Highlights of the 2004-05 season for Behzad Ranjbaran include the October 2004 release of his Persian Trilogy by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by JoAnn Falletta on Delos; the orchestral cycle, comprising the works Seemorgh, The Blood of Seyavash and Seven Passages, takes its inspiration from ancient Persian legends, as recounted in the 11th century epic poem Shahname (The Book of Kings). Joshua Bell gives North American premieres of the Violin Concerto in March and April 2005, with the Indianapolis Symphony, conducted by Mario Venzago, followed by a performance with the Toronto Symphony, conducted by Peter Oundjian. Chantal Juillet and the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Charles Dutoit, perform the Violin Concerto as part of Ranjbaran's summer residency in Saratoga, which also includes the premiere on August 10th of Saratoga, an orchestral work in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Saratoga Music Festival, as well as performances of various chamber works. August 2005 is also the month of an International Sejong Soloists commission for string orchestra which will be premiered at the opening concert of the Great Mountains Music Festival in South Korea. This concert will be broadcast live by the Korean Broadcasting System.

In addition to the Persian Trilogy and the Violin Concerto, his recent compositions and commissions include: Symphony No.1; Songs of Eternity, which was premiered by Renée Fleming and the Seattle Symphony, conducted by Gerard Schwarz; a cello concerto for Paul Tobias; Open Secret for chorus and chamber orchestra; Ballade for solo double bass for the International Society of Bassists; and Moto Perpetuo, for violin and string orchestra.

Ranjbaran's music has variously been described as "one of the most breathtaking modern story ballets" (Lisa A. DuBois, Nashville Banner, about The Blood of Seyavash), as having "qualities of inherent beauty and strong musical structure that make it a satisfying musical entity" (Henry Arnold, Nashville Scene, about The Blood of Seyavash) and as having "radiant luminescence" (Cecelia Porter, The Washington Post, for Elegy for Strings). John Farrell (Press-Telegram) said about Seven Passages that "Ranjbaran plays the colors of the orchestra with an unconscious mastery: here the entire gathering of forces on stage are at his command, and he uses that power with grace and ease." Accolades continue for the recent Songs of Eternity, which was described in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Philippa Kiraly) as "beautiful" and with "exquisite melismas (expressive passages sung on one syllable)"; and Joe Riley commented in the Liverpool Echo that the Violin Concerto is "high class, cohesive" and "when the concerto…just sings out a fine melodic line, the effect is ravishing."

Ranjbaran, born in Tehran, Iran, is the recipient of the Rudolf Nissim Award for his Violin Concerto. His musical education started early when he entered the Tehran Music Conservatory at the age of nine. He came to the United States in 1974, where he attended Indiana University and received his doctorate from the Juilliard School. He is on the faculty of The Juilliard School.

Named as "Distinguished Artist" by the New Jersey Council on the Arts, Ranjbaran's honors also include a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a grant from Meet the Composer (composer/choreographer project), and a Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Ranjbaran's music has been performed in Europe, South America, Asia and throughout the United States.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | February 13, 1998