Dual-national collaboration between Cuatro Puntos and Afghanistan National Institute of Music to record Gullistan-e Nur by Dr. Sadie Harrison
During 2014 several musicians from Cuatro Puntos traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan to spend the summer teaching eager young musicians at the Afghanistan National Intitute of Music (ANIM.) Under the recent Taliban regime, Afghanistan became the first place in history where ALL music was outlawed – playing, singing, even listening.
Here in the United States we have thousands of concerts of all genres that go on simultaneously through the country every evening. In Afghanistan, this is far from so. Much of the conservative culture still looks down upon musicians, and the ongoing violence and poverty of a raging war makes music making nearly impossible.
However, despite the odds, concerts do occasionally happen. One of those was a ground-breaking chamber music performance that involved several Cuatro Puntos musicians (Americans) performing side-by-side with young Afghan artists. Cuatro Puntos commissioned a piece from composer and Afghan music scholar Dr. Sadie Harrison. This piece, titled “Dast be Dast” (Hand to Hand in the Afghan Dari language) is for viola, rubab, and tabla. The performance of this chamber music concert at the French Cultural Center in Kabul may have been the most heavily secured and guarded classical chamber music concerts in the history of music, but it was a huge success.
A few months later in December 2014, the students of ANIM gave another concert at the same location. This time, a suicide bomber got into the building and detonated his explosives during the performance. Several people in the audience were killed, and the beloved director of the school was seriously injured.
Our current project comes as a response to this brazen attack against our cherished friends and students in Afghanistan. Cuatro Puntos is again working with Dr. Sadie Harrison, this time on a much larger scale work that simultaneously commerates those lost and injured, and shows solidarity with Afghan musicians who are beating all odds.
The work “Gullistan-e Nur” (The Rosegarden of Light) is based on Afghan song and written for string sextet (2 violins, 2 violas, cello, and bass) accompanied by the Girls’ Ensemble of ANIM. The main movements will be performed by the sextet, and interluding connectors between the movements will be performed by the Afghan Girls’ Ensemble in Kabul.
Cuatro Puntos has already received a generous grants from the US Embassy of Kabul and the University of Hartford to send two musicians back to Afghanistan in summer of 2015. At this time, we will teach the Girl’s Ensemble and record audio and video recordings of the girls.
The work will be publicly performed 10+ times in the United States, as well as in Germany and England.
We are asking support from New Music USA to cover the costs of recording the main movements of the sextet in a studio in Hartford, Connecticut. The complete work, which will combine the recordings made in Hartford with those made by the girls in Kabul, will become part of an album showing trans-cultural solidarity.
An Unexpected Light explores the folk musics from four countries, Lithuania, Georgia, Khojent (now Russian Ferghana) and Armenia, and is intended as a comment on the gradual transformation of musical cultures that once thrived in all their variety in the early Twentieth Century.
Sadie Harrison is the composer of “Gullistan-e Nur,” the piece based on Afghan folk song that we would like to record in collaboration with the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.
Egyptian composer Mohamed Aly Farag was one of the top winners of Cuatro Puntos’ Zvi Zeitlin Memorial International Composer’s Competition. This work is rooted in Egyptian classical music. Mr. Farag visited Connecticut for a residency in fall of 2014, and this sort of cross-cultural performance and dialogue is central to the mission of Cuatro Puntos. This performance took place in Hartford, Connecticut in 2014. It involves the following who will also be a part of this project: Aaron Packard, Steve Larson, Kevin Bishop, Allan Ballinger
American composer Andrew Stiefel was the grand prize winner in Cuatro Puntos’2014 Zvi Zeitlin Memorial International Composer’s Competition. This performance of new music by an American composer outside of the United States is part of Cuatro Puntos’ mission of cross-cultural musical dialogue. This performance took place in Florianopolis, Brazil in 2014. It involves the following who will also be a part of this project: Aaron Packard, Annie Trépanier, Kevin Bishop
Start and End Dates
01/02/2016 — 03/12/2016