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Sony Classical Presents Major Label Debut From Iranian Composer Hafez Nazeri

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SOURCE Sony Classical

RUMI SYMPHONY PROJECT CYCLE I: UNTOLD SET FOR MARCH 11 RELEASE

FEATURING SHAHRAM NAZERI, ZAKIR HUSSEIN, AND TRANSLATIONS BY DEEPAK CHOPRA

CO-PRODUCED BY GRAMMY "CLASSICAL PRODUCER OF THE YEAR" WINNER DAVID FROST AND FEATURING 38 GRAMMY WINNING MUSICIANS AND ENGINEERS

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Classical has announced a March 11th worldwide release for UNTOLD, the much-anticipated major label debut from acclaimed Iranian composer, vocalist and virtuoso instrumentalist, Hafez Nazeri. An innovative synthesis of Middle Eastern and Western elements, UNTOLD introduces Nazeri as one of modern music's most exciting new visionaries.

Co-produced by Nazeri and David Frost, who was just awarded the Grammy for "Producer of the Year, Classical," Untold is one of the first major releases celebrating the poetry and philosophy of the legendary 13th century Persian poet Rumi and his eternal message of peace, unity and love. This magnum opus features 38 Grammy Award winning musicians and engineers and took over four years and more than 5,000 studio hours in five countries to complete.

Untold is the first cycle of Hafez's ongoing project, the Rumi Symphony Project, and consists of four distinct chapters which at their whole, orchestrate the epic of our universe. The tale begins at the dawn of time, the big bang, and continues with the formation of our planet and life on earth, the emergence of the human race and our journey of the spirit through the seven stages of enlightenment. It ends with an unknown and yet, Untold, ascendance into an indefinable destination of unquantifiable possibilities.

Hafez is joined in this recording by a profound array of guest artists: tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, Grammy-winning drummer Glen Velez, cellists Matt Haimovitz and Johannes Moser, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center violist Paul Neubauer, and the New York Choir.

One of the album's many highlights are the vocals of Hafez Nazeri's father, iconic Persian vocalist Shahram Nazeri, who was the first musician to incorporate Rumi's poetry into song some forty years ago and who's sold over seventy-five million recordings to date. The album's liner notes features the poetry of Rumi as transcribed by best-selling author Deepak Chopra.

In both the instrumental and vocal passages, the listener can hear elements of East and West amalgamated into a single entity, creating a rich texture that sounds like nothing else. At the core of each of Nazeri's compositions is the presence of Rumi, whom in the words of Deepak Chopra, "delivers the divine mystery to us with passion."

"Absolutely exquisite music of the highest caliber that speaks to the soul, music that will live for a long long time… Hafez has done an extraordinary job bringing his spiritual intelligence, the longing that we find in the poems of Rumi and the modern understanding of cosmology and evolution. He's brought it all together into a single symphonic orchestra composition." says Deepak Chopra.

With Iran's top luthiers, Hafez also designed a modernized version of the traditional setar, which he introduces for the first time in Untold. Broadening the instrument's neck and adding two lower strings to drastically enhance its harmonic and melodic range by 17 chromatic pitches are just some of the advancements made in order to transform the ancient setar into an instrument capable of performance in an ensemble. This new instrument is called the Hafez - named, as is its designer, after the ancient Persian poet Hafez.

"This album has been an extremely challenging project and has created quite the learning curve for all involved to say the least," says Hafez. "I wanted to forge a unique and enduring new direction in music that will bridge all of our worldly divisions and unify us under a new and universal type of music. A lofty goal, I know, but one that's driven me to leave my beloved home country and reinvent myself and my work over the past decade.

In order to solidify the dream that was Untold, I had to travel the world to record with the players that I wanted. Individual pieces became so complex and genre-defying that even the virtuoso musicians that I was fortunate enough to work with found it challenging. I, too, occasionally struggled to play or sing what I had envisioned and created.

This process resulted in a significant change in the general approach to composition thanks to the main goal of Untold which is to present an indivisible balance between Eastern and Western musical elements. A composition, that while keeping the integrity of its ancient Eastern derivation, melds it with the complexity of modern Western harmony and orchestration into a new and yet undefined genre of music.

In this recording I have invented a new vocal approach in which I have utilized my voice simply as an instrument with mostly no spoken text. I also had to evolve the technical executions of all the instruments involved in order to adapt to this new grey area that I had created between the black and white of Eastern and Western composition that I am showcasing in this release. All of these details complement the album's main theme, which is change."

For Hafez, the goal of change extends beyond music-making. After years of political conflict, Untold arrives at a time when tensions between Iran and the West appear to be softening. Hafez hopes his music and art can call attention to the rich contributions of Persian civilization in world culture.

"When all that we hear about Iran is filtered through headlines of intolerance, it's more important than ever to shine a light on the country's 7,000-year-old cultural history with its deeply poetic and artistic mystical tradition. I'd be honored to have my music help spark a new conversation." says Hafez.

"I think this music has the capacity to totally transform our consciousness, literally cause a mutation in our consciousness and as that shifts everything shifts: the way we think, the way we behave, the way we speak to each other and the way we interact with the world," adds Deepak Chopra.

Hafez will be promoting the album with a North American tour that kicks off March 8th at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Dates are as follows:

March 8

Toronto Roy   

Thomson Hall

March 9

Montreal      

Place des Arts

March 14

Dallas      

Eisemann Center

March 23

San Jose, CA 

Flint Center

March 29

Los Angeles  

Nokia Theatre

April 5

Washington    

Warner Theatre

April 13

Chicago     

Copernicus

April 19

Atlanta      

Ferst Center

April 20

Houston     

Cullen Hall

April 26

Vancouver  

Orpheum Theatre

ABOUT HAFEZ NAZERI
Hafez Nazeri is Iran's most influential and innovative new composer and vocalist. The son of legendary musician Shahram Nazeri, Hafez started his training at age two and has been performing alongside his father at music festivals in Europe and the Middle East since the age of nine. With a diploma in composition and conducting from the Mannes School of Music in New York, Hafez is also a virtuoso on several traditional Persian instruments. He has extended the technique of playing the setar and devised a new version of the instrument called the hafez. Hafez Nazeri is the founder of the highly acclaimed Rumi Symphony Project, a record-breaking sensation in the history of the Middle East. In 2007, having played to nearly 140,000 wildly enthusiastic fans in Iran, Hafez toured in the U.S. along with his father. His sold-out performances have filled Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Disney Hall in Los Angeles and other major venues around the world.

As Hafez has tackled one major production after another in the U.S., he has attracted the attention of increasing numbers of important print, web and broadcast media, creating a steadily building appreciation for his music and ideas. He has been interviewed and/or reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN, Fox News, BBC World Service, ABC, NPR and many more.

Hafez has made his home in New York City, with occasional visits to Tehran.

                                                              www.hafeznazeri.com

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