Iranian Composers of Toronto
Iranian Composers of Toronto (ICOT) is a group of five composers and musicians that are based in Toronto.
Founded in August 2011, ICOT gained popularity performing “Persian Piano Night” concert series in four different Canadian cities in Ontario and Quebec. ICOT is an exclusive independent artistic group, aiming to create new musical works, do concerts and publish them for their audiences.
Afarin Mansouri Tehrani
Afarin Mansouri-Tehrani is the winner of the International Music Award of the 24th Iranian Music Festival 2008 composition competition, for her work for choir and orchestra. Horse and Fire was the winner of a piano duo competition by 2X10 Duo in 2009 and was performed in Canada and the US. She has participated in festivals such as Toronto Nuit Blanche and the KW Open Ears Festival, as well as other events with the Iranian Association of Waterloo. Her commissioned work Persian Abstracts for Violin and Piano was performed by St. Augustine Duo in Canadian Women Composers Program in 2011. Her first CD IMAGES was published in summer 2011, an electro-acoustic work for meditation and relaxation. Afarin completed her Master’s degree in Music Composition in 2010 at the University of Toronto. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Math and Computer Science from Iran, as well as a Bachelor’s in Music Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. She has studied composition with well-known Canadian composers such as Peter Hatch, Linda Cathlin Smith, Glenn Buhr, Christos Hatzis and Alexander Rapoport.
Maziar Heidari started learning to play the Piano in 1980, attending lessons offered by Ardeshir Rohani, a well-known piano instructor. He graduated from an Industrial Engineering program and then completed courses in composition, under the supervision of Farhad Fakhreddini, a well-known Iranian composer and conductor. Maziar graduated from the Art University of Tehran with a Master’s Degree in Music Composition, and was granted first class honours for his thesis under the supervision of Ahmad Pejman. He has been a composer, assistant conductor, and pianist with the Iran National Music Orchestra for more than 10 years. In 2006 he was given the award for best composer at the Tehran Music Festival. He has also been a Piano and Orchestration professor at the Art University since 2004. He pursued private lessons in piano for almost 15 years. Maziar is continuing his activities as a piano instructor and freelance composer in Canada.
Saman Shahi started his musical education at the University of Toronto in Composition and Piano Performance in 2005, and is now pursuing his Master’s degree in Composition under the supervision of the world-renowned Canadian composer Gary Kulesha.Saman’s music has been performed and received awards throughout Iran, Canada and the United States. Saman tries to reconcile two different cultures and mentalities that are very different, yet quite congruous at a basic level. His music is full of traditional and folk Persian melodies in contexts that are not always very familiar or common. These contexts are always influenced by different cultures and musics from around the world, most importantly by the Masters of the 20th and 21st Century such as Bartok, Stravsinky, and Messiaen.
Keyan Emami holds a Master’s degree in Music Composition, and is an accomplished composer, with a wide variety of instrumental works including symphonic, chamber, and solo pieces, as well as music for theatre productions, and theme music for film and television. Keyan often uses Iranian traditional folk songs in various textures and structures. Keyan worked as a University Instructor of Music at the Faculty of Music of the University of Art, Azad University, the University of Applied Science and Technology, and the Tehran Conservatory. His well-received Persian translation of the book Form and Design by Roy Bennett was published in 2009. After immigrating to Canada, he has continued to teach music in Key Music and Arts Integra Centre for Music, and compose under the guidance of Robert Rival, resident composer of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Keyan is now starting his Doctorate in Composition under the supervision of Professor Alexander Rapoport at the University of Toronto.
Pouya Hamidi had his first lessons in classical piano as a small child in Iran. Since coming to Canada he has attended the Young Artist Performance Academy ( RCM) at The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM), completed the Claude Watson Arts Diploma, and a Bachelor of Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Music in composition at the University of Toronto (UofT). He received the Associate of the Royal Conservatory Certificate in piano performance, the highest level awarded by the RCM. Pouya has also won competitions such as the Canadian Music Competition, Kiwanis Music Competition, and best performance and composition at the Markham Music Festival. Jamie Parker (Gryphon Trio), Ka Nin Chan, Christos Hatzis, and Alexander Rapoport were among his professors at the UofT, where several scholarships also supported his studies. Pouya’s other musical interests include film scoring, employing diverse instrumentations including Persian traditional instruments. Ladom Ensemble and Sacred Balance are Pouya’s other performance projects, a Persian/Balkan classical ensemble and an electronic rock band respectively. Pouya is currently pursuing the Master of Music program in Sound Recording at McGill University in Montreal.