Shiraz Arts Festival

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Shiraz Festival of Arts
Shiraz Arts Festival logo.png
GenreVarious (music, dance, drama, poetry and film)
Dates10–22 September
Location(s) Shiraz/ Persepolis, Iran
Years active1967–1977
Founded by Farah Pahlavi
Farrokh Ghaffari

The Shiraz Festival of Arts (Persian: جشنواره هنر شیراز) was an annual international summer arts festival, held in Iran bringing about the encounter between the East and the West. It was held from 1967 to 1977 in the city of Shiraz and Persepolis in central Iran by the initiative of Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi.

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script, which itself evolved from the Aramaic alphabet.

Arts festival festival that features the arts in a wide sense of the word, not just visual arts

An arts festival is a festival that can encompass a wide range of art genres including music, dance, film, fine art, literature, poetry etc. and isn't solely focused on "visual arts." Arts festivals may feature a mixed program that include music, literature, comedy, children's entertainment, science, or street theatre, and are typically presented in venues over a period of time ranging from as short as a day or a weekend to a month. Each event within the program is usually separately ticketed.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.



Accompanied by symposia and debates, the festival program included music, dance, drama and film, performed in a variety of locations in Shiraz and surrounding areas. The venues included the ruins of Persepolis (ceremonial capital of ancient Persia), Naqsh-e Rostam, Hafezieh, Bagh-e Delgosha, Narenjestan, Bazaar-e Vakil, Jahan-Nama Garden, Saray-e Moshir and a concert hall on the Shiraz University campus.

Persepolis Ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire

Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BCE. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.

Stamp of the Shiraz Art Festival, 1975 BriefmarkeSchirazKunstfestival.jpg
Stamp of the Shiraz Art Festival, 1975

Some of those who appeared at the festival are: In theatre, Jerzy Grotowski, Peter Brook, Tadeusz Kantor, Arby Ovanessian, Bijan Mofid, Davoud Rashidi, Peter Schumann, Parviz Sayyad, Andrei Șerban, Robert Wilson, Shūji Terayama, Andre Gregory, Ali Nassirian, Víctor García, Joseph Chaikin, and Esma'il Khalaj. In this field, traditional plays such as ta'zieh (passion plays) from Iran, Kathakali from India, and Noh from Japan, as well as R. Serumaga with the National Theatre of Uganda, Duro Lapido & the National Theatre of Nigeria, and Pabuji Ki Phad from India were presented, amongst many others .

Jerzy Grotowski Polish theatre director

Jerzy Marian Grotowski was an innovative Polish theatre director and theorist whose approaches to acting, training and theatrical production have significantly influenced theatre today. He was born in Rzeszów, in South-eastern Poland in 1933 and studied acting and directing at the Ludwik Solski Academy of Dramatic Arts in Kraków and Russian Academy of Theatre Arts in Moscow. He debuted as a director in 1957 in Kraków with Eugène Ionesco's play Chairs and shortly afterwards founded a small Laboratory Theatre in 1959 in the town of Opole in Poland. During the 1960s, the company began to tour internationally and his work attracted increasing interest. As his work gained wider acclaim and recognition, Grotowski was invited to work in the United States and he left Poland in 1982. Although the company he founded in Poland closed a few years later in 1984, he continued to teach and direct productions in Europe and America. However, Grotowski became increasingly uncomfortable with the adoption and adaptation of his ideas and practices, particularly in the US. So, at what seemed to be the height of his public profile, he left America and moved to Italy where he established the Grotowski Workcenter in 1985 in Pontedera, near Pisa. At this centre he continued his theatre experimentation and practice and it was here that he continued to direct training and private theatrical events almost in secret for the last twenty years of his life. Suffering from leukemia and a heart condition, he died in 1999 at his home in Pontedera.

Peter Brook English theatre and film director and innovator

Peter Stephen Paul Brook, CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director who has been based in France since the early 1970s. He has won multiple Tony and Emmy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award, the Praemium Imperiale, and the Prix Italia. He has been called "our greatest living theatre director".

