I am happy to announce the upcoming release of one of my my recent compositions, Music of the Spheres, in collaboration with Kronos Quartet, Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), and San Francisco Girls Chorus (SFGC), as part of Final Answer—San Francisco Girls Chorus’ upcoming album published under Orange Mountain Music. Set for release on Friday February 16th, the album also features works by some of my favourite contemporary musicians, namely Philip Glass, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Theo Bleckmann, Lisa Bielawa, John Zorn, Gabriel Kahane, Carla Kihlstedt,, andMatthew Welch.
The album will be available for purchase as a digital download on Friday, February 16, through iTunes and Amazon.+
Following the US election and recent events in the world, the idea of writing a sacred piece of music was no longer a far-fetched one. I have always believed in the ambition of the arts, setting the bar for freedom. Our global community is currently, more than ever, in desperate need of reconciliation. In hopes to advocate for unity and love, I revisited the purest form of music that I knew of: lullabies of my homeland, Iran. According to Iranian musicologists there are currently more than 600 documented Iranian lullabies, from various regions of Iran where around 24 different ethnicities have lived for centuries. Three lullabies that I have chosen for the Music of the Spheres are from three separate regions with their own specific dialects of Persian—the language spoken by both the people of Iran and Afghanistan. I selected these lullabies from a collection gathered and researched by Iranian iconic vocalist, Sima bina, and used them as vessels to connect the voices of Kronos Quartet, ANIM and SFGC through geographical boundaries, and also, through time, with those who have hummed them to their children, creating a unified, musical human experience. For more informatiomn about Dr. Sarmast's Afghanistan National Institute of Music:
The piece, Music of the Spheres, is very close to my heart. Composed of three Farsi-based lullabies from Birjand, Malāyer and Tehran, this piece began with the intention to not only reference folklore, and melodic narratives as a common ground but also transform them into a new composition that resonates in the current, contemporary era.
The release date coincides with the SFGC's much anticipated debut performance at Carnegie Hall alongside the Philip Glass Ensemble, and I hope to see you there. The performance will include selections from the album. Prior to the SFGC's February 16 Carnegie Hall debut, the Chorus will celebrate the release of Final Answer with a special party and concert on Tuesday, February 13, at 7:30 p.m. at Le Poisson Rouge, one of New York's premier, cutting-edge music venues.