Elshan Ghasimi is a master of the Persian long-necked Tar lute and Persian classical music. She began her training at the age of nine at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. At 17, she became the youngest member of the Iranian National Orchestra (1998-2006) under the direction of Farhad Fakhreddini. She has been living in Germany since 2016, where she works as a soloist and composer and performs with ensembles such as Concerto Köln and Ensemble ɛkstʁaktə (Extrakte).
Since September 2023 she is a scholarship holder of the Concerto21 Foundation. The foundation accompanies her especially in her exploration of Persian classical music.
Works of art are reflections of their time. An Iranian musician in the diaspora, who was not allowed to publish her musical work in her home country, is the first woman to renew the ancient melodic repertoire of Persian classical music, the Radīf. In doing so, she is also acting as a preserver of a musical tradition that is in danger of being torn down after the Islamic revolution of 1979. Since 2009, the Radīf has been included in UNESCO's 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'.
The Radīf as a melodic repertoire of classical Persian music is divided into a total of twelve modules and melodic units, the so-called dastgahs and gushehs. These melodies have been handed down, in part orally, for thousands of years, until the 20th century alone. In the first chapter of the composition project, which is planned to last several years, Ghasimi devotes herself to the 34 melodies of the Dastgāh-e Shur module. The premiere of her new interpretation of the Radīf at the Bode Museum on November 10, 2022, was recorded live.
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title photo © Stark&Shakupa