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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: June 21, 2007 510.549.6950 x332 Contact: James Leventhal


REVISIONS Shahrokh Yadegari: Through Music


Guest Curated by Lawrence Rinder September 10, 2007–July 6, 2008


Judah L. Magnes Museum 2911 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94705 510.549.6950

Street, Berkeley, CA 94705 510.549.6950 Berkeley, CA –Continuing a centuries-old dialogue between

Berkeley, CA–Continuing a centuries-old dialogue between Jewish and Islamic musical traditions, guest curator Lawrence Rinder stages a multichannel sound installation incorporating a new musical composition by Shahrokh Yadegari, presented by the Judah L. Magnes Museum as part of its REVISIONS series, from September 10, 2007, through July 6, 2008.

Extending the work of Rinder’s grandfather, Cantor Reuben R. Rinder (1887–1 966), the composition blends singing in Hebrew, Farsi and English with classical Persian and electronic music. The piece incorporates such diverse elements as the melody from one of Cantor Rinder’s scores, text from the ancient Jewish priestly benediction, and two poems by the Sufi philosopher Rumi.

“ My grandfather believed in the power of art and music to convey spiritual experiences that transcended cultural and religious boundaries,” Rinder says. “By working with a composer and musicians who draw on Jewish, Christian and Islam ic traditions—as well as classical Persian and European, contemporary avant-garde and Ashkenazi musical styles—this project exemplifies the kind of cultural rapport that was so important to him and that is so crucial to our survival today.”

R euben Rinder was the cantor of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco from 1915 to 1959 and is recognized as one of the most important figures in the development of 20th-century Jewish musical culture. He helped launch the c areers of violinists Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern, and commissioned new music for the temple by Ernest Bloch, Darius Milhaud, Frederick Jacobi, Paul Ben-Haim and Ma rc Lavry, among others.

C antor Rinder’s archive—which includes musical scores, correspondence with world-renowned composers, photographs and documents from the 1955 Festiv al of Faith at San Francisco’s Cow Palace celebrating the 10th anniversary of the United Nations—is housed in the Western Jewish History Center (WJHC) at the Magnes.


REVISIONS Shahrokh Yadegari

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“While we tend to think of the mingling of Jewish and Islamic cultures as controversial or provocative, there is a tradition of crossover and exchange between the two dating back for centuries,” says Francesco Spagnolo, head of research at the Magnes. “This project reminds us how much we still have to learn from history, even as it speaks to the reality of what is going on in the world today.”

REVISIONS is a series of exhibitions where artists, curators and scholars are invited to create experimental installations inspired by the museum’s permanent collections. For this exhibit, Rinder has selected a pair of visual objects to underscore the show’s themes, including an engraved brass bowl from 18th–19th century Russia and a rotating selection of Persian miniatures on paper.


Lawrence R. Rinder is dean at California College of the Arts (CCA), which is celebrating its centennial year in 2007. Prior to his position at CCA, Rinder was the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where he was chief curator of the 2002 Whitney Biennial. He was founding director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, and he held a variety of positions at Berkeley Art Museum, including curator of the MATRIX program. Rinder received an MA in art history from Hunter College and a BA in art from Reed College.


Shahrokh Yadegari, Ph.D., is a composer and the head of the MFA program in sound design at the Theatre and Dance Department of University of California, San Diego. He has studied traditional Persian music as well as contemporary electronic music, and has performed and lectured internationally. Among his recent projects are the conception and direction of the multimedia music/dance/animation project Only Sound Remains and the sound design for The Children of Herakles by Peter Sellars.


Siamak Shajarian, vocalist, is considered to be the most accomplished Persian traditional singer living in the United States. He has performed with such masters as Jalil Shanaz, Faramarz Payvar and Mohammad Ali Liani-nejed. Kate St. Pierre, vocalist, studied opera, North Indian and Balkan voice, and Tuvan and Tibetan throat chanting. She has recorded works for multiple film scores and soundtracks. Keyavash Nourai, violinist, studied with Indian and Western classical masters including L. Subramanium and Eugene Fodor. He plays and teaches numerous Persian instruments and has composed many symphonic pieces and chamber music for orchestra.


Founded in 1962, the Magnes is a museum of art and history focused on the Jewish experience. The museum demonstrates a commitment to both tradition and experimentation through wide-ranging collections, original exhibitions, provocative programs and research facilities, including the largest history center relating to the Jews in the American West.


REVISIONS Shahrokh Yadegari

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The Magnes is a place of discovery for Jews and the community at large, and contributes to international scholarship and culture.

The Judah L. Magnes Museum is located at 2911 Russell Street in Berkeley. Hours are Sunday through Wednesday 11 am–4 pm and Thursday 11 am–8 pm. Suggested museum admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. Visit the Magnes website at or call 510.549.6950 for information about programs and exhibitions.


Sunday, September 16, 2 pm CONVERSATIONS ON ART Music, Liturgy and Cultural Fusion: The Making of REVISIONS Shahrokh

Yadegari: Through Music

A panel discussion with Lawrence Rinder, guest curator; Shahrokh Yadegari, composer; and Charles Hirschkind, cultural anthropologist, University of California, Berkeley. Moderated by Francesco Spagnolo, Magnes head of research.

Image: Reverend Reuben R. Rinder at San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, photo courtesy of the Western Jewish History Center at the Judah L. Magnes Museum.