Today: Jul 17, 2024

Student hosts concert and plays Beethoven classics


Mani Mirzaee, a student at Southern, hosted the Music of Beethoven and Classical Iran, where he played classical music and introduced the audience to Iranian classical pieces and instruments.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a year and a half,” said Mirzaee about why he’s playing the event. “Actually think of it as a final test [for a class].” When asked if he would do this again, “hopefully next semester expanded. I’ll actually try to get someone to play with me so it can be a complete music recital.”

The senior started the show by playing a piece that the audience may have been familiar with, Beethoven’s “Tempest Sonata.”

He then started introducing the audience to Iranian music and instruments, such as “Dastgahe Segah” played with the tar, or “Dastgahe Abuata” played with the setar. Mirzaee expressed that favorite piece he played was entitled “Reng.”

“If played right, it makes the listener actually move in their seats when they’re listening,” he said. “I like the idea of being able to play and have such significant control over the music to relay the emotions to the listener.”

The classical Iranian instruments Mirzaee used were the setar and the tar.

He described the setar and tar to the audience as being from the lute family, with very similar features to each other, but both are plucked differently, and while the setar has three strings, the tar has six.

“I’ve been playing Iranian music since I was 8 years old, so you can say it’s a little easier for me to play the instruments. Setar [is] somehow engraved into my fingers; I’m still trying to achieve that and get to the point where piano is also an extension of my fingers. Tar, I only started for three years, the piano I’ve been playing eight or nine years now.”

He also described his experience with learning these instruments.

“Piano is the hardest instrument, because you have so many different fingers and special awareness you’re worried about. I focus on one [instrument] for a period of time then I finish the repertoire of that particular instrument then I go back and focus on the other instruments,” he said.

Mirzaee said he hopes the music he introduces to the audience leaves a lasting impression.

“The idea is that if people like it, to go to YouTube and see what that actually sounds like, listen to the whole piece,” said Mirzaee. “As for the setar and tar go, again go to YouTube and see thousands of videos that are available and be exposed to something that otherwise they wouldn’t.”

Mirzaee said he would describe himself as “classically inclined.” “As one of my professors like to say,” Mirzaee said, “I play ‘dead music’ where the composers are dead but the music lives forever. The more I learn about music, the more I learn to appreciate different kinds of music that I would not have been so inclined to sit down and listen to several years ago.”

Next semester Southern may have the pleasure of hosting another concert with Mirzaee as he plans to further introduces people to music of different cultures and tastes.

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