Compositions

Parisa-Catalog

Small Ensemble

Silent (2022) 7'00"

Silent is a multi-media composition for clarinet, cello, piano, soprano, tenor, audio playback, dance, and visuals commissioned by Charsu Quartet. It is inspired by The Wind-up Doll, a poem by an influential Iranian poet, Forough Farokhzad (1934-1967).

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Stay tuned for premier information!

Then It Was This One (2021) 5'00"

Then It Was This One is composed for clarinet, piano, and cello. It is inspired by Uzeyir Hajibeyli's operetta, If Not That One, Then This One. The composition received Certificate of Achievement & Publishing in the USA from the Hajibeyli International Composition Competition.

Vanishing Point (2021) 30'00"

A proud, recently retired woman and her adult daughter square-off in a grand but faded Montréal apartment. It’s a familiar and tiresome routine for the two of them, but today their complex give-and-take will open a door to an entirely unexpected, terrifying, and potentially wondrous future neither are fully ready to enter. Vanishing Point is a 30-minute opera for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and Pierrot Ensemble instrumentation that I created in collaboration with librettist Nika Khanjani. We have taken elements from our shared history as Iranian immigrants to craft a challenging piece of complex and nuanced emotional shifts, a whiplash of tenderness and bitterness, and a sober question of whether we can reframe a crisis into an opportunity to show up fully present for someone we love even as we watch them slip away. Densely crafted around themes of loss, migration, and unresolved trauma, it asks audiences to bring their attention, patience, and empathy to an emotional canvas that is perhaps uncommon in traditional opera.

We have designed this opera as a vehicle exclusively for BIPOC performers. On the premier performance, Dr. J. Marchand Knight and Fredericka Petit-Homme will embody two women who, like many Iranian immigrants to North America, resist aligning themselves with any simple and reductive category—especially when facing the universal challenges and heartbreak of the loss of identity through dementia.

The world premiere of opera will take place at Salle Bourgie, Montreal, Quebec on October 10, 2021 at 7:30 pm (EDT). Link: https://thepointofsale.com/tickets/trytique

 

Once Upon a River (2020) 7'00"

Once Upon a River is commissioned by Seattle-based guitarist, Naeim Rahmani, for Seattle-Isfahan project: 33.

Once Upon a River is a seven-minute music composed for tenor saxophone, guitar, electric guitar, piano and double bass. It is inspired by Sohrab Sepehri's poem, Peygham-e Mahiha, and composed in form of Mendelssohn's songs without words.

Stay tuned for premier's information in Seattle, October 2020.

Detective Phoebe (2016) 11'00"

Detective Phoebe is commissioned by York Region Chamber Music. In 2015, I was provided with 12 melodies composed by elementary and secondary students based in York region to compose a string quartet. I found some notes along with the melodies. Students had shared their interests, favorite colors, their pets, and etc.
I decided to incorporate all 12 melodies in my composition. I also sent the notes to a Boston based writer, Omid Fallahazad, and commissioned him to write a story inspired by children notes. Then I incorporated the story in the compositions. The performers take turn to tell the story while performing.

Maku (2019) 8'00"

Maku is inspired by excerpts from the Báb's letter to Muhammad Shah, the king of Iran (1808-1848) while he was imprisoned in Maku for 9 months in 1847. Maku is a personal reflection on how human beings respond to physical and spiritual suffering and pain. What was fascinating and resonated with me while composing was to understand that when we reach our threshold or the point that we think we can't to take it any more, we tend to turn to spirituality and find comfort. It is scored for soprano, flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello and audio playback.
World premier by: Jacqueline Woodley (soprano), Alheli Pimienta (flute), Peter Stoll (clarinet), Alex Toskov (violin), Narmina Afandiyeva (piano), Pegah Yazdani (piano) and Samuel Bisson (cello).
https://soundcloud.com/parisabet/maku-parisa-sabet-live-recording

Dawn Initiative debut concert, November 23, 2019 at Meridian Arts Centre 6:00 pm.
http://www.meridianartscentre.com/events/dawn

O Nightingale (2019) 4'00"

O Nightingale is a composition inspired by one of Rumi's poem, Nightingale. O Nightingale is commissioned by Chicago based musical group, Nightingale Ensemble. The composition is scored for mezzo-soprano, flute, guitar and harp.

