Key Chorale Announces 2024 US Premiere with Iranian Composer

Arts & Culture

Key Chorale will present the US premiere of “The Legend of Bijan and Manijeh” by Iranian composer Farhad Poupel for piano, choir, and orchestra with pianist Jeffrey Biegel in February 2024. This evocative work is based on an ancient Persian love story taken from the Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), an epic poem by Persian poet Ferdowsi written between 977 and 1010 CE. The friendship between artistic director Joseph Caulkins and pianist Jeffrey Biegel led to this opportunity for Key Chorale. They have done numerous projects together, including one memorable performance of Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy” in 2018 with the Chorale. Farhad Poupel initially approached Jeffery Biegel regarding his solo piano music, and conversations led to Biegel inquiring if Poupel would compose a new work for piano, orchestra and chorus based on a Persian theme. As a result, “The Legend of Bijan and Manijeh” will have its World Premiere in November 2022 with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Franz conducting, and, the US Premiere in February 2024 with Key Chorale and Orchestra, Joseph Caulkins conducting. The story of 'Bijan and Manijeh' is about two lovers from rival countries. As typical for many Shahnameh's stories, it helps us see the humanity beyond nationality, religious, gender, family ties or political wars.

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