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February 28, 2005

Chakavak Ensemble to Perform Persian Classical Music on March 29

The Chakavak Ensemble will perform Persian classical music at the Library of Congress at noon on Tuesday, March 29, in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, Music Division and American Folklife Center, is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required.

Under the direction of Nader Majd, the ensemble will perform at the Library in commemoration of Nowruz (New Day), the first day of the Iranian solar year (March 20) marking the first day of the spring equinox. Nowruz is celebrated by the Afghan, Azerbaijani, Kazakh, Kurdish, Kyrgyz, Pashtun, Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbek peoples and by the followers of the Zoroastrian faith in the region and around the world.

Majd will play the tar (a plucked instrument), accompanied by Patricia McInturf on kamancheh (a spiked fiddle), Alireza Analouei on tombak (a goblet drum), Nahid Nasseri on setar (a three-stringed lute) and Janel Lippin on cello.

Persian classical music dates to the sixth century B.C. During the time of the Achaemenid Empire (550-331 B.C.), music played an important role in prayer and in royal and national events. Persian music had its golden age under the reign of the Sassanid dynasty, A.D. 100-630 Later in the medieval period, public performances were frowned upon and were limited to royal courts, but music continued to be part of religious ceremonies and certain folk traditions. Public performances of secular music resumed 200 years ago, beginning with the Qajar period.

Born in Iran, Majd is an Iranian musician and scholar. He came to the United States in 1968 to earn a doctorate degree in economics at Georgetown University. After a 20-year career as an economist at the World Bank, he retired in 1998 and founded the Center for Persian Classical Music in Vienna, Va. The center teaches Iranian music theory as well as a variety of instruments such as tar, setar, santur (a lute), violin and vocals—all of which Majd has taught for the past decade. Majd formed the Chakavak Ensemble to provide a showcase for his students to perform the music of their native land.

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PR 05-024
02/28/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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