A Cup of Sin (2017) 15'00"

A Cup of Sin is composed for chamber ensemble and soprano based on the poetry of Nobel Prize-nominated Iranian poet Simin Behbahani. In this poem, Behbahani addresses sexual violence against women. A Cup of Sin was commissioned by Tim Brady for the Instruments of Happiness - The Lioness of Iran Project. The composition exists in two versions:

  • Voice and electric guitar quartet
  • Voice, clarinet, piano, viola, cello and electric guitar

The creation of this composition was made possible by a generous grant from the Ontario Arts Council Music Creation Project Grant.

Performances: Toronto (Mar. 22, 2018), Montréal (Mar. 27, 2018), Québec City (Mar. 29, 2018)

March 22nd concert was co-presented by New Music Concerts at Music Gallery.
 
The Lioness of Iran project was planned to go on tour in March 2020 and have more performances in Calgary and London, Ontario. However due to COVID19, the tour was cancelled.

 

And the Lands Were Dreaming (2015) 13'00"

And the Lands Were Dreaming was commissioned by Anoush Tabai for tenor, b flat clarinet and piano to be performed at her 4th-year recital degree in Spring 2016. The poems are by M.R. Zaman and Sohrab Sepehri.

Audio information: Anoush Tabai (clarinet), Asal Iranmehr (piano) and Shayan Shaffie (tenor)

Thousand Candles (2015) 3'00"

Thousand Candles is a choral composition written for SATB. The piece is in three movements and the text is from three different religious belief.

"..... Let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who cross your path."  ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Paris Talks
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”  The Teachigns of Buddha
"Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind." The Holy Bible

Audio file: The 2016 Australian Baha'i Choral Festival. Conducted and directed by Lorraine Manifold.

The Unity's light (2015) 2'21"

The Unity's Light is a choral composition written for SATB. The text is selected from Bahá'u'lláh's (the founder of Bahai faith) Writings.

"You are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch."

"So powerful is unity’s light that it can illumine the whole earth."

"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."

Shur Angiz (2014) 3'20"

ShurAngiz is an upbeat energetic composition for flute, clarinet, piano, violin and cello.

ShurAngiz will be read/recorded by ECM+ ensemble as part of their 20th anniversary of Generation Project on November 15th, 2014 in Walter Hall at 7:00 pm.

Sarmast (2014) 4'00"

Sarmast [overjoyed] is composed for 4 percussion players including pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments.

Pishdaramd-e Esfahan (2014) 4'00"

Pishdaramad-e Esfahan (Prelude to Esfahan) is an arrangement of a Persian traditional piece, Pishdaramad-e Esfahan, composed by Morteza Neydavood. The arrangement is for a chamber ensemble including: flute, B flat clarinet, violin, piano, cello, percussion and Kamancheh (Persian traditional instrument).

Bamdad [Dawn] (2013) 11'00"

Bamdad (Dawn) is written for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin and cello. 

Bamdad is a musical portrait of my view about the relationship between Iran and Israel. While the beauty of each culture is introduced by developing melodies inspired by Persian and Jewish traditional folk tunes, the rise and fall of the relation between the two nations is recited by the chaotic characteristic of other sections. Eventually, as the piece unfolds, the two melodies find their way to live in harmony and peace.

The excerpt is conducted by Shalom Bard and performed by: Izabella Budai, Flute; Mara Plotkin, Clarinet; Rebecca MacLeod, Violin; Steve Sang Koh, Violin; Maxime Despax, Viola; Sebastian Ostertag, Cello; Pei-Chen Chen, Piano; Michelle Colton, Percussion

Hamzabani (2013) 1'40"

Hamzabani is written for flute, vibraphone, piano, violin and cello based on one of Rumi's poems.

