Xenakis: Persepolis, Listening Sessions
Approximate 60 min run time. Limited space available. Advanced tickets required.
In 1971, the Greek-French composer Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) was commissioned to create a piece for the opening day of the fifth edition of the Shiraz Arts Festival. The event commemorated the 2500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire and took place at the ruins of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (~550 – 330 BCE), situated about 45 miles northeast of the modern city of Shiraz. Xenakis created a site-specific, open-air spectacle called “Polytope de Persepolis”. The original performance included a 55-minute long 8-track electroacoustic composition distributed over 59 speakers, two laser beams, army searchlights, a choreography of 150 children carrying torches and several large bonfires on the surrounding hills facing the ruins.
For this event we have collaborated with the LA-based listening non-profit BLACK HOLE to present a special new rendering of “Persepolis”. This event, under the sound direction of Micah Silver, offers a rare chance to hear Xenakis’ original source audio material in a multi-speaker arrangement specifically devised for the Asian Arts Initiative Theater.
This event is part of A UTOPIAN STAGE, an exhibition at Asian Arts Initiative from February 9 to March 30, 2024, presented with Bowerbird
Pictured above: Iannis Xenakis in preparations for the premiere of “Persepolis” music and light spectacle, at the ancient ruins of Persepolis, 1971. (World Premiere, festival commission for the opening event); Courtesy Les Amis de Xenakis / Archaeology of the Final Decade Archives
Major support for A Utopian Stage has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with additional support from the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia.