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July 2014
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Iranian-American Composer Confronts Painful Ties

Composer Richard Danielpour

Composer Richard Danielpour

On Wednesday, July 2 at 6:30 pm, tune into WFMT for a live broadcast from the Grant Park Music Festival. Wednesday’s program features a work by American composer Richard Danielpour, Darkness in the Ancient Valley.

According to the composer, Darkness is of a personal nature. Though he grew up in New York, he comes from a family of Persian Jews who left Iran during World War II. The composer said he had always distanced himself from his family history. That changed in 2009 when the shooting of a young Iranian woman made headlines around the world.

The young woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, had gone with her voice teacher to witness an anti-government protest. She was shot dead as she stepped out of the car. The scene went viral and deeply effected the composer. He decided to write Darkness in the Ancient Valley in tribute to Agha-Soltan.

“The voice of this woman is, for me, a metaphor for the voice of the people of Iran, who have endured much under the present regime, but who nonetheless refuse to retaliate with violence.”

Hear this work by American composer Richard Danielpour played by the Grant Park Orchestra. Giancarlo Guerrero conducts this concert with Chicago-native Gabriel Cabezas playing the solo cello in the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto in A minor. The Ryan Opera Center’s Tracy Cantin will also be appearing in music by Francis Poulenc. WFMT’s live broadcast begins at 6:30 pm.

See a video of music by Richard Danielpour: