Emruz Festival: Independent Contemporary Iranian Artists

April 19-21, 26-28

Featuring the works of:, Mohammed Aghebati, Tara Ahmadinejad, Ᾱsoo Performing Arts, Armin Atighchian, Jame Daran, Nima Dehghani, Shadi Ghaheri, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, Tan Haw, Iranian Female Composers Association, Hamidreza Maleki, Babak N. Safa, Ava Nazar, Farideh Sakhaeifar, Michael Shayan.

Iranian artists Shadi Ghaheri and Niloufar Nourbakhsh are pleased to announce the first Emruz Festival, a festival designed to illuminate the work of Iranian artists living inside and outside the United States. Emruz is a celebration of independent theatre, dance, music, film, and performance with the goal of illuminating the daring works of emerging international Iranian Artists.

Those interested in attending will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for a single performance or purchase a pass to attend all events in an evening or multiple nights in a row. For tickets and full schedule, visit HERE.

Please donate here to support the Festival.

All performances at Spectrum, 70 Flushing Ave. (betw Cumberland and Carlton), Brooklyn, NY.


Fri, April 19

8pm Music: Hamidreza Maleki Ensemble
9:15pm Theatre: “Apart-ment” by Mohammad Aghebati

Sat, April 20

6:30pm Theatre: “Apart-ment” by Mohammad Aghebati
7:45pm Short Film: “Halabja, 1988” by Farideh Sakhaeifar
9pm Music: “Songs from a black hole” by Armin Antique

Sun, April 21

5pm Theatre: Tara Ahmadinejad
6:15pm Theatre: “Shahr-e-Farang” by Shadi Ghaheri
7:30pm Music: Clarinet and Piano Duo by Ava Nazar, Piano and Madison Freed, Clarinet

Fri, April 26

7pm Music: Jameh Daran by Kaveh and Siavash Haghtalab
8pm Multimedia lecture performance: “I AM NOT YOUR FOOD” by Nima Dehghani
9:15pm Theatre: “Ingress” by Āsoo Performing Arts

Sat, April 27

6:30pm Short Film: “In the trees” and "What remains" by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh with Q&A
7:45pm Music: Azerbaijani Qopuz by Babak Naghizadeh Safa
9pm Theatre: “Avaaz” by Michael Shayan

Sun, April 28

5pm Music: SOLO presented by Iranian Female Composers Association
6:15pm Music: Tan Haw Band
7:30pm Closing Party

Core Team

Niloufar Nourbakhsh, Co-Curator

Described as “stark” by WNPR and a winner of 2nd Hildegard competition, Iranian composer Niloufar Nourbakhsh’s music has been commissioned and performed by Symphony Number One, I-Park Foundation, PUBLIQuartet, Women Composers Festival of Hartford, Forward Music Project, Cassatt String Quartet, Ensemble Connect, Akropolis Reed Quintet, and Calidore Quartet at numerous festivals and venues including Carnegie Hall, Atlantic Music Festival, Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music, SPLICE institute, New Music For String, MusLab Electroacoustic festival in Mexico, and many more. Founder and Co-director of Iranian Female Composers Association, Nilou is a strong advocate of music education and equal opportunities. She is currently a Teaching Artist Associate for composition students of NY Philharmonic Young Composers program and teaches piano at Brooklyn Music School. Nilou is a music graduate and a Global Citizen Scholarship recipient of Goucher College as well as a Mahoney and Caplan Scholar from University of Oxford. Among her teachers are Lisa Weiss, Laura Kaminsky, Sheila Silver, Daria Semegen, and Daniel Weymouth. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in music composition under the supervision of Margaret Schedel at Stony Brook University.