Zarb Ahang (2012) 4'30"

Zarb Ahang is written for four percussionists.  It explores different timbres and colors that small ensemble of un-pitched percussion instruments can produce. Zarb Ahang means rhythm In Persian language.

Excerpt: Alex Atchley, Nathan Bushley, Alex adduci and Boyan Tantchev

Universal Brotherhood (2011) 5'40''

Universal Brotherhood is written for SATB choir in three movements (For Love of Me, Reunion With Me, and Unity's Light). This a cappella choir work is written inspired by my visits to Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, IL. When I visited the temple, I was deeply moved by the beauty of the architecture and the serene atmosphere of the space. As I sat with my eyes closed, I imagined myself sitting in the crowd and the words of Baha’u’llah were pouring over my head.  There are eighteen quotations of Baha'u'llah's writings integrated into the entrances and alcoves of the Baha'i House of Worship. After my visit, I chose nine of these quotations and set them to music in three movements.

World premier

Universal Brotherhood has recently been selected by MacMillan Singers to be performed at their Contemporary Showcase Concert.

When: February 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Where: Grace Church on the Hill,Toronto, ON

Nourooz (2009) 5'30"

Nourooz is written in two movements (Bahar and Tahvil-e Sal) for oboe, clarinet and four percussionists. I wrote this piece inspired by the tradition of Persian New Year. Nourooz is celebrated every year on 21st of March.

Excerpts by: Chicago College of Performing Arts musicians.

Persian Taste (2010) 6'00"

Persian Taste (Chashni-e Irani) is written for a Persian ensemble including santoor, tar, barbat, kamancheh tombak, and daf.

Miniatures (2011) 6'30"

Miniatures is written for solo santoor (a Persian chordophone instrument) and small ensemble in honor of Hossein Dehlavi. This piece was inspired by Dehlavi's Concerto for Santoor and Small Ensemble.

I have also created a version of this piece for solo harp and small ensemble.

Excerpt: Performed by Chicago College of Performing Arts Musicians

Praised be God (2009) 5'50"

Praised Be God is written for soprano, tenor, flute and harp.

Text: Bahai Writtings

Excerpt: Chicago College of Performing Arts musicians.

 

Duo

His Gabbah Is Turquoise (2022) 9'00"

His Gabbah Is Turquoise (2022), is a composition for double bass and piano comissioned by Ali Kian Yazdanfar for Sayeh Roshan Project.

His Gabbah Is Turquoise (2022) is a commission by Ali Kian Yazdanfar for the Sayeh Roshan Project. Its musical elements are inspired by patterns, textures and colors found in Gabbah. Gabbah in Farsi means raw, natural, and uncut and is a type of Persian rug with bright colors and rough and primitive textures. Its patterns are formed by asymmetric and symmetric knots and can be as diverse as the mind and imagination of its craftsman. The color turquoise represents wisdom, tranquility, protection, good fortune, and hope.

When I asked Ali what elements of Iranian music or culture most interested him, he referred to his memories with his father talking about different aspects of Persain culture. I have been wanting to compose a piece dedicated to my father as well. His Gabbah Is Turquoise is a homage to the fathers.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Stay tuned for premier information!

The Seville Orange Tree (2016) 8'00"

The Seville Orange Tree is a composition written for flute and piano. It was co-commissioned by flutist, James Strauss and pianist, Andre von Frasunkiewicz, in 2017 for the Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahaullah, the founder of Baha'i Faith.

Its Around 130 (2015) 6'00"

Its Around 130 is a composition for marimba and fixed media. It is inspired by my baby boy's heart beat that I recorded on week 28th when I visited my doctor.
The tape part includes: my baby's heart beat, sound effects edited and processed on dumbak, recording of my husband's voice reading a passage about our baby's name, Elia, parts of my conversation with my doctor as well as other sound effects that represents sounds that a baby may hear when he is still inside his mom.

I would like to thank amazing and talented dumbak player, Bijan Rahmani, for recording sound effects on Dumbak for this composition.

When the Roses Laugh in Full-blown Beauty (2015) 5'00"

When the Roses Laugh in Full-blown Beauty is a six-minute duo written for harp and marimba. I also have arranged a version for violin, cello and piano as well as Bb clarinet, cello and piano.

Audio information: performed by Emily Granger (harp) and Chris Sies (Marimba) at 2016 fulcrumpoint Discoveries!

Emily Granger (harp) and Claire Edwardes' (marimba) performance on December 22, 2020 on Youtube: https://youtu.be/HaRBNksSKKA

Fly Toward a Secret Sky (2014) 5'30"

Fly Toward a Secret Sky is a one-movement composition written for flute and fixed medium.

The fixed medium is created entirly by processing sounds of pre-recorded flute, Santur (Persian dulcimar) and daf (Persian frame drum). Special thanks goes to talented musician and composers Amanda Lowry (flute), Barbod Bayat (Santur) and Ashkan Fahandej (daf) for providing me the recording materials of this composition.

Excerpt by: Tristan Durie

World Premier:

Fly Toward a Secret Sky, will receive its world premier by the wonderful flutist, Tristan Durie, in March 15th 2014 at Eelectroacoustic Music Concert in Walter Hall, Toronto, ON.

Dance in Your Blood (2014) 10'00"

Dance in your Blood is a song cylce based on three poems of the 13th Century Perisan poet, Rumi, translated into English composed for soprano and piano.

Recently:

Dance in Your Blood won the Top Prize place at 2014 Violet Archer Composition Prize and will be publisehd in the Plangere Canadian Composers Series.

Arghavan (2012) 11'00"

Arghavan is written for two pianos.

Excerpt perfprmed by Jialiang Zhu and Pei-chen Chen

Surna (2011) 11'00"

Surna (Zurna) is a duo originally written for Surna (a double-reed woodwind instrument with roosts in Asia and Europe) and cello. I have also created a version for B-flat clarinet and cello.

Excerpts by Blagoj Lamnjov (surna), Sarah Zilonis (cello) and Nick Mula (B-flat clarinet), Sarah Zilonis (cello)

I'll Meet You There (2011) 5'00"

I'll Meet You There is written for horn and fixed media inspired by one of the Jallaludin Rumi's poems.

Excerpt: Rhonda Kremer (horn)

Lahzeh-e Didar (2011) 3'00"

Lahzeh-e Didar is written for tenor and vibrophone. Text: Mehdi Akhavan-Saless's poem, Lahzeh-e Didar (The Moment of Visitinng)

Excerpt: Danilel Berry (tenor), Daniel Pratt (vibraphone)

Ghasedak (2010) 12'00"

Ghasedak is written for tenor and vibraphone.

Text: Mehdi Akhavan-Saless' poem, Ghasedak (Dandelion).

The Dandelion, in European floriography, is considered "the rustic oracle"  and is especially associated with bringing news of and conveying word to the beloved. In Iran, it is likewise believed to bring news from dear ones who are absent.

Excerpt: Daniel Berry (tenor), Scott Crawford (vibraphone)

 

Chakameh (2011) 7'10"

Chakameh means song in Persian language. It is a piano piece written for four hands.

Chakameh: excerpt performed by John Urban and Parvash Java

Chakameh II: excerpt performed by Jana Pavlovska and John Urban

Solo

Dancing My Heart Out (2020) 5'30

Dancing My Heart Out is a solo cello composition commissioned by amazingly talented cellist, Dobrochna Zubek. The idea was to create a composition that was a reflection on the lockdown period in 2020. The musical idea develops through the juxtaposition of playing on the instruments and using the instrument's body as a percussion instrument. The two ideas are woven into each other in a way that one comes out of or dissolves to another.

Visiting Grandpa (2015) 15'00"

Visiting Grandpa is a multi-channel soundscape based on my memories of my grandfather. It was written when I learned that the Iranian revolutionary guard demolished the historic cemetery of Baha'is in Shiraz (Iran), where my grandfather's remain, as well as many other Baha'is', were buried.
I'd like to thank my husband, Kamran Fallah, for the translation of the original text into English; Nika Khanjani, for her powerful narration of the story; and Roya Sepehri, for creating a serene atmosphere by chanting prayers beautifully in Persian.
 

Beyond Borders (2014) 6'00"

Beyond Borders is a solo violin composition in which, I portrait sides of my personality that had never been appeared in my works before.

Geyrani (2012) 4'40"

Geyrani is written for solo violin. It is inspired by Keyhan Kalhor's improvisation on kamancheh.

Audio recording by: Sarah Chazin

Recently:

Geyrani, has been selected by Amsterdam-based Trio 7090 to be workshopped as part of Gaudeamus: Deconstructed and Reconstructed event on April 5th 2014.

Where and when: At The Music Gallery, 197 John Street, Toronto, Ontario from 10:00 am–1:00 pm

Nay Nava (2011) 5'00"

Nay Nava (2011) is composed for solo alto flute inspired by Iranian Nay player, Maestro Hassan Kassai. Nay Nava is one of earliest compositions featuring loose interpretation of some elements of Persian traditional music such as modes, narrative, use of quarter tones and improvisation.

Nay Nava won the 2011 Timothy Munro's solo flute composition Competition. Mr. Munro, a triple-Grammy winner musician based in Chicago, premiered Nay Nava on his solo concert, Unanswered Questions, on January 28, 2012 in Ganz Hall Chicago, IL.

Excerpt I: Forrest Ransburg (c flute)

Excerpt II: Timothy Munro (alto flute)

 

In His Boat (2010) 6'00"

Written for solo piano based on Nima Yushij's poem, In His Boat.

Excerpt: Diana Botelho Vieira (piano)

Film Score

Blue Girl

Blue Girl (2020) is a three-channel video by video, net and performance artist, Raheleh Saneie. The film is a homage to women who self immolate as a form of protest against domestic violence. I had the privilege to be part of this project and collaborate as the composer and sound artist.
The music is performed by Tahirih Vejdani (soprano), Stacy Dunlap (mezzo soprano), Dobrochna Zubek (cello), Nava Keyhanirad and Ferial Tahmasbi (narration).

Blue Girl made it to the Nine stellar highlights from Toronto’s art scene in 2020.

To watch trailer click here: https://bit.ly/2WzFZFf

Dust-Flower-Flame

Dust-Flower-Flame (2016) is a long documentary film about Tahirih Qurratul-Ayn by Shabnam Tolouei.
To watch the trailer please click here: https://bit.ly/3cwc2vh

The documentary has been broadcast in: Pouya Cultural Center, Paris (May 2016), Le Nouvel Odéon, Paris (July 2016), Stanford University and University of Maryland, USA (August 2016), The Regent Street Cinema, London, UCLA, SVA Theatre New York (November 2016), Toronto, Canada (February 2017), Yale University, USA (February 2017).

Layegheh

"Layegheh" (2016) 62 minutes, is a poetic documentary based on the life of Layegheh Doorandish, the first woman TV anchor and producer in Abadan, Iran. Her life stories revisit the early days of TV in Iran, revolution and war, and rebuilding life in exile. It is directed by artist/filmmaker, Rashin Fahandej.

To watch the teaser please click here: Layegheh.

The documentary has been broadcast on: ManoTo TV (April 2016 ) and VOA (June 2016)

Az Baku ta Belemont (2012-2013)

Az Baku ta Belemont (From Baku to Belemont), a documentary directed by Rashin Fahandej, is about a hospitable 86 year-old Iranian-American Baha’i, whose stories of past are raw and visceral. With his memories of his parent's exile from Baku after Russian revolution, his account of medieval-style persecution of his fellow Baha’i friends in a village in Iran, and his first-hand description of the murder of a doctor friend in the hand of extremists, Mr. Khaze draws us into an outlandish history filled with conflicting emotions.

