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Sound, Only Sound Remains, Kronos Festival 2016 at SFJAZZ

Kronos Quartet / Kronos Performing Arts Association (KPAA) presents its second annual hometown music festival—Kronos Festival 2016: Explorer Series—with seven concerts over four days connecting San Francisco audiences to a wide range of musical voices and traditions from around the globe. "Sound, Only Sound Remains" (2014) which originally received its world-premiere by Kronos Quartet and Brooklyn Youth Chorus at Brooklyn St. Anne's Warehouse in October will receive its west coast premiere on night two of Kronos Festival featuring San Francisco Girls Chorus and Kronos Quartet.


About "Sound Only Sound Remains": Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran women are not allowed to sing publicly according to the Islamic code. Their voice have never been broadcasted on radio and television and they are not allowed to release any records. The only occasion that their voices can be heard is when they sing as background singers in the shadow of a male voice. The recording industry arrived in Iran in 1905 and since then, numerous records of female singers have been produced. As in recent centuries singing has been considered a not-so-prestigious act in Iran specially for women, the relationship between women and records have been stronger than their relationship with the stage. The piece was produced following my announcement on Facebook inviting Iranian female singers to collaborate with me, Kronos Quartet and Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Numerous sound clips, mostly recorded on handheld devices, were sent to me which enabled me to immerse myself in a world, which as a man, I have never experienced. All those breathtaking and sensational audio clips from across the oceans brought a new life into our collaboration and they together formed the opening and the ending the piece. The piece is also based on a song performed by Loreta Hairapetian, a 1930's Armenian-Iranian singer and actor whose voice I found on a 1920-1940 Persian music compilation dedicated to female singers and was brought to life by two extremely young talented female singers based in Iran Ooldouz Pouri and Mina Momeni. The opening text which translates to “Sound, only sound remains" in Farsi is by Forough Farrokhzad, arguably one of Iran's most influential female poets of the twentieth century, a controversial modernist and an iconoclast who died tragically in a car accident at the age of 32.

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