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Chamber Music of REZA VALI

Reza Vali


World Premiere Recordings



Winner of "Iranian Grammy Award", or The Bârbad Award for Best Contemporary Classical Music [Feb 2022]

"The Carpe Diem String Quartet plays with their expected high level of musicianship. Violinist Charles Wetherbee and pianist David Korevaar give fine performances."
Karl F. Miller, Fanfare [May/June 2020]
"a lavishly coloured, musically exhilarating kaleidoscope of Persian and Western forms and content. It is the improvisational nature of the three works written for and performed by the Carpe Diem Quartet with great gusto and an emphasis on exotic folk and Eastern influences that produces the most powerful effects... [in Raak] the wealth of evocative sounds and sources Vali uses to achieve his many climaxes include a melody of Brahms-ian breadth and beauty... Vali generously and provocatively provides two different versions of Âshoob: In its original form for quartet and the Persian hammered dulcimer known as a santoor it is a tangibly otherworldly experience; arranged for string quartet alone it is hypnotic in another way, reminiscent at times of Bartók’s use of folk sources for melody and energy."
Laurence Vittes, Gramophone [July 2020]
"The traditional Persian musical heritage of composer Reza Vali forms a vital core for much of a recent volume devoted to his chamber music, Longing (MS1738). It features the very sympathetic readings of the Carpe Diem Quartet, violinist Charles Wetherbee, pianist David Korevaar and for one piece, santoor player Dariush Saghafi... [in this program] a Persian world of feeling-expression presents itself in rewarding ways... There are some remarkable works to be heard... listen to [the works] again and you no doubt will begin to hear how it comes together with an original flair that is by no means a given but dependent on Reza Vali's sensibility and genuine talent... I most certainly do recommend this one for those adventurous souls looking for a different take on the World-Classical nexus... Bravo."
Grego Applegate Edwards [April 2020]
"Performances by the quartet [are] hard to believe, given the tunings and often wild rhythms."
Gimbel, American Record Guide [March/April 2020]
"Hearing it for the first time, a listener rooted in Western music might think Reza Vali’s Longing a new departure in contemporary music. But, after reading Vali’s biography in the CD pamphlet, one will realize he has created instead a hybrid version of world music in which East joins West through his creative process and musical roots... His music comes alive through the virtuoso playing of the Carpe Diem String Quartet along with other musicians on violin, piano and santoor... They play Vali’s compositions with great enthusiasm and sensitiviy, while using their instruments skillfully to meet its tonal qualities".
Joel C. Thompson, Cherry Grove Music Review [February 2020]
Reza Vali's Longing presents the listener with a tantalizing puzzle to decode. As the title suggests, themes of love and desire are intricately threaded throughout a shifting kaleidoscope of forms and aesthetics, framed by the austerity of Vali’s ongoing investigation into the traditions of his Persian musical heritage. The assembled works on this recording create a poly-stylistic tapestry that is on the whole unabashedly honest and exhibits Vali's commitment to expressing his native culture within a Western framework. Equally inspired by some of the great European masters whom he admires and the profound and ancient traditions and figures of his native Iran, Vali has been termed 'the Iranian Bartók' due to his penchant for collecting folksongs and synthesizing as a result his own very distinct and personal musical style, built upon this foundation.

REZA VALI was born in Ghazvin, Iran, in 1952. He began his musical studies at the Conservatory of Music in Tehran and in 1972 traveled to Austria where he studied music education and composition at the Academy of Music in Vienna. After graduating from the Academy of Music, he moved to the United States and continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where he received his PhD in music theory and composition in 1985. Vali has been a faculty member of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University since 1988. He has received numerous honors and commissions, including the honor prize of the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, two Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships, commissions from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Kronos Quartet, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, as well as grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as the Outstanding Emerging Artist for which he received the Creative Achievement Award. Vali’s orchestral compositions have been performed in the United States by the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Baltimore Symphony, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestra 2001. His chamber works have received performances by Cuarteto Latinoamericano, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Carpe Diem String Quartet, Kronos Quartet, the Seattle Chamber Players, and the Da Capo Chamber Players. His music has been performed in Europe, China, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong, and Australia and is recorded on the Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, New Albion, MMC, Ambassador, Albany, and ABC Classics labels.