Watch the trailer: Az Baku ta Belemont

Producer, Director, Editor: Rashin Fahandej
Executive producer: Ladan Doorandish
Composition and Sound Design: Parisa Sabet
Tenor: Paul Williamson
Animation: Michaela Čopikova
Cinematographer: Yari Wolinsky
Lighting Director: Cary Wolinsky
Sound recorder: Jason Bashaw
Research Assistant, Subtitle and Credit: Anisa Hosseinnezhad
Subtitle Translation: Omid Fallahazad and Rebecca Rowley

The documentary has been broadcast on: Noveen TV (2014, 2015), The Cultures of Iranian Diaspora conference (April 2014), Massart Film Society (Oct 2015)

Large Ensemble

Beauty, Love and Justice (2019) 16'00"

“Beauty, love and Justice” is a five-movement orchestral composition approximately 16 minutes long. It is developed based on the basic musical elements that I found common among all cultures such as repetition of simple rhythmic pattern, harmonic series and natural sound effects such as breathing, humming, whispering, talking and air sounds. In addition, I explored various ways of incorporating unusual timbral effects and extended techniques to create an intriguing sonic environment. My ultimate goal was to create complexity by fusing simpler musical elements.

The Stars Are Setting (2018) 11'00"

The Stars Are Setting is composed for mandolin orchestra, guitar quartet, voice and strings based on 4 quatrains by Hakim Omar Khayyam (1048 – 1131), a Persian poet, mathematician and astronomer. This composition was commissioned by the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra in conjunction with the Seattle-Isfahan Music Project.

It will be world premiered on June 3, 2018 at Trinity Parish Church, Seattle, WA
For more information about the project please visit: https://www.naeimrahmani.com/seattle-isfahan-guitar-project

Those Still Dancing (2014) 10'00"

Those Still Dancing is a one-movement orchestral piece scored for (2222 221, piccolo, 3 percussion, piano, harp, and strings (minimum 65442).

It is inspired by a traditional Persian folk dance, Čūb-Bāzī (dance with sticks). Today, the tradition of Čūb-Bāzī is exclusive to men.  However, up until half a century ago, before the Islamic revolution, women used to participate in Čūb-Bāzī as well.  There are only a few women still living who know how to perform Čūb-Bāzī in Iran and they are over eighty years old. Those Still Dancing is homage to these elderly women who have preserved their dance form in this conflicting and dangerous environment.

Opera scenes: Antigone (2012-13) 10'00"

Antigone is a collaborative opera project composed by four composers at the University of Toronto: August Murphy King, Jason Caron, Jordan O'Connor and I.

Libretto: Michael Patrick Albano (adapted after the original by Sophocles)

Casts:
Natalya Matyusheva (Antigone); Adanya Dunn (Ismene); Zachary Read (Creon); Rocco Rupolo (Haemon); David Diston (the Chorus);
Jonathan MacArthur (the Captain of the Guard)

Director: Erik Thor; Conductor: Sandra Horst; Production Design: Fred Perruzza; Costumes: Lisa Magill; GamUT Ensemble

Kurdy Dance (2012) 4'30"

Kurdy Dance is the first movement of the series of compositions inspired by Persian traditional dances. The ensemble consists of woodwinds, strings, percussions, piano and dancers.

Nawruz (2011) 5'30"

Nawruz is written in celebration of Persian New Year. Nawruz won the 2011 Chicago College of Performing Art's Wind Ensemble Composition Competition.

This audio is the complete performance of Nawruz by CCPA Wind Ensemble conducted by Dr. Stephen Squires.  The piece was world-premiered and broadcast on Chicago’s Classical and Folk Music Radio Station (98.7 WFMT).

The Mothers of Peace (2010) 7'00"

The Mothers of Peace is written for chorus and large ensemble. This is the second movement following the Wa Itha Al- Mawudatu Suilat piece. The work will be completed when I finish the third movement.

Wa Itha Al-Mawudatu Suilat (2009) 6'50"

Wa Itha Al-Mawudatu Suilat (And She Will be Questioned) is written for chorus and large ensemble in honor of Neda Agha Soltan.

Text: Surah Altakvir, Quran.

Excerpts by: Chicago College of Performing Arts musicians.