* Music is ‘haram’ in Islam. All the more surprising that Iran would have a German orchestra perform in the Islamic republic, but not without insisting that the female musicians are properly hijabbed:
“The women are not used to playing in hijab. I am very glad that the women tried it and it was fine. What is most important is the music.”
* Selling everything for a song, eh?
The German orchestra brushed off the constraint of giving the concerts with their female players wearing Islamic headscarves, saying they had worn the garments during rehearsals in Germany in preparation.
German orchestra in Iran on landmark visit
From AFP via DW: A German orchestra arrived in Tehran on Monday, defying increasing political tensions to give the first performances in Iran by a full Western classical ensemble since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The Osnabrueck Symphony Orchestra from northwestern Germany will play works by Beethoven, Brahms and Elgar in Tehran this week following a successful visit by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra to their town last year.
The German orchestra, whose female players will have to wear Islamic headscarves to obey Iran’s dress code, will be boosted by six Iranian musicians for the concerts.
The orchestra’s directors were at pains to emphasise their visit would not stray into politics and was purely aimed at increasing cultural understanding between Iran and the West.
“My wish is to show the peoples of both our countries that there is no need to fear one another and it is a great pleasure to get to know one another,” said the director of Osnabrueck’s summer festival, Michael Dreyer.
“I hope that it will be increasingly normal to have cultural exchanges between Iran and Germany and the Western world,” he told reporters after arriving in Tehran.
* “Normal” to have cultural exchanges with a cult(-ure) that wants to bring about the end of culture and civilization?
Dreyer said he had rejected a request by three German MPs to join the tour in order to keep the trip focused on music and not politics. The trip has been fully coordinated with Iran’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance.
Western classical music was frowned upon in the immediate aftermath of the Islamic revolution but has seen a cautious resurgence in recent years, with pieces by classical greats programmed on state radio and in concerts.
However no Western orchestra has ever played in the Islamic republic, although the US-backed shah played host in the 1970s to the Berlin Philharmonic and their legendary conductor Herbert von Karajan.
Tehran’s symphony orchestra gives regular concerts, mixing Western classics with compositions by Iranian composers. Western chamber ensembles have visited occasionally, especially during the reformist presidency of Mohammad Khatami.
Judging by the questions posed by Iranian journalists at the press conference, there is set to be some debate over the exclusively Western choice of the repertoire and soloists in the Osnabrueck orchestra’s concerts.
Just hours after arriving, the orchestra’s leadership found themselves quizzed why an Iranian symphony had not been included in the programme and why plans to include famed Iranian singer Sharham Nazeri had fallen flat.
Dreyer defended the choice, saying there was not enough time to rehearse an Iranian symphony and logistics made inviting the US-based Nazeri impossible.
“The women are not used to playing in hijab. I am very glad that the women tried it and it was fine. What is most important is the music,” said conductor Hermann Baeumer.
* How perverse. How very f*#king perverse! We will post pic’s as soon as they become available!