Shadi Ghaheri, Co-Curator

Shadi Ghaheri is a theatre director and choreographer from Tehran, Iran based in New York City. She graduated from Yale School of Drama with a MFA in Directing where she has directed Bahram Beyzai’s Death of Yazdgerd, The Girl is Chained, Titus Andronicus and Wrong River. At Yale Cabaret, she translated and directed Slow Sound of Snow by Jaber Rmezani, and a trio devised movement pieces named, فریاد, Butterfly’s Terror and Post Scream and Terror with all-female company. As Co-Artistic Director of the 2017 Yale Summer Cabaret, directed Trojan Women, and LEAR. For several years, Shadi has been doing theatre workshops with children refugees under age of 18 from Afghanistan who are working in Iran. Shadi is a 2016 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and the directing fellow 2018-2019 at Rattlestick Playwright Theatre. Shadi’s production of Last Days of Judas Iscariot, written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, will be presented at Williams College in March 2019.

Kazem Ghouchani, Production Manager

Kazem Ghouchani is a New York based activist and an MBA graduate from Hult International Business School with a passion for designing systems for grassroots initiatives and communities. Promoting social justice has always been a driving force that has pushed him to always look for ways to use design to build communities, also to stay active but remain focused on humans. Therefore, he spends time asking questions such as "How might we use design to help communities with fewer resources? ". But, he also pushes the matter further to ask "How might we design with those communities so that they are empowered and engaged in answering the challenges they are faced with?". This shared passion is why he got involved with collectives such as iconact.org and started volunteering with them.

About The Artists

Mohammad Aghebati

Mohammad Aghebati is a graduate of Theater Directing from Tehran Art University with decades of experience in directing plays for adults and young audiences in his native Iran. A Special Research Fellowship at Yale School of Drama brought him to the States in 2012 and he has been working between the two countries ever since. Aghebati has received various awards for his plays including the Young Artist Medal of Honor from Iran’s former President Mohammad Khatami. In 2007, Aghebati was selected and commissioned by Japan Foundation to direct a new interpretation of Oedipus Rex, which played in Tokyo. Several of his works have toured various international festivals including Under the Radar Festival at New York’s Public Theater.

Tara Ahmadinejad

Tara Ahmadinejad is a NY-based director and theater-maker. She is a core member of Piehole, whose work has been developed and produced at New Ohio/IRT’s Archive Residency, JACK, Irondale, LMCC’s Workspace Residency, The Drama League, New York Theatre Workshop, and HERE, among others. She is currently directing for VR with the company Tender Claws, in collaboration with Piehole (Sundance 2019). Recent collaborations include plays by Chana Porter (New Georges), Sarah Einspanier (Clubbed Thumb Winterworks), Daaimah Mubashshir (NG Audrey Residency), and Celine Song (with Piehole). NYTW Usual Suspect; NG Affiliated Artist; Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellow; MFA Columbia University.

Hengameh Fallah

Hengameh Fallah, born in 1986, is a New York-based community theater director and is also the founder of Āsoo Performing Arts. She has directed a play reading performance based on Partners In Crime of Eric Emmanuel Schmitt in August 2018 at Gibney Studio, Manhattan, NY. She produced this show through Āsoo Performing Arts, with the help of Iranian Community of the Northeast (ICON) volunteers, and funding from Citizens Committee for New York City (CCNYC). She also has acting experiences in plays such as: Khaaneh, directed by: Kiomars Moradi, February 2016, Dallas, TX; Black-out, directed by: Mohammad Aghebati, September 2016, Dallas, TX; and The Only Possible Way, directed by: Mohammad Yaghoubi, September 2016, Dallas, TX. Hengameh works as a researcher in Columbia Medical Center since 2017.

Armin Antique (Antighechian)

Armin Antique (Antighechian) is a New York based music composer, theatre director and illustrator. He started playing electric guitar at age of 14 and formed a rock band(Sisyphe) in 2000 were he was the songwriter and the lead guitarist. Later he earned his BFA for theater directing from Sooreh Art University in Tehran and directed several plays and composed music for films, documentaries and plays. He has also written scripts for animation series for Iran national TV. Armin has won several awards and nominations for composing and songwriting including the best original score at San Diego Horror movie festival, thesis of the year among theatre schools nationwide in Iran and the youngest theater director in the history of Fadjr Theater Festival, Iran’s most prestigious theater festival in 2010. He has collaborated with acknowledged artists such as Hassan Majouni, Marjan Farsad , Jalal Tehrani and many other international musicians and filmmakers around the world.


