Art And Culture

Eleven Masters at Upcoming Piano Improvisation Fest

Of the participating pianists two are from Iran and nine from other countries. Regardless of style, the festival focuses on improvisation
List of performancesList of performances

The first edition of ‘Show of Hands,’ a festival of solo piano improvisations, is to be held on September 13-18 at Niavaran Cultural Center in Tehran.

Organized under the auspices of Hermes Records and Click Design-and-Innovation Group, both based in Tehran, the festival has invited 11 renowned pianists to present their solo improvisations on six consecutive nights, Khabaronline reported. The event is organized in collaboration with Niavaran Foundation of Artistic Creations.

Of the participating pianists nine are from other countries and two from Iran. Regardless of style, the festival focuses on improvisation.


Mazyar Younesi from Iran and Tord Gustavsen from Norway will perform on the first night to be followed by Wolfert Brederode from the Netherlands and David Six from Austria on Sept. 14.

Peyman Yazdanian form Iran and Benedikt Jahnel from Germany will improvise on September 15. Nik Bartsch and Collin Vallon will be on the stage on September 16.

On the 5th night Stefano Battaglia from Italy and Francois Couturier from France will go on stage. The last and final night belongs to Marcin Wasilewski from Poland.

The final night will also have a ‘surprise concert, dubbed as a special performance.

“We will certainly record the performances, but there is no assurance that the recordings will be published,” said Ramin Sediqi, the publishing manager of Hermes Records.”First the artists should back up their own performances and  then it will be our turn to approve. The performances should also be publishable as independent works.”

From among the 11 artists, if three are not happy with their work, or we expect better from them, the other eight performances will not be published out of respect for the three, Sediqi added.


On the sidelines of the festival five workshops will be conducted by some of the participating pianists.

‘Improvisation and Dialogue’ is the first workshop slated for September 13. It will be conducted by David Six who is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist, best known for his solo performances.

Peyman Yazdanian will conduct ‘From Nothing to Improvisation,’ the second workshop slated for September 14. He has composed over 40 pieces for solo piano, and introduced a new form of expressionism based on Persian motives and oriental moods.

‘Improvisation on Tabula Rasa (blank slate)’ is a workshop to be conducted by Stefano Battaglia on September 15.

He is a classical and jazz pianist and has recorded over 60 CDs and is currently working on an anthology of recordings called ‘The Book of Jazz.’

On September 17 Benedikt Jahnel will hold an introductory course on the relationship between ‘math, algebra and improvisation.’ According to a review by the Guardian, Jahnel’s parallel life is as a math academic, and, though he doesn’t like simplistic comparisons of his two worlds, he’s undoubtedly an advanced investigator of provocative rhythmic numbers-games.  

‘Order and Improvisation’ is the last of the workshops on the last day of the festival. It is to be conducted by Nik Bartsch who works in three parallel bands and also performs his own compositions incorporating elements of jazz, funk and acoustic rock.

Niavaran Cultural Center is located at the northern end of Pasdaran Street, across Niavaran Park.


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