The Davies Concert Series returns Sunday, November 7 at 5pm with works for viola by composers of the Iranian diaspora, and featuring host and violist Kimia Hesabi, mezzo-soprano Lori Şen, and pianist Ying-Shan Su. In keeping with the Series’ emphasis on accessibility, all tickets are Pay What You Can and can be reserved on EventBrite in advance HERE, or obtained onsite beginning 30 minutes prior to performance. Masking and proof of vaccination are required for admittance. All Davies Concert Series events take place at the acoustically rich Davies Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 7400 Temple Hill Road, Camp Springs MD 20748.

The program includes “Song and Whispers” for solo viola by Gity Razaz, “Hani and Shaymorid” for solo viola by Mozhgan Chahian, “Kamalto” for viola and voice by Showan Tavakol, and “Sonata for viola and piano by Alireza Mashayekhi. “Song and Whispers” and “Hani and Shaymorid” are recently commissioned works that explore new sound worlds inspired by elements such as Iranian folk and classical music. “Kamalto” is the result of the composer’s creative approach in blending cultures and musical elements, and his inspiration from the Iranian Kamancheh (Bowed string instrument). “Sonata for viola and piano” is an avant-garde work from one of the most prolific Iranian composers, whose teachings and works have contributed immensely to the contemporary music scene in Iran. 

Entering its second half-century of bringing professional classical music to Prince George’s County, the Davies Concert Series is a beloved tradition of the Davies Unitarian Universalist Congregation. This second concert of the anniversary season reflects new Music Director Natalie Groom’s emphasis on women artists, living composers, and unlimited accessibility for audiences. Rev. Norman Allen commented, “This upcoming program is a perfect example of why we, as a community, are so proud to be in partnership with the Davies Concert Series. Not only will audiences hear the best of classical musicians, but they’ll also step into this complex world of contemporary Iranian music at a time when cross-cultural experiences are more important than ever.”

Dr. Kimia Hesabi is a violist and teaching artist based in the Washington D.C. area. She recently presented a lecture-recital at the American Viola Society Festival. Her article “Viola Repertoire from the Iranian Diaspora” has been published by the Journal of the American Viola Society. She’s an active chamber musician and founder of Yasna Ensemble.  Turkish mezzo-soprano Dr. Lori Şen is known for her versatility in many vocal genres, including opera, art song, musical theatre, and jazz, as well as for her teaching and research interests in vocal literature, voice pedagogy, and voice science. She is a leading expert of the Sephardic Art Song genre that comprises Western classical settings and arrangements of the traditional Sephardic folk literature. Pianist Ying-Shan Su completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland, having received the Government Scholarship to Study Abroad from Taiwan’s Ministry of Education. She received master’s degrees from Lee University and National Chiao Tung University. She has performed at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, the Music by Women Festival, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference.

Mark your calendars for future Concert Series events:

December 5, 2021 – Beau Soir, flute, viola, and harp – Championing living composers.

February 6, 2022 – Amy K. Bormet Trio, jazz trio – Warm up to Washington Women in Jazz. 

March, TBD, 2022 – Brandon Felder & SHABACH! Academy – A heart of community, fellowship, and fun.

April 3, 2022 – Syneva Colle, cello – Nature-inspired music for strings.

For further information on the Davies Concert Series and regular updates, visit https://www.daviesconcertseries.com. Davies Concert Series, a tax-exempt 501(c) (3) charitable trust, is committed to presenting classical music concerts, offering educational opportunities for young audiences and performers, and providing a venue for new music. The Series is supported in part by grants from the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council (PGAHC) and the Cynipid Fund.