Kaveh Haghtalab:
Kaveh Haghtalab is an Iranian kamancheh, drumset, and percussion player. He grew up listening to his parents performing Persian classical music. At the age of 14, he began to perform with various music ensembles at concerts and festivals in Iran. Subsequently he was selected to become a member of “The Center For Preservation and Propagation of Iranian Music”, and won a title in Fajr International Music Festival. He came to the U.S in 2012 to further study western music and received Advanced Performance Diploma from The Collective School Music, and has been performing and touring around the U.S with different bands and also as a solo performer since then.

Siavash Haghtalab:
Born in Tehran, in 1989. Certainly the first voice he heard was the sound of Santur played by her mother even before he was born. He was raised in the same cultural and musical family. His parents inspired him to start learning the Iranian Music. Siavash first studied traditional Iranian Music “Haft Dastgah” (Seven Modes) under the supervision of Farshad Tavakolli when he was 11 years old. In 2001, He has started to learn the Style of the late great master of Tar “Mirza Hossein Gholi” and “Haft Dastgah” under the supervision of his great master, “Vahid Bassam”. Meanwhile in 2004, Majid Kiani the great master of Iranian Music accepted him as a disciple and this gave him an opportunity to adopt the Radif of Iranian Music from its greatest master. Although far from them, He is still grateful of the presence of his great masters. By learning from the greatest masters, Siavash Haghtalab was able to inherit the elegance and beauty of unique style of Tar and Traditional Iranian Music in an Oral manner, and by continuing this way, he is trying to reach its perfection.

Nima Dehghani

Nima Dehghani is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and director born in Tehran, Iran, 1986. Nima received his BA in Architecture from IUST (2012) and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University with an emphasis on digital performance art. (2016) His recent research revolves around the core of "Aesthetics of social behaviors on the Internet" and his practices are focused on the combination of Video, VR-AR, Net Art, and performing arts. He is currently based in San Francisco; teaches and works predominantly in the medium of theater and digital media. Nimadehghani.com

Anahita Ghazvinizadeh

Anahita Ghazvinizadeh received her BA in Cinema from Tehran University of Art and her MFA in Film from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She started directing and editing short films in Iran under the mentorship of Abbas Kiarostami. When the Kid was a Kid (2011, Iran), Needle (2013, US) and In the Trees (2015, US) form her trilogy of short films with main child characters. Her short film What Remains (2016, US) was part of Break the Silence an international project raising awareness against child abuse. Anahita’s first feature film They (2017, US) premiered in the official selection of Cannes film Festival, and it has been selected and showing worldwide. In 2013 Anahita was named as one of the 25 new faces of independent cinema in the US by Filmmaker Magazine, and attended the Sundance Institute screenwriting lab. She is the recipient of Premiere Prix de la Cinéfondation from Cannes Film Festival 2013, the Silver Hugo from Chicago International Film Festival 2013, Doha Film Institute Grant 2015 and the George C. Linn Filmmaker Award for They in 2017 among other prizes. Anahita has written scripts, stories and essays in Farsi and English. Her most recent written work, a short story in Farsi titled “The Black Ladder” was published in the winter issue of “Saan” an Iranian literary quarterly dedicated to works by prominent Iranian writers and poets. Anahita is currently an Assistant Professor of Cinematic Arts at the University of Iowa.

Tan Haw

The band Tan Haw formed in 2017 in Brooklyn by Mani Nilchiani, Nathan Thompson, Ali Ghomashchi and later joined by Ghaflan Abadi, the band explores the intersection of themes borrowed from Iranian classical music, regional folk music and contemporary Indie rock to deliver a percussive, lyrical and melodic sound. So far the band has performed in various venues around New York City such as Baby's All Right, The Cutting Room & Home Sweet Home. Tan Haw is currently working on its debut EP titled "Daybreak" scheduled for Spring 2019.

