Wednesday, April 21 2021 | 7:30 PM
Ensemble Constantinople; Kiya Tabassian, Music Director, setar; Didem Başar, kanun; Tanya LaPerrière, viola d’amore & baroque violin; Kianoush Khalilian, ney; Patrick Graham, percussion; Hamin Honari, tombak & daf
Ensemble Constantinople performs the music of Dimitrie Cantemir (1673-1723), a Moldavian prince, scholar, composer, and diplomat. A fascinating historical figure, Cantemir’s compositions are considered part of the Ottoman music repertoire. More influential though are the over 350 instrumental works that he preserved in his book, Edvar-i Musiki, using his own innovative notation system, which remains as one of the most important collections of 16th and 17th century Ottoman and Middle Eastern music.
This concert is generously supported by Fran Watters & Paul Devine and Sharon E. Kahn.
Dowr-e Kabir, Dimitrie Cantemir
Kanun solo, Didem Basar
Ushak Ashirani pishrow
Zarb-e Fatih, Dimitrie Cantemir
Barafshan, Dimitrie Cantemir
Setar solo, Kiya Tabassian
Mohammes, Dimitrie Cantemir
Darbeyn-e Jadid, Dimitrie Cantemir
Ney solo, Kianoush Khalilian
Darbeyn, Dimitrie Cantemir
Dowr-e Ravan, Dimitrie Cantemir
viola d’amore solo (folias), Tanya Laperrière
Samai-e Lang, Dimitrie Cantemir
Percussion duo, Hamin Honari & Patrick Graham
Bousalik Ashirani pishrow
Samai-e Lang, Dimitrie Cantemir
Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey—geographical certainly, but also historical, cultural and inner—as its cornerstone. It draws inspiration from all sources and aims for distant horizons. Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West, Constantinople was founded in 1998 in Montreal by its artistic director, Kiya Tabassian.
Since its founding, the ensemble promotes the creation of new works incorporating musical elements of diverse musical traditions around the world, drawing from medieval manuscripts to a contemporary aesthetic, passing by Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque. Underpinned by a spirit of research and creation, Constantinople has joined forces with leading international artists such as singers Marco Beasley, Françoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou and Suzie Le Blanc; the Mandinka griot Ablaye Cissoko; the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the Belgian duo Belem and the American group The Klezmatics; sarangi virtuoso Dhruba Ghosh, Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.
Regularly invited to perform in international festivals and prestigious concert halls, such as the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, the Rencontres musicales de Conques in France, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens and the BOZAR in Brussels, Constantinople is acclaimed by the public, music professionals and critics alike. The ensemble has 19 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma, World Village, Buda Musique, MaCase, Glossa, and Dreyer Gaido. Over the past fifteen years, Constantinople has created nearly 50 works and travelled to more than 240 cities in 54 countries.
Kiya Tabassian, Music Director, setar
Born in 1976 in Tehran, Iran. At age 14, Kiya Tabassian emigrated with his family to Quebec from Iran, bringing with him some initial musical training in Persian music and a fledgling musical career. Determined to become a musician and composer, he continued his self-education in Persian music, meeting frequently with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. At the same time, he studied composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay. In 1998, he co-founded Constantinople with the idea of developing an ensemble for musical creation that draws from the heritage of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, of Europe, and of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Serving as its artistic director, Kiya has developed close to 40 programs with his ensemble, which continues to be met with unparalleled acclaim by audiences around the world.
He has performed on stages throughout the world and collaborated on many eclectic projects as a composer, performer and improviser. These have included regular collaborations with Radio-Canada since 1996; participation in the international MediMuses project as a member of the group researching the history and repertoire of Mediterranean music and as a contributor on several publishing and recording initiatives from 2002 to 2005; musical collaborations with the Atlas Ensemble (Holland) and, as a tutor, with the Atlas Academy, on a dual project aimed at linking contemporary music with oral traditions, since 2009.
Numerous musical groups and institutions have called upon his talents as a composer, including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the European Broadcasting Union. He has also composed music for documentary and feature films, including Jabaroot and Voices of the Unheard.
Since the summer of 2017, he is Associate Artist at the prestigious Rencontres musicales de Conques festival (formerly the Conques, la Lumière du Roman music festival), where he presented many recent creations with Constantinople.
Kiya was a member of the Conseil des arts de Montréal for seven years, serving as chair of the music decision-making committee for three years, and he is now a Board member of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He also received a mandate from the Conseil québécois de la musique to set up a committee that will examine the role of music from around the world within the context of performance music. His desire to be involved and engaged with the musical community and Quebec society led him, in 2017, to co-found the Centre des musiciens du monde in Montreal, for which he will serve as artistic director.
His artistic projects and creations have received the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Conseil des arts de Montréal for years.
Didem Başar, kanun
Born in a family steeped in music, kanun (Turkish zither) player and composer Didem Başar began her music education at the Istanbul Turkish Music State Conservatory when she was 11 years old. After completing the Conservatory’s kanun program, she continued training at the same institution and received a bachelor’s degree in composition.
