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Rumi’s favorite 12th century epic comes to musical life in ‘The Language of the Birds’

When nonprofit arts organization 836M announced Sahba Aminikia as its first composer-in-residence last December, a centuries-spanning collaboration began to take shape. The Iranian-born composer brought with him The Language of the Birds (May 31 and June 1), a project inspired by the 12th century poem bearing the same title by Farid ud-din Attar, a Persian mystic revered by the 13th century poet Rumi and many others.

After hundreds of years and with the support of 836M, which was co-founded by Julie & Sébastien Lépinard and Agnès Faure and named for its gallery at 836 Montgomery Street. A remarkable lineage, extending from Attar to Rumi to Aminikia to 2024 audiences, will give birth to a new work of art.

Such durability suggests that these mere words, written on a page or spoken, chanted, or sung aloud, must have heft. Not necessarily complexity, but weight, eternal truth, universality. The ideas they express must offer a kind of timelessness that has left hundreds of years of witnesses saying, “This is so now.”

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