Alexander Rahbari

Conductor, composer

Alexander (Ali) Rahbari, born in the city of Varamin, Iran, embarked on his musical journey at the age of five, learning to play the violin. He graduated from the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts in 1971, specialising in composition under the tutelage of Gottfried von Einem, and completed his conducting studies in 1974, guided by Hans Swarovsky. Alexander is a laureate of international conducting competitions, securing the gold medal in Besançon, France (1977), and the silver medal in Geneva (1978).

He had the esteemed opportunity to assist Herbert von Karajan, conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the Salzburg Festival in 1980.

Alexander has conducted over one hundred and twenty orchestras worldwide, including engagements with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Orchestra della Svizzera Romanda, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, French Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Dresden Staatskapelle, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, and Chamber Orchestra ZOE (Bratislava). In 2005 he conducted Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Tehran over seven evenings, garnering acclaim from the Tehran audience. He served as the principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, receiving the Dvořák Medal in 1985 for his collaboration with the ensemble, and also led the Belgrade Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, Belgian Radio and Television Orchestra (later becoming its principal conductor from 1988 to 1996). He was the principal conductor of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virtuosi di Praga chamber orchestra. From 2000 to 2004 he was the chief conductor and musical director of the Malaga Symphony Orchestra, Spain.

In 1997, Alexander formed the Persian International Philharmonic Orchestra in Bregenz, Austria, by bringing together sixty Iranian musicians from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. With this ensemble, he recorded Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Khachaturian's Violin Concerto, and his own violin concerto, Nohe Khan, composed at nineteen and later awarded by the Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts.

He has released over two hundred and fifty compact discs, with his recordings of operas by Verdi and Puccini under his direction gaining particular popularity.

Alexander Rahbari is the composer of the orchestral work Music for Human Rights, the symphonic poem for nine flutes Beirut, the piece for orchestra and choir Half Moon, ten pieces for orchestra and male choir La Fuerza Flamenca, the cycle of symphonic poems My Mother Persia, and a host of other compositions. He leads an international project to musically adapt all one hundred and fifty-four of Shakespeare's sonnets. In March 2022 in collaboration with the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra he premiered his new symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra Spitama, reinterpreting the image of the Iranian prophet depicted in the works of Nietzsche and Richard Strauss.

In July 2022 Alexander made his debut at the Mariinsky Theatre, conducting Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony and Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade. Since then, he has been a regular on the Mariinsky stage. His repertoire there includes the Serenade for String Orchestra, Manfred Symphony, fantasy overture Romeo and Juliet, Tchaikovsky's Fourth and Fifth Symphonies, Debussy's L'Après-midi d'un Faune, Dvořák's Eighth Symphony, Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony, Fazıl Say's 1001 Nights in the Harem Violin Concerto, Tolibkhon Shahidi's Symphonic Dances, works by Ravel, Stravinsky, Khachaturian, and Alexander Arutunian, as well as the Eastern Overture, penned by Vartan Gnoi, a violist from the Mariinsky Orchestra. In September 2022 Alexander presented the Russian premiere of his symphonic poem Also sprach Zarathustra Spitama at the Mariinsky, and in July 2023, the world premiere of Flamenco Suite, composed by the contemporary Andalusian composer Martin-Jaime.
Information as of July 2023

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