Hamid Saedi, Executive Director of Farhang Foundation Alireza Ardekani, and award – winning choreographer Melieka Fathi.

Meet the Artists
Premieres Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 7pm PT 

This online edition of Meet the Artists is an expansion of a longstanding New West Symphony tradition that breaks the barrier between the stage and audience seats. Enjoy a combination of biography, artistry and insight into an artist’s process and talent. The guests of the Meet the Artists program include percussionist Pejman Hadidi, setar virtuoso Masoud Rezaei, and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke.

Ticketing Information

Cost for each Festival Passport” is $25 per household. Patrons may also select an All Access Season Passport” for the full season for $160 for all festivals. Tickets and memberships may be purchased online at www.newwestsymphony.org or by phone at 805-497-5880 or 866-776-8400. After the initial airing, all concerts and content will be streamed online and/or available to watch on-demand through September 30, 2021.

New West Symphony Upcoming Concerts
Program details will be released four weeks prior to the streaming dates.

A Tour of Mexico
Sunday, May 2, 2021, 3pm PT

A Tour of South Korea
Sunday, June 13, 2021, 3pm PT

Community partners and advisors who have collaborated with New West Symphony on the development on the 2020-21 season include Ronald Reagan Presidential Library; Hirokazu Kosaka, Japanese American Cultural Community Center; Composer Reena Esmail; and Mark Kligman and Supeena Adler from UCLA’s Department of Ethnomusicology. Season sponsors are Home Helpers Home Care, Karen and Dr. Paul Finkel, Susan Burgos, and Fern & Dr. Arnold Heyman. New West Symphony has received grants to support this season from the Colburn Foundation, California Arts Council, Edison Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Neiman Marcus Foundation, TOArts, City of Thousand Oaks, Westlake Women’s Club, Meadowlark Service League, City of Agoura Hills, Bank of America Foundation, and others.

About New West Symphony: Now in its 26th season, the New West Symphony draws its players from the rich talent pool of accomplished Los Angeles-area musicians. Its mission is to inspire passion for symphonic music through live performances and education initiatives that engage and enrich its diverse audiences. For more information, visit www.newwestsymphony.org or connect on Facebook and Instagram.

About Michael Christie: Grammy award-winning conductor Michael Christie is a thoughtfully innovative conductor, equally at home in the symphonic and opera worlds, who is focused on making the audience experience at his performances entertaining, enlightening, and enriching. The New York Times reports, Michael Christie is a director open to adventure and challenge,” and the Cincinnati Enquirer declares, If Michael Christie represents the future of music in this country, the future looks promising indeed.”

Christie won a 2019 Grammy Award (Best Opera Recording) for the world premiere recording of Mason Bates’ The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with The Santa Fe Opera (PENTATONE). In 2017, he led the world premiere performances at The Santa Fe Opera, with suave assurance” (San Francisco Chronicle), with precision and pizzazz” (Santa Fe New Mexican), and preside[d] over an expertly executed performance” (The Financial Times). He was featured in Opera News in August 2012 as one of 25 people believed to break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade.” At Minnesota Opera, Christie led 24 productions over eight years, six seasons as its first-ever Music Director (2012-2018). Other recent highlights include leading performances with Washington National Opera, Opéra de Montréal, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre. Deeply committed to bringing new works to life, Michael Christie has championed commissions by leading and emerging composers alike, including Mark Adamo, Mason Bates, Unsuk Chin, Michael Daugherty, Osvaldo Golijov, Mark Grey, Daron Hagen, Jennifer Higdon, Matthew Hindson, Huang Ruo, Marjan Mozetich, Stephen Paulus, Kevin Puts, and more.

Michael Christie has been a strong proponent of multicultural programming throughout his career. He created a World Music Festival at the Phoenix Symphony and a World Music Series at the Colorado Music Festival. As Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra in Australia, he toured Japan and recorded his debut album with didgeridoo player William Barton. With the Phoenix Symphony, he premiered and recorded Mark Grey’s Enemy Slayer: A Navajo Oratorio, libretto by Navajo poet Laura Tohe. While Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, he led performances of Tan Dun’s The Gate and created the orchestra’s Nuevo Latino Festival.

Christies conducting career, spanning more than 20 years, has included serving as Music Director of the Phoenix Symphony (2005-2013) and Brooklyn Philharmonic (2005-2010), and as Chief Conductor of the Queensland Orchestra (2001-2004) in Australia, as well as guest appearances leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Rhode Island Philharmonic, and the Symphonies of Dallas, St. Louis, Atlanta, Houston, Minnesota, Oregon, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Santa Rosa. Christie’s many European engagements have included leading the Rotterdam Philharmonic, DSO Berlin, Orchestre National de Lille, Swedish and Netherlands Radio Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, NDR Hannover Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic. In addition, Christie enjoys a strong profile in Australia, where he has conducted the Sydney Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Opera Queensland, and the Western Australian Symphony in Perth.

Michael Christie first came to international attention in 1995 when he was awarded a special prize for Outstanding Potential” at the First International Sibelius Conductors’ Competition in Helsinki. Following the competition, he was invited to become an apprentice conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra where he subsequently worked with Daniel Barenboim as well as at the Berlin State Opera during the 1996-1997 season. For more information, visit www.michaelchristieonline.com.

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