Report: Iran will reopen its symphony orchestra

Report: Iran will reopen its symphony orchestra


norman lebrecht

January 12, 2014

Amid the welter of confusing signals from Teheran, comes a report on national television that the president, Hassan Rouhani, has decided to reopen the national symphony orchestra which was shut down late in 2012.

‘I am so sorry to see the Iranian National Orchestra shut down,’ Rouhani said, adding that ‘the administration will seriously pursue its revival, even if it results in another yellow card to the Culture Minister, Ali Jannati from the parliament.’

A “yellow card” is a term used in Iranian media, when a minister is questioned in the parliament and the MPs are unsatisfied with his answers.¬†Rouhani went on to say that he is unconcerned by yellow cards. ‘We are proud of men like Jannati who defend freedom,’ he said.



  • Neil van der Linden says:

    This is Iran’s second largest orchestra. The Teheran Symphony Orchestra has always continued to operate. The Teheran Symphony Orchestra is, as the name suggests, a symphony orchestra, playing repertoire for symphonic works, the traditional repertoire plus newly commissioned works by Iranian composers, often of a somewhat nationalistic nature.

    The Iranian National Orchestra consists of Western instruments that make up a symphony orchestra plus Iranian classical traditional instruments. I hope the conductor still will be Bardia Kiaras, a talented young guy, who as I understood played for a while in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and who was assistant of Barenboim in Berlin for a while. Since he started to work with the orchestra the playing quality of the orchestra went up dramatically and the repertoire became exciting, adaptations of classical traditional Iranian music plus specially commissioned pieces; and I heard Kiaras rehearsing Brahms IV with the orchestra which was a moving experience. He knows his Kleiber and Abbado.

  • Confusion here. The TSO was indeed disbanded in 2012. I contacted ex players today having read Normans post. They are aware that there is an intent to bring it back, but there is no news on a timeline!

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      Thanks I will check too. The Iranian National Orchestra was suspended anyway.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      In total there are or where three orchestras.

      1 the official Teheran Symhony (or was it Philharmonic?) Orchestra, which performs or performed in the Vahdat Hall, the former opera hall built under the Shah, and was suspended, apparently

      2 the Iranian National Orchestra, with the mix of Oriental en Occidental instruments, under Bardia Kiaras, which was also suspended for a while

      3 and a private initiative by Nader Mashayekhi, conductor and composer, the orchestra that performed aria’s from the St Matthew Passion and the Also Sprach Zarathustra song from Mahler’s 3d symphony and that performs in this clip NB Nader Mashayekhi worked for a long time with the director of the film Frank Scheffer, but does not agree with the picture the director in the end gave of him in the last version of the film. And he has returned to Iran.

  • To clarify, both orchestras INO and TSO were disbanded.

    • Neil van der Linden says:

      From my friend in Teheran:

      At the moment none! But recently the president promised they would open both in the near future. Don’t know when!

      Nader is in Iran now, and I don’t know whether his orchestra still plays. There are a few more, like Iranian philharmonic orchestra, which recently performed with a famous Japanese pianist, Parisian orchestra, etc.

  • Garry Prior says:

    I recently read this rather dated article and wonder at the significance of this latest announcement:

  • Parsa says:

    There are 3 main state-sponsored orchestras in Tehran. Tehran Symphony Orchestra (TSO), Iran’s National Orchestra & IRIB Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra of the National Radio & TV).

    As I am informed, only the IRIB SO has paid salaries in last 3 years; Musicians of the TSO & INO are paid per service in last years.

    to get more information you can contact “Alexander Rahbari” who was principal conductor of the TSO in 2004-2005? season.

    “Parsian” & “Iranian Philharmonic”, “Nilper” & few other chamber orchestras are giving concerts from time to time.

  • Neil van der Linden says:

    In addition to my remark about the film about Nader Mashayekhi by music film director Frank Scheffer the director asked to add that the composer thought that in the latest version of the film the composer thought he was portrayed in a somewhat too romantic poetical light.