New Music at Carnegie Hall: Carnegie Hall Commissions
Commission at a Glance
The Silent City
Kayhan Kalhor
Recorded on September 13, 2006
at Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood Music Center


Colin Jacobsen, Violin; Shaw Pong Liu, Violin; Carmel Raz, Violin; Nicholas Cords, Viola; Nadia Sirota, Viola; Nicholas Finch, Cello; Peter Rosenfeld, Bass; Kayhan Kalhor, Kemancheh

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Notes on the Work

Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed kemancheh virtuoso and a member of the Silk Road Ensemble. Born in Tehran, Iran, he began his musical studies at age seven. At 13, he was invited to work with the National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran, where he performed for five years. At 17, he began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the prestigious Chavosh Cultural Center. Mr. Kalhor has traveled throughout Iran, studying the music of its regions. He studied Western Classical music at Rome’s Santa Sicilia School of Music and at Carleton University in Ottawa. A composer of works for Iran’s most renowned vocalists, Mr. Kalhor has also performed with Iran’s greatest masters and toured the world as a soloist and ensemble member.

About The Silent City, Mr. Kalhor writes, “The piece commemorates the Kurdish village of Hallabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. It is based on an altered Aminor scale and uses Kurdish themes to remember the Kurdish people.” Kalhor has dedicated the piece to cities throughout history “destroyed by humanity, war, and natural disaster.”

The Silent City invites the players into the process of developing the piece by means of improvisation until the last part, which is conventionally composed and arranged. Every time the piece is performed it will change based on the performers and their mood.