Cowell in Tehran

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Manage episode 242261582 series 1318946
By American Public Media. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Teheran might seem an unlikely venue for the premiere of an American chamber work, but on today’s date in 1957, Henry Cowell’s “Persian Set,” had its first performance in the Iranian capital. Cowell once said: “I want to live in the whole world of music,” and from the 1930s on, Cowell practiced what he preached: He was one of the first to advocate that what we now call “world music” should be integrated into American concert life. In 1956, a major grant allowed Cowell to embark on a world tour to introduce American music abroad to study other musical traditions. Cowell spent the winter of 1956 in Iran, and early the following year completed his “Persian Set.” “Of course, I made no attempt to shed my years of Western symphonic experience,” Cowell said, “nor did I used actual Iranian melodies or rhythms. Instead, I tried to develop some of the musical behavior that the two cultures had in common.” Cowell was born in California in 1897, and died in New York in 1965. He was active as a teacher and music publisher and wrote 900 pieces of very original music — most of it still unfamiliar to American audiences.

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