Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts Presents Ostad Hossein Omoumi, 6/30

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A concert of classical Persian music performed by the remarkable Ostad Hossein Omoumi, master of the Persian ney, as well as vocal performance by Jessika Kenney, readings by Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz and Eyvind Kang on viola and setar, will take place Saturday, June 30, 8 pm at PONCHO Concert Hall, located at 710 East Roy St., Seattle, Wash. Call 206-726-5112 for tickets and more information, or visit www.cornish.edu/musicseries. Tickets are $20 general; $15 seniors; $10 students and Cornish alumni.

Hamin Honari will join the others on the tombak, and students of the Summer at Cornish’s Classical Persian Music workshop will sing the poetry of the great 13th century poet Sa’adi.

Ostad Hossein Omoumi was born in 1944, in Isfahân, Iran, and began his musical education singing with his father, and at age 14, started studying the ney, the traditional reed flute of Iran. While studying architecture, he was accepted as a student at the National Superior Conservatory of Music in Tehran, where he studied with Mahmud Karimi, Farhâd Fakhreddini, and Hassan Kassâei. Dr. Omoumi’s performing career has included appearances major festivals and concert halls in Europe and the United States, including UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall and Wadsworth Theater, the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the World Music Institute and Asia Society in New York, and Theatre de la Ville in Paris. Dr. Omoumi is a noted scholar and teacher of Persian music, having served on the National Conservatory, Tehran University, Center for Conservation and Diffusion of Music (Iran National Television), Tehran, and the Center for Oriental Music Studies (CEMO) of the Sorbonne University in Paris. He is now the Maseeh Professor in Persian Performing Arts at the University of California at Irvine. His research on the making of the ney and Iranian percussions has opened new possibilities and introduced significant innovations to the ney, tombak and daf.

Hamin Honari was born in Iran and immigrated to Canada at the age of one. Hamin began learning music through his family and began formal training on the tombak through Ramin Bahrami. He later continued his studies with Pejman Haddadi. Hamin has toured and performed with artists Ostad Parissa, Saeed Farajpouri, Hossein Behroozinia and Rahmatolla Badiyi.

Violist Eyvind Kang has worked with Jessika Kenney, Bill Frisell and Laurie Anderson, as well as written arrangements for Sunn O))), Blonde Redhead, and many others. He has also released many acclaimed albums of original music, including The Narrow Garden (2012, Ipecac), Visible Breath (Ideologic Organ, 2011), The Yelm Sessions (2007, Tzadik). His compositions have been performed by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Coro da Camera di Modena, Seattle Chamber Players, and many others. He has also written scores for theater and film, and worked extensively as an arranger in jazz and rock.

Jessika Kenney is a vocalist, composer, and faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts. She has performed and recorded internationally for the last 15 years, and studied many areas of vocal music, particularly classical Persian vocal music and Central Javanese vocal music. Jessika has worked with many amazing musicians in traditional and experimental contexts. Her recorded works include Aestuarium, composed and performed with her husband Eyvind Kang, Stonehouse Songs with Jarrad Powell, and Voices of Spring with the Hossein Omoumi Ensemble. Her original music includes settings of the poetry of Attar in Atria and Her Sword. She has studied radif and classical poetry with Ostad Omoumi since 2004 and is a student of the Persian language.

Dr. Fatemeh Keshavarz is an Iranian academic, writer and literary figure. She is a professor of Persian Language and Comparative Literature and chair of the department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis. Fatemeh Keshavarz holds a B.A. (1976) in Persian Language and Literature from Shiraz University, and an M.A. (1981) and a Ph.D. (1985) in Near Eastern Studies from School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Professor Keshavarz has taught at Washington University since 1990, where she currently chairs the Department of Asian Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. She has served as Director of the Graduate Program in Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies, Director of the Center for the Study of Islamic Societies and Civilizations, and President of the Association of Women Faculty. Her recent books include Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi, and Jasmine and Stars: reading more than Lolita in Tehran. Her hour-long episode of NPR’s Speaking of Faith hosted by Krista Tippett on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” received the Peabody Award in 2008.

A pioneer in arts education, Cornish College of the Arts sprang from the remarkable vision of Nellie Cornish, a woman determined to cultivate the arts in Seattle when it was scarcely more than a frontier town. Her philosophy of educating the artist through exposure to all the arts was progressive at the time, and continues to be innovative today. The College offers Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Art, Dance, Design, Performance Production and Theater, and a Bachelor of Music degree. It is one of three private colleges in the United States focusing on both the performing and visual arts, and the only college of its kind in the Northwest. The College is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.