One of the most unique and sought-after chamber ensembles on the concert stage today, the Carpe Diem String Quartet is a boundary-breaking ensemble that has earned widespread critical acclaim. Carpe Diem defies easy classification with programming that includes classical, Gypsy, tango, folk, pop, rock and jazz-inspired music. The quartet appears on concert series at traditional venues, including Carnegie Hall, Jordan Hall, National Gallery of Art, Chautauqua Institute, Asolo Theater, Accademia Chigiana and Suntory Hall, as well as unconventional ones, including Poisson Rouge, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Half-Moon Bay, The Redlands Bowl and The Mug & Brush. Carpe Diem has been awarded six transformative grants from the PNC Foundation for their community outreach in Central Ohio. Highly active recording artists, the group has released the complete string quartets of Sergei Taneyev (Naxos) as well as the complete string quartets of Jonathan Leshnoff. They have also released two CDs with singer-guitarist Willy Porter, Anansi and the Sky God with saxophonist John Gunther, the complete string quartets of Richard Jordan Smoot, Quintets Nos.1 and 2 for Mandolin and String Quartet by Jeff Midkiff and Bruce Wolosoff’s Songs without Words. Carpe Diem's CD Montana, featuring music by composer and quartet member Korine Fujiwara, received widespread acclaim. The quartet seeks out, and is sought after by, artists from many different genres for collaboration, including bandoneón player Raul Juarena, klezmer clarinetist David Krakauer, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, banjo virtuoso Jayme Stone, Celtic flautist Shannon Heaton, mandolinist Jeff Midkiff, Dixieland trumpeter Tom Battenberg, classical guitarist Nicolo Spera, Chinese pipa player Yihan Chen, Jazz Quartet the Whirly Birds, and a world master of the Persian santoor, Dariush Saghafi. Carpe Diem is dedicated to community engagement, and also to pushing the limits of the classical string quartet to change the concert experience of chamber music. Using innovative programming, thematic concerts, popular music, video-enhanced visual presentation and engagement with the audience from the stage, Carpe Diem is helping to bring new audiences to the concert hall. [ ]

David Korevaar performs an extensive repertoire as a soloist and chamber musician around the United States and internationally. In addition to teaching at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he holds the Peter and Helen Weil fellowship in piano and where he has been named Distinguished Research Lecturer (2016), he is an active performer and recording artist. In the spring of 2016, Korevaar spent two weeks teaching in Kabul at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). The 2016-2017 season also included two tours to Brazil and a recital and master classes in Mexico City. In autumn 2017, he conducted and performed two of Mozart's piano concertos in Boulder, a skill he acquired in Japan and Brazil over the last several years. Korevaar’s extensive discography includes numerous solo and chamber music recordings, most recently a recording of piano music by Lowell Liebermann (MSR) and a world premiere recording of piano music by the early 20th century Italian composer Luigi Perrachio. Other recent releases include a disc of chamber works by Tibor Harsányi with Charles Wetherbee (Naxos), a Chopin recital (MSR), Hindemith's three Piano Sonatas and Suite “1922” (MSR) and two Schubert Sonatas (MSR). In addition, his collaboration with members of the Takacs Quartet has resulted in a number of releases, including a disc of Brahms with violist Geraldine Walther and cellist Andras Fejer (MSR), two Beethoven Violin Sonatas with violinist Edward Dusinberre (Decca) and Hindemith's music for Viola and Piano with Geraldine Walther (MSR). Korevaar also writes on various musical topics, with a focus on French music.

Dariush Saghafi began his study of santoor (also spelled santur) at the age of 11 with Ostad Abolhassan Saba, a leading figure in Persian music. Dr. Saghafi was twice the recipient of the Gold Medal in santoor competitions among students from all Iranian colleges and universities and subsequently taught santoor at the Tabriz School of Music in Iran. Saghafi, a recipient of the 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship Award in Traditional Art, is a highly respected musician whose santoor playing and style reflect the traditional excellence of the master players of the instrument. His performances in Iran have included concerts in Tehran and Tabriz, both as a soloist and in ensembles. In the United States, he has performed to critical acclaim at New York University, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and has given numerous concerts in Ohio and in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, region. Saghafi is a regular collaborator of composer Reza Vali, performing Vali's work for santoor and string quartet with Cuarteto Latinoamericano, Quatro Puntos and the Carpe Diem String Quartet.
THREE ROMANTIC SONGS for Violin and Piano (2011)
I. Moderato
II. Adagio – Molto allegro
III. Tango Johannes

ÂSHOOB (Calligraphy No.14) for Santoor and String Quartet (2014)

RAAK (Calligraphy No.15) for String Quartet (2016)

LOVE DRUNK (Folk Songs, Set No.16B) for Violin and Piano (2014)
I. Longing
II. In Memory of a Lost Beloved
III. The Girl from Shiraz
IV. Love Drunk

ÂSHOOB (Calligraphy No.14) for String Quartet (2015)

ORMAVI (String Quartet No.4) (2017)
I. Hisar 1
II. Osool
III. Hesâr
IV. Zirafkand 1
V. Hisar 2
VI. Zirafkand 2
VII. Rooh
VIII. Hora

MSR Classics
Music for String Quartet and Turkish Folk CARPE DIEM …