PCE December Newsletter

As you may have noticed, the last PCE trailer – Joe Horowitz talking about Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon – was professionally produced. This is the work of Behrouz Jamali, who this season becomes our Resident Documentarian/Photographer.

Actually, Behrouz has been filming PCE for some time. One of his most eloquent PCE films celebrates Harry Burleigh – whose pivotal role in bringing spirituals into the concert hall is the topic of PCE’s upcoming “Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual” at Washington National Cathedral Feb. 28. Two seasons ago, Behrouz filmed PCE Resident Artist Kevin Deas and Joe Horowitz in their “Harry Burleigh Show” at Howard University and transformed that footage into this poignant featurette:

Behrouz is also working on a documentary on Angel. The following compilation samples eight PCE-related films. You’ll see Angel in rehearsal with PCE and with Madrid’s Rado and Television Orchestra; Alexander Toradze performing and discussing Prokofiev; PCE Resident Artist Kevin Deas and Principal Trumpet Chris Gekker in performance and conversation; and Vladimir Feltsman playing Bach:

Behrouz’s most recent film, “Sing Again,” is an amazing journalistic feat. Before the 1978 revolution, Iran’s national TV station hosted a chorus conducted by Golnoush Khaleghi Ackert (now a resident of DC). The group was singing a freedom song when Iranian radio and TV was forced off the air. Behrouz tracked down the choristers in England, Italy, France, Canada, Spain, and the US and created this 15-minute memento of secular Iran. He posted it on the web Dec. 8. Within a week, there were 50,000 hits. You don’t need to understand a word of Farsi to absorb the content here – Behrouz shows us the group in 1978, and again in 2017. The narrator, a famous Persian broadcaster, also took part in the 1978 broadcast.

Behrouz Jamali has led several lives. He has written books about civil engineering, computers, and electronic music. He arrived in the US in 2000 to serve as Director of Network Engineering for ATI. He has designed a dozen houses (including his own, in Vienna, Va.). As an audio engineer, he has produced eight CDs, including a world premiere recording of music for organ and guitar.

And Behrouz is himself a musician, having played both Western and Persian musical instruments. He currently tours widely with the eminent kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, performing in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum (NYC), and Toronto Symphony Hall; they have also performed live on National Public Radio.

Behrouz started making films about ten years ago. He discovered PCE in 2002. He was so stirred by our recent performance of the Shostakovich Piano Trio No. 2 that he will be filming the same performers in this work this coming May at the Cathedral for an invited audience (stay tuned).

This year, we’re saying thanks to our Year-End Campaign donors with a special offer:

Friday, Jan. 5, 7:30 pm
Washington National Cathedral

Donors contributing $500 or more to this month’s Year-End Campaign will receive two free tickets to an invitation-only recital by PCE’s terrific principal cellist, Benjamin Capps.

Ben will perform (and talk about) the complete cycle of Twenty-four Preludes for solo cello by Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) – hailed by Gidon Kremer as a Russian composer “as great as Shostakovich.”

A reception follows this 75-minute private concert, in the Cathedral’s intimate Bethlehem Chapel.

Annie S. Totah, Honorary Chair

PCE’s 2018 Gala features Min Xiao-fen — “a pipa player unlike any other” (The New York Times) — in  the world premiere performance of a new Daniel Schnyder work for pipa and chamber orchestra.

A demonic quintessential “postclassical” artist, Min Xiao-fen defies categorization. For PCE, she has performed traditional Chinese music alongside jazz standards (she specializes in Thelonious Monk) and world-premiere commissions. At the Gala, her thirty-minute set will include pipa solos ranging from Monk to her own edgy, twenty-first century creations.