Iran takes pride in its St Petersburg conductor

Iran takes pride in its St Petersburg conductor


norman lebrecht

October 03, 2022

The Tehran Times is featuring the exploits of Iran-born alexander Ali Rahbari as principal guest conductor at the Mariinsky.

Rahbari, 74, is one of very few western conductors who continue to work in Putin’s Russia. Iran generally supports Putin’s war.

He conducted two concerts in St Petersburg last month. The first included Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, and the second his own composition Also sprach Zarathustra Spitama for chorus and orchestra.


  • Lilas Pastia says:

    Iran is hardly a Western country…

  • geoffrey dorfman says:

    Zarathustra (Zoroaster) is one of those vacuous mythical prophets that, like an empty container, one can pour any nonsense one wants into. Manichaeism considered Zoroaster to be a figure in a line of prophets of which Mani (216–276) was the culmination. Zoroaster’s ethical dualism is—to an extent—incorporated in Mani’s doctrine, which viewed the world as being locked in an epic battle between opposing forces of good and evil. Sounds a bit like Vladimir Putin’s recent spouting, doesn’t it?

  • Alan says:

    “Iran born”

    “western conductor”

    No, he isn’t. Not if he’s Iran born.

  • Tafreshipour says:

    His interpretation is excellent.
    An Absolute romantica

  • Kyle Wiedmeyer says:

    Since when is Iran the “west”?

  • Alex Klein says:

    So sad to see racism at work. “Everything remotely related to ‘Russia’ is bad”, because its government is involved in a war that is not appreciated.

    These are people. They are musicians. They are trying to live and work.

    Should we blame all British musicians for Tony Blair’s illegal invasion of Iraq? Do all US musicians grab pussy like their former President? Should Purcell, Elgar, Bridge, Britten, and all 19th century French and Dutch composers (and Iberians too) be held personally and professionally responsible for the atrocities of European colonialism in Africa and Latin America?

    If those are the standards to be held, then of course every Russian musician or foreigners who still perform in Russia should be vilified. May racism and discrimination be hailed as the passport for a future of respect and prosperity.

    We can do better than this. Let governments fight their wars. Let musicians play and bring beauty to a sick world.