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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For additional information, please contact Media Relations Manager: Peter Cavagnaro at (510) 642-0365 or pcavagnaro@berkeley.edu.

Four Nonprofits Collaborate to Co-present Composer/Sound Designer Shahrokh Yadegari’s Tower Sounds in Artist Ann Hamilton’s Tower at Oliver Ranch (July 11 – 12, 2009)

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Judah L. Magnes Museum, Persian Arts Society, and Congregation Shomrei Torah will each host a unique fundraising event in conjunction with one of four separate performances.

Berkeley, CA, May 28, 2009–
(Download a PDF version of this press release.)
Continuing a centuries-old dialogue between Jewish and Islamic musical traditions, composer/sound designer Shahrokh Yadegari’s work, Tower Sounds, will receive four performances at artist Ann Hamilton’s Tower, a 78-foot tall alternative performance space, on Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, at Oliver Ranch in Geyserville, Calif.

Tower Sounds, a groundbreaking multi-channel sound piece, interweaves traditional Jewish and Islamic music, poetry, and song, combined with digitally-derived compositional structures and stunning live performances by the Persian vocalist Siamak Shajarian, and performers Kate St. Pierre, Vocals; Keyavash Nourai, Violin; Dimitri Mahlis, Oud; and Satnam Ramgotra, Tabla, Percussion.

Originally curated by Lawrence Rinder—now the director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive—for the Judah L. Magnes Museum where the piece originated as Through Music, a sound installation in 2007, Tower Sounds extends the work of Rinder’s grandfather, Cantor Reuben R. Rinder (1887-1966). The cantor of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco from 1915 to 1959, Cantor Rinder is recognized as one of the most important figures in the development of 20th-century Jewish musical culture.

Yadegari’s composition blends singing in Hebrew, Farsi and English with classical Persian and electronic music. The piece incorporates such diverse elements as the melody from one of Cantor Rinder’s scores, text from the ancient Jewish priestly benediction, and two poems by the Sufi philosopher Rumi.

The performance venue is an eight-story-high tower with a double-helix staircase, created over a 12-year span by Ann Hamilton with Jensen Architects and completed in 2007. Audience members disperse along the staircase and find seats within the open nooks of the tower walls. For those ambitious enough to climb the 124 steps to the top, magnificent views of Oliver Ranch and the Alexander Valley unfold below.

In an unusual partnership, the series is presented by four nonprofits active in the Bay Area: UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Judah L. Magnes Museum, Persian Arts Society, and Congregation Shomrei Torah. While each of the four performances of Yadegari’s work is the same, each organization has personalized their presentation resulting in four unique, institution-specific fund-raising events. The individual programs are below.

Program Information

Saturday, July 11, 1 p.m.:
Persian Arts Society presents Tower Sounds: Ancient Voices and Electronics. The concert is followed by light snacks and refreshments at Oliver Ranch.

Tickets are $130 per person (transportation not included). For tickets, please contact Blair Nelson at Kereshmeh Records at (858) 605-6612 or info@persianarts.org. For more information, please visit http://towersounds.org/performances.html.

Saturday, July 11, 5 p.m.: UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents Yadegari’s work in Tower Sounds: Ancient Music and Media Mix. The concert is followed by dinner alfresco at Taverna Santi featuring artist Ann Hamilton. Hamilton will conduct her participatory Galápagos Chorus, a poetic composition that inventories the animals and plants of the Galápagos and incorporates words from Charles Darwin’s famous texts about the islands. This work was commissioned for the BAM/PFA exhibition Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet, on view through September 27. Richard Goldman is honorary chair; co-chairs are Eric McDougall, Jane Metcalfe, and Alison Gelb Pincus.

Tickets are $200 each ($130 tax-deductible) and include luxury bus service from the Bay Area. Proceeds benefit BAM/PFA’s Contemporary Art and Digital Media programs. For information and tickets, please contact Cate Czerwinski at (510) 642-8963 or cczerwinski@berkeley.edu.

Funding is provided by the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund in honor of Cantor Reuben Rinder.

