Hafez Nazeri: Bringing Iranian Music to the Western World

“Rite of Fall: Mehregan” Concert Coming to LA’s Pantages Theatre in October and New York City’s Carnegie Hall in November

Thirty year old Hafez Nazeri has been called Iran’s most influential and admired new composer and singer.  The New York Times described his performance as “impassioned singing and meticulous improvisation”.  Hafez’s latest performance “Rite of Fall: Mehregan” will debut at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on October 3rd and New York City’s Carnegie Hall on November 14th. 

Through his performance, Nazeri hopes to bring together the cultures of the Middle East and the West and to portray the true essence of Iran and Iranian culture.  According to Hafez, “Americans are going to understand it fairly easily because they will hear their own classical music, but they will hear something very different in it.  Iranians will hear new instrumentation, sound and harmony. This music is something that will serve them both”.

By age nine, Hafez was already performing alongside his legendary musician father Shahram Nazeri.  He began voice lessons at the age of three and by seven was focusing on the tambour and setar, eventually teaching himself to play the daf.  In 2000, Hafez formed the Rumi Ensemble to perform his original compositions.  These performances had a huge impact on the musical scene in Iran and abroad, and the Rumi Ensemble’s concerts in Tehran set a record in the Middle East with 140,000 people in attendance.  At the age of 21, Hafez came to New York to study western classical music and, in 2005, received a Diploma in Composition and Conducting from the Mannes College of Music. 

In addition to his musical compositions and pioneering efforts having been praised in major publications, Hafez has been recognized by the United States Congress and the United Nations Association.  He is also the recipient of the UCLA Creativity Award for Most Distinguished Young Composer, and the Irvine City Hall Award of Distinction in Kurdish music.

In 2007, Hafez premiered The Rumi Symphony as the first major celebration of Rumi’s 800th birthday anniversary.  The same year, he released a new CD, The Passion of Rumi, which both the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe chose as one of the five best CDs in 2007.

Click here to view details of the “Rite of Fall: Mehregan” concert in Los Angeles on October 3rd.

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