An all-female orchestra in Iran

Posted on: December 22, 2009

An all-female orchestra in Iran

In Sunday’s (12/20) edition of the Los Angeles Times, Borzou Daragahi reports from Shiraz, Iran, where Ali Jafarian, 72, leads the Fars Women’s Chamber Orchestra. “Every Friday, the young women gather at the blind man’s home in a fading district of a sleepy city once famous for its poets and wine. They unpack vessels of wood, string and stretched hides…. ‘We have something to say in this world of art, no matter how small,’ says Helen Parchami, a violinist in her 20s…. ‘Only women play. We show that we can stand on our own feet.’” The orchestra plays Western classical music and traditional Iranian songs; Daraghi writes that though Jafarian is allowed to coach the orchestra in his home, government restrictions prevent him from attending their performances. “Pianist Bahareh Rajai, 31, says she left the orchestra for three years to finish her master’s thesis in architecture and got married. But she felt drawn back. ‘You used to have better Fridays,’ her husband told her.” Her husband ended up signing up for singing lessons with Jafarian, too. “This space has a very specific feel,” says Rajai in the article. “It’s a very warm place. All the people here are friends. We look forward to every Friday.”

Posted December 22, 2009