voices of dust and trash

Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

Teaching Associate, Department of Music

Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei (دانیال رضا سبزقبایی) is a creator who is interested in looking at time through different lenses: unpacking notions of tradition, exploring memories of those past, and investigating nostalgic frameworks that lean forward. His music has been commissioned and presented by organizations including: the GRAMMY-winning New York Youth Symphony, JACK Quartet, National Sawdust, the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Proton Bern, loadbang, the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Intimacy of Creativity Festival, the American Composers Orchestra, TAK Ensemble, Beth Morrison Projects, the New York Festival of Song, bassist Robert Black, the Banff Centre, Contemporaneous, Guerilla Opera, the Moab Music Festival, Chorus Austin, the Young New Yorkers Chorus, Pro Coro Canada, The Esoterics, OPERA America, and VocalEssence among others. Daniel recently completed his doctorate at Cornell, where his dissertation focused on Persian Choral Music. Outside of music and interdisciplinary projects, Daniel also translates Persian poetry.

Vincent Lucas leads a dual career as an international soloist and orchestral soloist. Lucas’ vast orchestral career, spanning forty years, began with five years in the Capitol Orchestra of Toulouse, followed by six years with the Berlin Philharmoniker until his appointment as Principal flute at the Orchestre de Paris in September 1994, a chair that he holds to this day. In addition, Mr. Lucas appears regularly with European and French orchestras as a featured soloist.

Lucas has collaborated extensively as a chamber musician and soloist with such esteemed colleagues as Christoph Eschebach, Eric LeSage, Marie- Pierre Langlamet, Christian Ivaldi, Paul Meyer, Michel Beroff, Xavier Phillips, Svtelin Roussev, Wolfram Christ, Vincent Pasquier, Baborák Radek and many others. He is also a member of the Wind Quintet and Wind Trio of the Orchestre de Paris. Lucas has recorded several albums with Indésens, of French flute repertoire (Dutilleux, Debussy, Saint-Saens and Poulenc), an acclaimed CD of solo flute works (Marin Marais and the Telemann Fantasies) and participated in six complete works albums of Dutilleux, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Gaubert, Poulenc and Jevtic which have won numerous awards: Classica Choc, 4 Télérama Keys, 5 Diapasons, and Supersonic Pizzicato.

In addition to his career as an orchestral musician, he is sought after as a master professor of French technique in France and abroad (Germany, England, Denmark, Serbia, Italy, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, United States), continuing the tradition of his former mentors Michel Debost and Jean-Pierre Rampal. He is Principal Professor at CRR of Paris since 1999, and Assistant Professor at the CNSM of Paris since 1995. Lucas was also named honorary professor at the College of Music Toho Gakuen in Tokyo.

Louna Dekker Vargas is a Franco-American artist who has performed in New York, Paris, Baltimore, Alaska, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, New Jersey and North Carolina, floating skillfully from classical repertoire to Broadway theater productions to experimental jazz projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Peabody Conservatory and prizes for her chamber music projects and inventive programming for communities. She has received further professional training from her mentor Vincent Lucas, principal flutist of Orchestre de Paris. Louna has been been awarded artist residencies worldwide, and is currently in residence at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. She has made recent guest appearances with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra and the International Contemporary Ensemble. Starting in June 2023, she will be the Lead Artist in Residence of The Chamber of Music, a non-profit dedicated to producing world-class chamber music concerts, pedagogical events such as masterclasses and lectures, and social events around music for an international community in Paris. She is also the producer and creator of the interview series The Musician’s Craft, which launched this spring on YouTube.

Tallā Rouge, meaning ‘the Red-Gold’ in Farsi and French, was established by the fiery Persian-American & Cajun-American violists, Aria Cheregosha & Lauren Spaulding under the mentorship of Roger Tapping at The Juilliard School. Inspired by their unique musical pasts, Tallā Rouge performs music that lives at the palpable intersection between Jazz, Folk, Pop, Middle-Eastern, and Western Classical traditions. Recognized internationally for their emotional performances, Tallā Rouge received first-prize at the Frances Walton Competition, was awarded as a top-prize winner for the International Anton Rubinstein Chamber Music Competition, was invited to showcase in the 2023 Chamber Music America Conference, and was awarded NOLA ChamberFest’s “Emerging Ensemble” of the year for the 2022—2023 season. As avid supporters of their viola community, Tallā Rouge was invited to join the American Viola Society as Artist-in-Residence in 2023, and will be a featured ensemble on the 2024 inaugural American Viola Society album. Tallā Rouge made their Carnegie Hall debut with Tigran Mansurian’s powerful Lachrymae in June of 2023, and is currently the Artist in Residence at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard research institution.

Iranian artists have faced a myriad of restrictions and censorship throughout the twentieth-century. even before the Revolution and the settling-in of the Islamic Republic, the Shah also worked to control various aspects of art and artists: freedom of expression and creation has long been a varying concept in Iran and historical Persia. The Persian voice has played a key role in this censorship and fight for freedom.

As a child, one of Daniel’s strongest memories was listening to old tapes and CDs with his father that he brought along with him when he moved to the United States. Daniel vividly remember noticing that the tapes featured all types of artists and the CDs (produced later) had only female artists. When he asked his dad about this, he explained that the current Regime recognized the power of the Iranian woman’s voice and wanted to keep it under wraps, banning them from recording and performing in public. Since that time, Daniel has come to understand the power of the collective and individual Iranian voice: this exhibition explores this power, shining a light on artists and art from Iran and its diaspora. Looking at sound and music and creators that have previously been censored, because of the work itself, the politics of the creator(s), or the gender identities associated with the art and artists.

Daniel will be amassing vocalists from around the Cornell Music Department to explore Persian solo and group vocal works, which are rarely heard outside of Iran. In addition to these Cornell artists, Daniel will invite two duos of singing instrumentalists. The first group is distinguished Persian-Cajun viola duo Tallā Rouge, who incorporate a wide variety of Persian works in their repertoire. The second is a duo consisting of the distinguished principal flutist of the Orchestre de Paris, Vincent Lucas, and his former student flutist Louna Dekker Vargas.

The four players will present a blend of works from Iranian artists from the past and today, as well as works by Iranian-American faculty composer Daniel, whose works for each of these duos explore censorship, freedom of self-expression, and the Persian voice. Through individual (solo), small group (chamber), and large group (choral) explorations of the Persian voice, members of the Cornell community will come together with visiting artists to a community of artists who’ve blossomed and grown despite great restriction, reminding us all that freedom of expression flourishes despite the bruising grip of censorship.

In 2009, during the protests over the results of the presidential election, which saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retain his seat, Ahmadinejad referred to protesters as, “dust and trash.” Later, in an interview with BBC Persian, the late seminal Iranian vocalist, Mohammed Reza Shajarian, said of this, “[I am] the voice of dust and trash and [I] will always remain the voice of dust and trash.”

Prior Work
Piece played by Daniel
Piece played by Louna & Vincent
Piece played by Tallā Rouge

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