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Kimia Hesabi

Composers of the Iranian Diaspora
November 7, 2021
5:00 p.m.

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About the Program

This program includes works for viola by the composers of the Iranian diaspora. Song and Whispers, and Hani and Shaymorid, are both commissioned works that explore new sound worlds inspired by elements such as Iranian folk and classical music. Kamalto is the result of the composer’s creative approach in blending cultures and musical elements, and his inspiration from the Iranian Kamancheh (Bowed string instrument). Sonata for viola and piano is an avant-garde work by one of the most prolific Iranian composers, who’s teachings and works have contributed immensely to the contemporary music scene in Iran. Nourbakhsh wrote Veiled in 2019 first for cello and then created a viola version for Dr. Hesabi. Veiled is a story telling and imaginative piece that creatively experiments with colors and registers for viola. It is inspired by socio-political events in Iran in response to obligatory Hijab and other limitations for women in the country. 


Song and Whispers for solo viola by Gity Razaz

Hani and Shaymorid for solo viola by Mozhgan Chahian

Kamalto for viola and voice by Showan Tavakol

Sonata for viola and piano by Alireza Mashayekhi

Veiled for viola and electronics by Niloufar Nourbakhsh

Artist Connections

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Kimia Hesabi


Dr. Kimia Hesabi is a violist and teaching artist based in the Washington D.C. area. Hesabi has recently presented a lecture-recital at the American Viola Society Festival, in June 2021 and her article titled “Viola Repertoire from the Iranian Diaspora” has been published by the Journal of the American Viola Society. An active chamber musician, Ms. Hesabi is the founder of Yasna Ensemble. This ensemble performs contemporary compositions and arrangements that are inspired by Middle Eastern classical and folk music. Hesabi has performed with several orchestras and ensembles in the Middle East such as the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, Iranian National Orchestra, and the Tehran Philharmonic. In her DMA dissertation project, “Viola from Iran: Continuing and Expanding the Trajectory of a Rich Cultural History,” Ms. Hesabi has performed, researched, and recorded an album of several commissioned and premiered works for viola by Iranian composers. In addition to performing, Hesabi is an active teacher and clinician in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and is currently on the string faculty at the International School of Music in Bethesda, Maryland. Recent clinics include a workshop, masterclass and performance at the American University, Katzen Art Center as well as appearing as guest lecturer at Towson University, and Lebanon Valley College. She is also a co-founder of LyreIran, a collaborative focusing on promoting strings related performance and education content. As a leadership team member of District New Music Coalition, Ms. Hesabi works with DNMC to promote the performance and appreciation of contemporary music by connecting performers, composers, institutions, and audiences located in the Washington, D.C. area through concerts, conferences, and active community building. Ms. Hesabi is the recipient of the prestigious Thomas Fellowship from the University of Tennessee and the Dean’s Fellowship for Academic Excellence from the University of Maryland.

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Lori Şen

mezzo soprano

Turkish mezzo-soprano Lori Şen is known for her versatility in many vocal genres, including opera, art song, musical theatre, and jazz, as well as for her teaching and research interests in vocal literature, voice pedagogy, and voice science. Dr. Şen is a leading expert of the Sephardic Art Song genre that comprises Western classical settings and arrangements of the traditional Sephardic folk literature. Over the past few years, she has introduced this repertoire to audiences through solo recitals, in addition to her lectures on the history, language, and culture of the Sephardim, and elements and stylistic features of Sephardic music. Since 2018, she has presented her research at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City, the 14th and 16th Barcelona Festival of Song in Barcelona, Spain, the 8th Annual Judeo-Spanish Symposium (UCLAdino) at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Yunus Emre Institute, Sephardic Heritage International (SHIN) DC, and Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, all in Washington, D.C.


Dr. Şen completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance at the University of Maryland, College Park, and received her Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at Westminster Choir College, in Princeton, NJ, as a Fulbright grantee. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, in addition to a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice and a Master of Education degree in Physics Education from Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir, Turkey. 


Dr. Şen regularly collaborates with musicians and composers across a variety of genres, and has performed in Turkey, Europe, and the United States. She currently teaches as a Lecturer of Voice Pedagogy at the University of Maryland School of Music and Adjunct Voice Faculty at the Peabody Preparatory of the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. 

For more information:

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Ying-Shan Su


Ying-Shan Su completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland, where she studied with Rita Sloan. She has received the Government Scholarship to Study Abroad from Taiwan’s Ministry of Education to pursue this degree. After completing her master’s degree at Lee University where she was a Young Musician Scholar, she served as a staff pianist and faculty member. Ying-Shan Su holds another master’s degree from National Chiao Tung University, where she was a teaching assistant for music research courses. Her bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance and Music Education was earned at National Taiwan Normal University. She has participated in master classes with well-known performers, including violinist Augustin Hadelich, pianist Gilbert Kalish, soprano Tamara Wilson, and pianist Jonathan Feldman. She has also performed at festivals such as the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, the Music by Women Festival, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference.

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