BY VAHID JAHANDARI
VAHID JAHANDARI is a graduate student in music composition at the University of Texas at Austin where he studies with Russell Pinkston, Bruce Pennycook, and Yevgeniy Sharlat. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from the Tehran University of Art.
Recently, his works “The Checkered City” for symphonic orchestra and “…And, I Speak to You” for clarinet quintet were selected as the first-prize winners of the 2Agosto International and Ahmad Pejman National composition competitions. Both of these pieces were performed in two different festivals in Bologna, Italy, and Tehran. Jahandari also collaborated with the composer Ehsan Saboohi as the solo tenor singer in an experimental music album titled Phonemes Requiem by both Spectropol Records in Washington, D.C. and the Mahoor Institute of Culture and Arts in Tehran.
Jahandari’s passion in music comes from being raised in a highly musical environment. As a piano and guitar performer, his older brother was always an inspiration. Jahandari began his first music lessons in violin when he was just eight-years-old. His first attempts in composition were writing some works for solo violin at the age of fourteen. His childhood dream was to improve his performance techniques so that he could one day become a legendary violinist like Paganini. Besides playing violin, Jahandari also started to play piano at that age. To improve his compositional techniques, he attempted to compose in variety of genres (Western classical, Iranian traditional, popular, new age, rock, and jazz) in order to earn adequate experience and discover his musical interests. Although he didn’t know principles of orchestration very well at the time, he composed a baroque violin concerto influenced by Vivaldi’s music, The Four Seasons. Starting to take music more seriously, Jahandari applied to the Art University of Tehran, which is the highest-ranked university in fine arts in Iran. His education was funded with a full tuition waiver. Jahandari’s repertoire included all classical music periods, especially 20th- and 21st-century composers.
“The Vulture” is inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, “The Vulture and the Little Girl,” taken by South African photojournalist Kevin Carter. The photograph, in which a vulture stands in the dirt behind an emaciated child, apparently waiting for it to die, hauntingly captures the desperation and misery of the famine that hit the horn of Africa in 1993. All the sounds used in “The Vulture” were derived from a double bass. At certain points during the piece, the goal has been to distance the sound from the actual timbre of the double bass, and to engage the imagination of the listeners in considering different possible sources for the sounds. “The Vulture” premiered at EARS: Electro-Acoustic Recital Series in October 2016. The piece was also choreographed and performed at Ears, Eyes + Feet: collaborative works by composers, choreographers and media artists in May 2017.