Ali Reza Mashayekhi (b. 1940)
Alireza Mashayekhi is regarded as a pioneer Iranian avant-garde composer whose ideas and works, which have been performed in Iran and abroad for more than 35 years, have greatly influenced the contemporary music in Iran. He was born in 1940 in Tehran and began learning Persian music under Lotfollah Mofakham-Payan, studied composition with Hossein Nasehi and the piano under Ophelia Kombajian. He continued his studies in composition in Vienna under Hanns Jelinek and Karl Schiske. His acquaintance with Hanns Jelinek encouraged him to explore a wide spectrum of 20th century music. Such explorations accompanied by his deep interest in Iranian culture were the cornerstones of his artistic and stylistic development. Having completed his studies at the Akademie fÂr Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, he went to Utrecht, the Netherlands, to pursue his further study in electronic and computer music, which also included attending lectures by Gottfried Michael KÂnig. He has been teaching composition at the Music Department of the University of Tehran, Faculty of Fine Arts, since 1970.
-- Hooman Asadi
Alireza Mashayekhi on The Shiraz Arts Festival:
Among the first times Iranians were exposed to avant-garde music from the West was during The Shiraz Art Festivals. I believe that the Shiraz Festivals were wrong from the beginning to the end! Let us look at the festival from different points of view. Historically, in a country that has no tradition in classical music and no acquaintance with contemporary music, the festival had the appearance of an invasion. Sociologically, at a time when we needed a modest electronic studio, we should not have spent a fortune to invite big foreign names.
The presence of composers like Mr. Stockhausen and the late Mr. Xenakis was a miserable example of opportunism. While we had no adequate facilities in our small Tehran Conservatory, great leftist and religious composers enjoyed expensive trips for sightseeing with helicopters that were furnished by the Shah's army. For most Iranians who visited the Shiraz Art Festivals, it was a show by Europeans for Europeans! Some Iranian musicians who attended that festival told me it was a very good occasion for European composers to do their experimentations using Iranian taxpayer's money.
I boycotted those festivals, more or less a one-man boycott. I even didnt attend those events in which my music was performed. It was ironic that although the festival organizers refused my conditions for participation, the American Brass Quintet, which was invited to the Festival, chose to perform my 'Contradiction I' at the Shiraz Festival. Of course, for the organizers it would have been more embarrassing to stop the performance of 'Contradiction I' than to accept it! And it was after this or the next festival that they suggested making my music the central subject of the upcoming festival. When I received the letter, I felt sorry for them because I realized they didn't know that there would not be any more international music festivals in Shiraz. Of course, some Iranian young musicians had the chance to listen to contemporary music, but that did not justify the Shiraz Festival.
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