Art And Culture

German Cellist, French Pianist to Perform at Niavaran Center

François Couturier (L) and Anja Lechner at the performance of Tarkovsky Quartet at Tehran's Vahdat Hall in 2013.François Couturier (L) and Anja Lechner at the performance of Tarkovsky Quartet at Tehran's Vahdat Hall in 2013.

Niavaran Cultural Center in upscale northern Tehran will host two great musicians from Europe mid-December.

According to, the highly acclaimed German cellist Anja Lechner and the famous French pianist/composer François Couturier will have duet performances on December 16-17 at the Niavaran center.

In the classical duet concert, Lechner and Couturier will come together with a striking performance of new arrangements of works by the Armenian composers George Ivanovich Gurdjieff and Komitas Vardapet and Spanish composer Federico Mompou as well as Couturier himself.

This is the fourth time Lechner is travelling to Iran. She performed with the Tarkovsky Quartet, a band founded by Couturier, during the 28th Fajr International Music Festival in Tehran in 2013. She joined Armenian pianist/composer Artur Avanesov in 2014 to perform Garden II composed by Iranian musician Hooshyar Khayam. Last April also, Lechner had a two-day solo concert at Niavaran.

After a decade of shared work in the Tarkovsky Quartet, Lechner teamed up with Couturier in 2014 to form a new joint album 'Moderato Cantabile', pieces of which will be performed in the upcoming Tehran concert.

The different backgrounds of the players contribute to mutually beneficial interest and experience. Lechner is a classical soloist with an interest in improvisation whereas Couturier is a jazz musician. Lechner's broad spectrum of work embraces performances as soloist with orchestras, classical and contemporary chamber music as well as projects referencing diverse improvisational traditions. She has held concerts across the globe and collaborated with many famous figures of classical music.

In 2005, Couturier organized a quartet with Lechner, French accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, and French soprano saxophonist Jean-Marc Larché to record 'Nostalgia: Song for Tarkovsky', released in 2006, an album that paid tribute to Soviet film director Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986), not by playing music used in his films, but instead by creating new compositions, played in a jazz/classical hybrid, that evoked the moods of the filmmaker's works.

Since then, the group has toured the world and the 2011 album 'Tarkovsky Quartet' is a follow-up recording in the same manner.

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