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An Interview with Composer Shahrokh Yadegari

An Interview with Composer Shahrokh Yadegari

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Published by magnesmuseum
An Interview with composer Shahrokh Yadegari about the exhibition "REVISIONS Shahrokh Yadegari: Through Music" curated by Guest Curator Lawrence Rinder at the Magnes (2007-2008).
An Interview with composer Shahrokh Yadegari about the exhibition "REVISIONS Shahrokh Yadegari: Through Music" curated by Guest Curator Lawrence Rinder at the Magnes (2007-2008).

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Published by: magnesmuseum on Jun 24, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 An Interview with Composer Shahrokh Yadegari
In the course of a brief conversation about his work, composer and educator Shahrokh Yadegari, Ph.D., touches on elements asdisparate as Persian influences in the Dead SeaScrolls to the ways Kierkkegard and Neitzchehelped shape Western beliefs of good and evil. At the root of it all is what drives him, bothpersonally and professionally. “For many years,my work has been about connecting oppositesto each other,” he says. “It’s kind of my heritage, having grown up Jewish in Iran,and bringing unity among opposites forms my musical world.” As the composer of a new multichannel sound installation guest curated by Lawrence Rinder at the Judah L. Magnes Museum, Yadegari is once again bringing opposites together. The two were inspired by the work of Rinder’s grandfather,Reuben R. Rinder (1887-1966), cantor for Congregation Emanu-El in San Franciscofrom 1915 to 1959 and one of the most important figures in the development of 20th-century Jewish liturgical music. “The whole thing started with a simple melody that Cantor Rinder had written for his congregation,” Yadegari says. “That is theseed of the installation. We wanted to continue his tradition of bringing differentcultures together through music.” To that melody, Yadegari has added elements of classical Persian and electronicmusic, as well as singing in Hebrew, Farsi and English. Words are drawn from theancient Jewish priestly benediction, as well as from two poems by the Sufiphilosopher Rumi. The vocalists and musicians performing the piece also bridge Eastand West, including Siamak Shajarian, the most famous Persian singer living in theUnited States. The composition is built in layers, Yadegari explains, with each layer set up so that itcan melt into the others. A computer, programmed to select channels somewhatrandomly, brings the layers in and out of range. Four beds comprise the fullcomposition: an instrumental bed, an electronic bed, a vocal bed and a secondinstrumental bed that responds to the vocals.“In general, the vocals are the leading element, but it’s not in a linear form,” Yadegarisays. “Though it can be listened to in that way and we will be recording it that way,the installation makes it so that you hear different sounds coming from differentlocations in the space. You actually feel the sounds moving around the room.”

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