Tadeusz Kantor Polish artist

Tadeusz Kantor was a Polish painter, assemblage and Happenings artist, set designer and theatre director. Kantor is renowned for his revolutionary theatrical performances in Poland and abroad.

Ta'zieh performance taking place at Shiraz Festival, 1975 Shirazfestival10.jpg
Ta'zieh performance taking place at Shiraz Festival, 1975

In music, Iran's traditional musicians were presented, amongst them Hassan Kassai, Jalil Shahnaz, Ahmad Ebadi, Faramarz Payvar, Ali-Asqar Bahari, Hossein Tehrani, Hossein Qavami and Abdolvahab Shahidi. The young masters included Hossein Alizadeh, Dariush Talai, Mohammad-Reza Lotfi, Majid Kiani, Mohammad-Reza Shajarian, Parisa and Noureddin Razavi-Sarvestani. Indian classical musicians who appeared were Vilayat Khan, Bismillah Khan, Sharan Rani, Pran Nath, Sundaram Balachander, Ravi Shankar, Ram Narayan, Chaurasia and Dagar. Traditional non-Western music, some including dance, were presented from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bhutan, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, S, Korea, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam.

Hassan Kassai musician

Hassan Kassai was a musician and player of Persian classical music. He played the ney, the traditional reed flute of Persia/Iran.

Jalil Shahnaz Persian classical musician

Jalil Shahnaz was one of the greatest maestros of Persian classical music and a virtuoso of the tar.

Ahmad Ebadi Iranian musician

Ahmad Ebādi (1906–1993) was an Iranian musician and setar player. Born in Tehran, he was a member of the most extraordinary family of Iranian music. Ahmad's father, Mirza Abdollah, is arguably the most influential figure in Persian traditional music, and his paternal uncle, Mirza Hossein Gholi, is also well known for his mastery in playing the tar. Ahmad's paternal grandfather, Ali Akbar Farahani, was also a talented musician.

In the field of Western music Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Ferras, Martha Argerich, Arthur Rubinstein and Yvonne Loriod appeared in concert or recital . The National Iranian Radio & Television Chamber Orchestra was a regular. Other participants in this field from Iran were Morteza Hannaneh, and the Tehran Symphony Orchestra. From the West, Gilbert Amy led the Orchestre du Domaine Musical, Bruno Maderna conducted the ORTF Orchestra as well as the Hague Residence Orchestra, Iannis Xenakis created "Persephassa" and "Persepolis", Bruno Maderna created "Austrhalung" based on Persian texts Karlheinz Stockhausen was prominently featured one year, Krzysztof Penderecki led the Polish National Radio Symphony, Cathy Berberian, the London Sinfonietta, the Melos Ensemble, Morton Feldman & the Creative Associates appeared as well as John Cage, the Juilliard String Quartet, the American Brass Quintet, Max Roach Quintet performing together with Abbey Lincoln and the Staple Singers, amongst others.

Yehudi Menuhin American violinist and conductor

Yehudi Menuhin, Baron Menuhin, was an American-born violinist and conductor who spent most of his performing career in Britain. He is widely considered one of the greatest violinists of the 20th century.

Christian Ferras was a French violinist.

Martha Argerich Argentine pianist

Martha Argerich is an Argentine classical concert pianist. She is widely considered one of the greatest pianists of all time.

Poster of the cancelled 12th Festival of Arts, Shiraz Derniere affiche du festival des arts de Shiraz-Persepolis (musee d'art moderne, Paris) (14553342799).jpg
Poster of the cancelled 12th Festival of Arts, Shiraz

The twelfth festival was cancelled at the onset of the Islamic Revolution in 1978 out of concern for the safety of the performers. [1]

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    • Gluck, Robert (2007). "The Shiraz Arts Festival: Western Avant-Garde Arts in 1970s Iran" (PDF). Leonardo .

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