Before Dawn (2017, rev. 2023) - ca. 7'

1, 1, 1, 1 – 1, 1, 1, 0 – timp+1 – strings [43321]


Pacific Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Kohl - (more info/ticket)

October 29th, Bothwell Arts Center, Livermore, CA

Program Notes:

In 1999, I bore witness to the profound anxiety that gripped my parents as student protests unfolded in Iran. The haunting images of the University of Tehran's students, their shirts stained with blood from brutal attacks by security forces, left an indelible mark on my memory. Years later, in 2009, the world watched as videos of Neda Agha-Soltan circulated widely, capturing the tragic moment when she fell victim to a gunshot. These poignant snapshots of unrest served as a stark reminder of the turbulent reality faced by countless individuals. Now, in 2023, I find myself immersed in the midst of another uprising, where my identity as an artist and activist intertwines seamlessly. It is in this context that "Before Dawn" emerges—a musical composition that draws inspiration from the melodies of the Ghashghai people, nomads residing near my hometown of Shiraz, Iran. Immersed within the tapestry of their tradition, the Ghashghai people breathe life into a melody called Sahar-Avazi—a powerful invocation performed before dawn, weaving together a profound sense of unity and an unwavering resistance against darkness. The notion of resistance lies at the heart of my composition, interwoven with my personal experiences amidst the social unrest that has plagued Iran. Conceived in 2017 and subsequently revised in 2023, "Before Dawn" resonates deeply in a country still grappling with new waves of civil unrest. Throughout these years, a steadfast refrain has echoed in my mind:

Oh Freedom,

such a big revolution loving you

Oh Freedom,

we shall resist any darkness before dawn ...