Contemporary Persian Poetry and Music

Black and white Utopian stage photo of Shahr E Quesseh City of Tales.

    Contemporary Persian Poetry and Music

  • WHEN

    8 PM–10 PM on March 29, 2024

Composer/performers Mahya Hamedi and Sepehr Pirasteh unite their talents with the Shiraz Ensemble and the Arcana New Music Ensemble to craft an enchanting evening celebrating Contemporary Persian Poetry and Music. With poems curated by Fatemeh Shams, the event will immerse audiences in the depth of Iran’s poetic legacy while capturing the spirit of the contemporary moment.

Harking back to the inception of the Shiraz Arts Festival in 1967, the platform played a pivotal role in showcasing Iran’s vibrant community of poets and musicians. A recital of “Contemporary Persian Poetry,” the inaugural year paid homage to literary giants Hafez and Sa’di and living poets took the stage to recite their own verses. The venerable Mohammad-Hossein Shahriar, Iran’s eldest living poet, debuted a new poem in honor of the Festival. The poetic event took place at Hafeziyeh, the final resting place of the esteemed Persian poet Hafez.

Parallel to the poets’ engagement with both historical and contemporary themes, composers at the Shiraz Arts Festival drew inspiration from a fusion of past and present elements. Noteworthy figures from the Euro-American avant garde, such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Olivier Messiaen, Bruno Maderna, John Cage, David Tudor, and Morton Feldman, were featured at the festival. Proposals for a significant arts center, encompassing electronic music and recording studios, were planned but were thwarted by the onset of the Revolution. Nevertheless, the festival left an indelible mark on Iran’s contemporary and experimental music scene, shaping its trajectory in enduring ways.


Farzia Fallah (b. 1980): Posht-e Hichestan for solo flute

Aida Shirazi (b. 1987): ephemera for clarinet and percussion

Anahita Abbasi (b. 1985): Situation IV/Io E iO for solo violin

Arcana New Music Ensemble
Nicholas Handahl, flute
Jonathan Leeds, clarinet
Andy Thierauf, percussion
Carlos Santiago – violin


Mahya Hamedi
Shiraz Ensemble
Nooshin Nowrouzi, kamancheh
Sepehr Pirasteh, alto kamancheh
Sina Homaee, santoor

performing new works based on poetry selections by Fatemeh Shams.

This event is part of A UTOPIAN STAGE, an exhibition co-presented with Bowerbird and Asian Arts Initiative. Visit Bowerbird to learn more about this event!

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