Sunday, July 12, 1 p.m.: It is at the Judah L. Magnes Museum that Tower Sounds (originally titled Through Music) was first launched as part of the museum’s REVISIONS series where artists, critics or curators were invited to work with parts of the permanent collection to engage new audiences. With the present commissioning of the work now at Ann Hamilton’s Tower at the Oliver Ranch, the Magnes is thrilled to see the audience and impact increasing and having the work fulfill its initial intention of bringing a message of collaboration and universalist faith to an ever boarder audience.

For this current series being presented with the cultural partners detailed above, the Magnes will also hold a private event following the concert: Shahrokh Yadegari will join participants for lunch at the Clos du Bois Winery.

Tickets are $200 each and include round trip bus transportation, concert, and lunch. For more information and tickets, please contact Allison Green at (510) 549-6950 ext 337 or agreen@magnes.org.

Tower Sounds/Through Music was made possible at the Magnes with grants from the Fleishhacker Foundation and the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust, along with support from Congregation Emanu-El.

Sunday, July 12, 5 p.m.: Congregation Shomrei Torah of Santa Rosa will present the final program of Tower Sounds, followed by a reception with the performers. Shuttle service from Geyserville to the Oliver Ranch is included.

Tickets are $120 per person. For information and tickets please visit shomreitorah.org/concert/ or contact the synagogue at (707) 578-5519.

We would like to thank Meyer Sound for providing the loudspeakers for all four performances of Tower Sounds. meyersound.com

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Shahrokh Yadegari (Ph.D. UCSD), composer and sound designer, has collaborated with such artists as Peter Sellars, Robert Woodruff, Maya Beiser, Steven Schick, and Vibeke Sorensen. His music has been performed and he has performed in such venues as the Carnegie Hall, Festival of Arts and Ideas, Ravinia Festival, Holland Festival, Vienna Festival, Forum Barcelona, and the International Computer Music Conference. He is currently on the faculty at the University of California, San Diego where he has founded a progressive sound design program at the department of Theatre and Dance.

Artist Ann Hamilton’s complex and layered work includes installations, photographs, videos, performances, and sculptural objects, often working with the help of volunteers whose hand labor imbues the work with a powerful sense of connection to society and history. Her sensual installations combine evocative soundtracks with filmed footage, organic materials, and everyday items such as furniture, books, or coins. She is interested in the relationship between material forms of verbal and written language and the visual and tactile presence of objects. In 1993, she won a MacArthur Fellowship.

Since 1985, Steve Oliver and his wife Nancy have assembled at their Sonoma County ranch, Oliver Ranch, one of the most ambitious private collections of site-specific sculpture in the United States. In addition to Ann Hamilton, artists include Bill Fontana, Andy Goldsworthy, Jim Melchert, Bruce Nauman, Martin Puryear, Jim Jennings, Fred Sandback, Richard Serra, and Ursula Von Rydingsvard.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading research universities. Through art and film programs, collections, and research resources, BAM/PFA engages audiences from the campus, community, and beyond. BAM/PFA’s collections are distinguished by artistic excellence and innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary. For more information, visit bampfa.berkeley.edu.

Judah L. Magnes Museum is a center of art and history focused on the Jewish experience. With one of the world’s largest and most distinguished collections of Jewish art and scholarship from across history, as well as archival material relating to Jews in the American West, the Magnes is a place of discovery for Jews and the community at large, and contributes to international scholarship and culture. For more information, visit magnes.org.

Persian Arts Society (PAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, presentation, and dissemination of Persian arts in the United States. Persian Arts Society has presented some of the most prominent musicians, dancers, and artists living in Iran and abroad, and established the first school of Persian traditional music in Los Angeles in 2000. PAS has collaborated with Kereshmeh Records in production of some of the most acclaimed recordings of Persian Music for wide distribution in the Western market.

Congregation Shomrei Torah is a reform synagogue located in Santa Rosa, with over 400 families as members. Under the direction of Rabbi George Gittleman, it offers a rich mixture of religious, educational and social opportunities to the Jewish community of Sonoma County. The synagogue’s recently completed new home is located at 2600 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, (707) 578-5519.


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