The Iranian Female Composers Association

The Iranian Female Composers Association (IFCA) was established in 2017 by three female identifying Iranian composers: Anahita Abbasi, Niloufar Nourbakhsh, and Aida Shirazi. When Niloufar Nourbakhsh (founding member) decided to fully dedicate herself to a lifetime of composition, there were few mentors that she could look up to in Iran. In recent years the the circumstances have improved significantly, but it is still a challenging pathway, especially for female musicians. Niloufar eventually met Anahita Abbasi, and Aida Shirazi through social media. The three composers began to converse and collaborate, and ultimately decided to form IFCA, a platform to support, promote, and celebrate Iranian women in music through concerts, public performances, installations, interdisciplinary collaborations, and workshops. IFCA is designed to enrich our community and create a welcoming space for Iranian female composers around the globe and present a cultural dialogue that is necessary more than ever.

Hamidreza Maleki

Hamidreza Maleki is an Iranian traditional trained musician born in Tehran. He began his musical studies at the age of 11 under the late master Parviz Meshkatian. At the age of 17 he was the winner of the National Fajr Competition Award for the best Santur Performance. He is also a UCLA music and ethnomusicology graduate. He has worked and performed with many of Iran's greatest artists including maestro Shajarian, Hossein Alizadeh, Kayhan Kalhor and Homayoun Shajarian. He is an active music producer and engineer who has worked over a hundred of music albums.

Babak N. Safa

Babak N. Safa is an Ashik and bioengineer from Tabriz, Iran based in Delaware. He is currently a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware. Babak is an engineer by training, but he has been an active musician from an early age. He is an Ashik; Ashik music is native to Azerbaijan, . He was trained by Ostad Changiz Mehdipour, a legendary Ashik and composer, and the first to develop the systematic pedagogy for Ashik music. Babak was one of Ostad Changiz’s first students to be trained by his method, which has revitalized this old art form to a modern style. Babak was a member of Dalğa music group, directed by Ostad Changiz and took stage with them in Tabriz and Tehran, Iran. He also collaborated with Dalğa in Sari-Tel, Koroğlu , and Qaranquş albums, and the film music for Afsane-i dar Ghobar. As a composer, he has composed and recorded a film score for the short film Shut up!

Ava Nazar

Ava Nazar is a New York-based pianist. Born in Iran, she has had numerous performances in venues such as the United Nations, Merkin Hall, American Museum of Natural History, and Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Ava holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School as a recipient of the Bloomfield, Garvey, and Shendell Scholarships. She currently serves as a collaborative piano staff at the Juilliard School. Ava has been featured at Académies d'été du Grand Nancy in France, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.

Farideh Sakhaeifar

Farideh Sakhaeifar is a New York-based artist born in Tehran, Iran. She received her MFA from Cornell University in 2011 and her BFA from Azad Art and Architecture University in Iran in 2008. Sakhaeifar’s work ranges from photography to installation and sculpture. Her work seeks to produce a translational understanding of the social and political struggles in which she has been involved either directly or indirectly. Sakhaeifar was awarded a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Residency in 2012-13, Bric Media Arts Fellowship, Residency Unlimited, 2017, Queens Museum Studio Program 2018 and The Shed Open Call 2019. Her work has been widely covered including in ArtFuse, The Guardian, and Hyperallergic.

Michael Shayan

Michael Shayan is an Iranian-American Jewish playwright and performer based in New York. His work has recently been presented & developed at La MaMa, The Lark, Dixon Place's queer HOT! Festival, and Lambda Literary, where he is a returning Fellow in Playwriting (2017-2019). His play Tricks was featured in The Advocate Magazine. He studied playwriting at Harvard, and is currently pursuing a Playwriting MFA at Brooklyn College.

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