CONRAD HARRIS

violinist

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Carnegie Hill Concerts

Carnegie Hill Concerts presents Chamber Music by Ramin Heydarbeygi performed by the Carnegie Hill Concerts Chamber Players at Church of the Advent Hope.

Carnegie Hill Concerts Chamber Players:

Christina Kay, Soprano

Conrad Harris, Violin

Pauline Kim Harris, Violin

Dana Kelley, Viola

Michael Haas, Cello

Stephen Gosling, Piano

Program:

String Quartet No. 2

WP 2017

Gefangene, Musik hörend

(after Käthe Kollwitz)

for two violins

WP 2019

Setayesh az Anahid

for string trio

2008

(revised version)

Avaz hay Nima

for voice and viola

2011/2019

Astvihad

for soprano and piano

2012

Rok-ku no haiku

2004/2019

for violin and piano

Program Notes:

The title of my song cycle, Astvihad (2012), in Old Persian, refers to the demon of death. I have used a number of poems that relate directly or indirectly to this subject. The collection of poems used for this song cycle are from the 9th century to present by Hafez, Sanai, Rudaki, Khoi, and Khaiyam. Astvihad was commissioned by Dr. Faustus for the “New Art Songs Project 2012,” and premiered on 8 May 2012 at WMP Concert Hall, New York, by Mary Hubbell, soprano, and Mirna Lekic, piano.

For many years I have been fascinated by the poetry of Nima, the father of modern Persian poetry. For me, his poems are musical, with distinct characters; however, once translated to other languages, these distinctions are lost. In many of his poems, including the three I have chosen for this cycle, there is an underlying dark, melancholic tone, which, in this case, unifies the selected poems. Avaz hay Nima (2009, rev 2019) was premiered by H. Roz Woll, voice, and William Hakim, viola, on 20 May 2009 at Elebash Concert Hall, New York. This performance marks the premiere of the revised version.

Gefangene, Musik hörend (after Käthe Kollwitz) (2019) centers on the notions of loss and memory. The title is based a work by German expressionist artist Käthe Kollwitz. Remembering what is lost when only its illusion exists in our memory or dreams is the central idea of this work. The musical element that represents the past is quotations and references made to JS Bach’s Sonata No. 3 for Solo Violin, at times latently. For this piece, I have suggested two performance versions, one is with inclusion of the first movement of Bach’s Sonata. This marks the first performance of this work.

Rok-ku no Haiku (2004-05, rev 2019) is in six movements, each movements expresses a different emotion. Despite the fact that there is a reference to Haiku in the title, this work, similar to my other works, should be viewed as Persian miniatures, an artistic expression found in classical poetry book illustration, as well as in poetic structures found rubai (or rubaiyat). Rok-ku no Haiku was first performed by Pauline Kim-Harris, violin, and Eric Huebner, piano, on 2 June 2005 at CAMI Hall, New York. This performance marks the premiere of the revised version.

Anahid, Anahita, Ab-Nahid, or Nahid, a Zoroastrian yazata, is an Iranian divinity, the one who “possesses waters,” and is the “mother of all knowledge,” and is celebrated in Aban Yasht, the longest of the Avestan hymns, verses from her hymn form the greater part of the Āban Niyayesh. Anahid was worshipped at many natural sanctuaries throughout Iranian territory. An Anahid temple, next to Shapur I’s palace at Bishapur, could be flooded with water, where Anahid was worshiped. This water-goddess and mother-goddess, responsible for life, was royally promoted and became widely popular. Artaxerxes II (404-359 B.C.) invoked Anahita, after Ahura Mazda and Mithra, and he encouraged her worship. Anahita has been a prominent figure in artistic representation and figures mainly in Zoroastrian literature. Setayesh az Anahid is a tribute to Nahid Jenabzadeh. The original version of this work was premiered by members of the Barbad Chamber Orchestra, Cyrus Beroukhim, violin, Miranda Sielaff, viola, and Arash Amini, violoncello, on 28 April 2010 at Steinway Reformed Church in Astoria, New York. This performance marks the premiere of the revised version.

String Quartet No. 2 (2017) consists of seven movements. In this work, a series of gestures in each movement leads to final movement, which is built as a strong closing gesture. This gesture brings the piece to a close in unison on a single note.