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Twinklings of Hope


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Saturday, December 2nd, 2023 7:00 pm

Conrad Prebys Concert Hall

General Public: $25 | PCC members: $20 | Free for UC San Diego students, staff and faculty
This concert will not be livestreamed.

Mahsa Vahdat

Mahsa VahdatMahsa Vahdat is an acclaimed singer, musician, and composer from Iran who has made significant contributions to the world of Iranian classical music.

With her enchanting voice and deep-rooted belonging to the heritage of her beloved country Iran and with her innovative musical expression and wide ranging repertoire,She has fearlessly defied the banns on music and solo women singers imposed by Iranian authorities after Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 and continues to interact with a diverse international audience that highly appreciate her art.

With her expressive and strong voice and profound understanding of Persian poetry, Mahsa together with her sister Marjan brought the Iranian music and poetry to a new height internationally , their musical expression transcends cultural and language boundaries ,embracing the beauty of diversity and universality of human sentiments.

Her music not only shows the beauty of Iranian musical and poetic traditions but also serves as a powerful medium for advocating artistic freedom and expressing universal sentiment .

Beyond her musical achievements, Mahsa Vahdat is a passionate vocal educator and advocate for women's rights, social justice, and human rights. Her life’s work in particular empowers women by encouraging them to raise their voices.

She and her sister Marjan are role models for many young Iranian women singers in the complex socio-political environment of contemporary Iran and in Diaspora communities.

Her performances and recording projects include collaborations with many of the world's most acclaimed musicians, including U.S. blues singer Mighty Sam McClain, the Kronos Quartet, Tord Gustavson, Teatr Zar, SKRUK Choir, Georg Riedel, Atabak Elyasi and Bridget Kibbey.

In 2003, Mahsa and her sister Marjan started a long lasting collaboration with the Norwegian record label Kirkelig Kulturverksted (KKV) and producer and poet Erik Hillestad. This collaboration has led to a worldwide release of a series of award-winning and critically acclaimed albums.

Mahsa’s awards include: Freemuse Award (Denmark 2010), Independent Music Award (USA2013), German Critics Award (2016), Songlines Best Album for “Traces of an Old Vineyard” (England 2015), and Transglobal Award for the album“Placeless” with the Kronos Quartet (2019).

Bridget Kibbey

KibbeyGreenDress.pngExtraordinary harpist Bridget Kibbey, called “the Yo-Yo Ma of the harp (Vogue Magazine),” is in demand for her virtuosic and soulful performances that transcend her instrument. At ease crossing classical, global, and jazz genres, Kibbey dives deep into historic narratives —from the baroque, to the French Belle Époque to Persian Modes, to Nuevo Latino traditions and beyond – while resonating within the vanguard of the new. Through it all, Kibbey is illuminating the powerful expressive range of the concert harp to new audiences worldwide! Her chameleon tendencies at the harp — and love for producing her own touring projects — find her performing with a growing rolodex of curation-meets-performance appearances.

“…she made it seem as though her instrument had been waiting all its life to explode with the energetic figures and colors she was getting from it.”
The New York Times

“Although the concert harp isn’t one you’d think of as ‘badass,’ Kibbey makes it that way.”
Lucid Culture

“Kibbey has the world at her fingertips.”
Star Tribune

Announcing Kibbey’s newest solo recording, releasing October 13th with Pentatone Records, Crossing the Ocean. Kibbey asked six composers from six countries to write for the harp, based on the music they grew up hearing. The result? A set of cultural snapshots that delve into origin stories and preserving the past while moving forward into a new life in the United States. Soprano Dawn Upshaw is a special guest.

Kibbey recently made her solo NPR Tiny Desk Debut, is a winner of a prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, a Salon de Virtuosi SONY Recording Grant, the only harpist to win a place in the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bowers Program, Premiere Prix at the Journées de les Harpes Competition in Arles, France, among others. She has toured and recorded with luminaries Placido Domingo, Dawn Upshaw, Kathleen Battle and Gustavo Santaollalo for SONY Records and Deutsche Grammaphon; and, her own solo debut album, Love is Come Again, was named one of the Top Ten Releases by Time Out New York. Ms. Kibbey's solo performances have been broadcast on NPR's Performance Today, New York's WQXR, WNYC's Soundcheck, WETA’s Front Row Washington, WRTI’s Crossover, and on television in A&E's Breakfast with the Arts.

This season’s highlights include appearances as soloist at Toronto’s Koerner Hall’s 21C Festival, Dumbarton Oaks, Caramoor, Music@Menlo, Festival Napa Valley, the VIVO Festival, Saratoga PAC, Alice Tully Hall with Artists of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, as well as appearing as concerto soloist for 40,000 attendees at “Madison’s Concerts at the Capitol” premiering her own transcription of Rodrigo’s Concierto Aranjuez with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. She presents a newly-commissioned concerto by Brazilian composer Joao Luiz Rezende, exploring the sounds of Carnaval on the harp, and tours projects of her own creation, merging her own solo transcriptions alongside powerful collaborations: The Sacred in the Profane, exploring French Masterworks of the Belle Époque alongside the famed Calidore String Quartet; and Leyenda, celebrating Nuevo Latino Voices alongside Latin-Grammy winning percussionist/composer Samuel Torres and acclaimed clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski.

Kibbey was the 2022/23 Artist in Focus at the Schubert Club in Minneapolis, Minnesota, bringing three programs of her own creation to the city, to great critical acclaim in Gramophone Magazine. She crafted a baroque program with violinist Alexi Kenney, a French program with Calidore Quartet, and a program tracking music of the Islamic Golden Era alongside Iranian Singer Mahsa Vahdat and percussionist John Hadfield. She appears frequently as soloist and chamber musician at festivals and series across the globe, including Schloss Elmau, Pelotas Festival, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart, La Jolla Music Society, International Festival d’Avesnois, Aspen, Bravo!Vail, Santa Fe, Spoleto, Big Ears Knoxville, Chamber Music Northwest, Bridgehampton, Savannah Music Festival, The Phillips Collection, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, The Cliburn, and Music@Menlo, Chamber Music Columbus, Calgary Pro Musicis, Chattanooga’s String Theory, among others. Kibbey has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras in the United States, Europe, South America, and Middle East.