Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mehr News: "I am still conductor of Tehran Symphony Orchestra: Mashayekhi"

It's hard to give a really convincing performance of the Martyr's Symphony when you are worried about paying the bills:
Nader Mashayekhi still deems himself conductor of the Tehran Symphony Orchestra despite the recent decision of the music and poetry office of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

The office announced on July 1 that the Tehran Symphony Orchestra no longer had a permanent leader and that in the future it would be led by guest conductors.

"I heard the report via the media and I have not yet received any official notice. However, it is not important, because they also treated Fereidun Nasseri and Ali Rahbari ill-manneredly, and I don’t take notice of such attitudes," Mashayekhi told Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.

"It is natural that it’s difficult to work under such tense conditions… but we will do our best," he added.

"I will show patience, because I like to work in my country and with young talented Iranians. The situation is very hard. I think they want to see what my reaction is to their moves and all the difficulties. I will continue my work until I am officially dismissed from the post," he explained.

Mashayekhi, who used to be based in Austria, was invited and assigned by Iranian cultural officials to conduct the orchestra in 2005. Just a few months previously, his counterpart, Ali Rahbari, had quit because of financial problems and changes in the cultural policy.

Austrian-based Iranian musician and conductor Rahbari, had been invited in 2004 to reorganize the orchestra, but he resigned in February 2005 and left Tehran for Vienna.

Rahbari had said in his resignation letter that he could not bear the situation when he saw that a good musician in his orchestra was getting paid only 800,000 rials (about $85) a month.
It's a good thing that Iran instituted gas rationing. Can you imagine how hard it would be to get by with plentiful, low-priced gas available?
However, Mashayekhi agreed to resume rehearsals with the very low budget allocated.

In early 2007, Mashayekhi complained about delays in the payment of the wages of the musicians and said that salaries fell short of the expenses of an ordinary life.

Several months ago, a council comprising several musicians was commissioned to manage the orchestra. Shortly afterwards Mashayekhi threatened to give in his notice if the council intervened in his job.
I'm under the impression that Sunni extremists forbid instrumental music while Shi'ite extremists permit it. Still, the classical music scene might represent more Western influence than the Mullahs can tolerate.

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