Her interest in examining the effects of art on society led her to pursue a master’s degree in the musical analysis of Mevlevi music at Marmara University. She gave lectures on Turkish music and kanun playing techniques at Halic University’s Turkish Music Conservatory and the Istanbul University State Conservatory from 2001 until she moved
to Canada in 2007. Relocating to Montreal has given Didem the opportunity to reinterpret her music in a new environment whose vividness is the result of the turbulent convergence of manifold cultures flowing from different parts of the world.
After composing for different ensembles and playing with different artists over the past 15 years, Didem Başar wanted to create her own project, which would intersect her two musical influences: Turkish and Western classical music. During an artistic residency at the World Musicians Centre in Montreal, she was able to call on the talents of Noemy Braun, a classical cellist with a flair for improvisation, Guy Pelletier, a flute virtuoso and highly versatile musician known for exploring different genres and styles, Brigitte Dajczer, a violinist rooted in Eastern European and Romani folk music, and Patrick Graham, another remarkably versatile musician with a broad knowledge of different percussion instruments from all over the world. The album, Levantine Rhapsody, was released in February 2020 and received the Opus Award for best world music album of the year, as well as many other prestigious nominations.
Tanya LaPerrière, viola d’amore & baroque violin
Recognized for the elegance and passion of her interpretations, Tanya LaPerrière is a graduated violin master of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels under the direction of Mira Glodeanu, as well as McGill University under the guidance of Chantal Rémillard. Co-solo violin of Arion orchestra, she also performs on Canadian and international stages with the celebrated ensembles Caprice, Constantinople, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Clavecin en concert and Les Idées Heureuses. She is currently collaborating as a coach for the baroque orchestra at Université de Montréal (OBUM) alongside Luc Beauséjour.
She also leads as solo violin and founding member her quartet, Pallade Musica, winner of prestigious awards in Utrecht (Holland) and New York (United States), also nominated for two Opus Awards for their recordings on the Atma label. Ms. LaPerrière regularly performs as Concertmaster in Canadian ensembles and is building a solid reputation as a leader in early music throughout the country.
Kianoush Khalilian, ney
Kianoush Khalilian is a Ney player and composer in traditional Iranian style. He began his studies with very distinguished Iranian masters, including Hassan Nahid in 1990 in Tehran; five years later he ranked first in the nationwide Iranian schools competition for Ney performance. Kianoush ranked third in the category of musical composition in Iranian Youth Music Festival in 2009.
He has performed in Iran, Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, and various venues in Canada. Kianoush has been featured at festivals such as Fajr International Music Festival (Iran), San Lorenzo Music Festival (Italy), Toronto Jazz Music Festival and Tirgan Festival (Canada).
He was awarded a Certificate of Traditional Iranian Music in the category of Radif performance from oustad Hassan Nahid. As a music teacher, he has compiled and published technical studies and repertoire he used in his teaching into an instructional book for the Ney.
Patrick Graham, percussion
Over a two decades career based in Montreal, Canadian multi-percussionist Patrick Graham has been described as a “master improviser… on the border of several forms of traditional and creative music, embracing the world of rhythm as a whole” (Yves Bernard, Le Devoir). Patrick displays a talent for fusing an eclectic array of influences—ranging from Japanese percussion, through Indian and Irish rhythms, to Mediterranean frame drumming—as a well as a passion for new sounds and improvisation. This unique cross-genre approach is reflective of an extensive and ongoing study of the art of percussion, including a Bachelor of Music from McGill University in Montreal, as well as private training in several countries with Trichy Sankaran, Glen Velez, Carlo Rizzo, Zohar Fresco and Taichi Ozaki. In addition, Patrick has attended workshops and master classes at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Simon Fraser University, the Labyrinth centre in Crete and participated in the Taiko Koh-Kan workshops conducted by the group Kodō, on Sado Island in Japan.
Patrick performs, tours and records regularly with many groups and ensembles, including Constantinople, as well as contributing to productions by IMAX, Cirque du Soleil and Ubisoft Games. Alongside a busy performing and recording schedule, Patrick is also active as an instructor, teaching percussion and rhythm workshops in Canada, the USA, India, China and Japan, as well as for the Cirque du Soleil.
In March 2020, Patrick released Lumina, his latest solo project.
Hamin Honari, tombak & daf
Hamin Honari is an Iranian-Canadian hand drummer who has specialized on the Persian hand drums Tombak & Daf. He has focused on adapting his drumming style and technique to accommodate many different genres of music. He has performed with the Dastan Ensemble, one of Iran’s most well-known Persian classical music ensembles and has accompanied many amazing musicians and singers such as Salar Aghili, Parissa, Hossein Omoumi, Hossein Behroozinia, Saeed Farajpouri, and Itamar Erez. Hamin has been teaching for over 10 years and is working on creating his own courses for Tombak and Daf.