Composer Highlight: Ashkan Behzadi / by and Play


We are one day away from the premiere of Ashkan's piece, Crescita Plastica! It is has been such a joy to get to know Ashkan through his music and in rehearsal, and we can't wait to share his piece with everyone! It is definitely an adventure full of twists and turns, and we are thrilled to take people along for the ride!

Remember to mark your calendars for Thursday, March 19th (TOMORROW). Cornelia St. Cafe at 9 PM as part of the Contagious Sounds series. We are sharing the bill with the incomparable Concert Black made up of Domenica Fossati (flute), Lisa Dowling (bass), and Owen Weaver (percussion). 

Now without further ado let's see how Ashkan answers our questions...

What was the inspiration for this piece?

A hyper­instrument: heterophonic textures that constantly grow and evolve to unexpected places. 

About the title: Since 2012, I have composed series of pieces, which have “Plastico” or “Plasticamente” (“Plastic” (adj.) or “Plastically”) in their title. When I was composing the first piece, called “Fantasia Plastico”, I was obsessed with the notion that our fantasies and desires are formed artificially through images in the movies or internet. Since then, the concept has evolved and now it’s more focused on music.

In “Crescita Plastica” or “plastic growth”, “plastic” refers to the artificiality of seemingly organic feature of the pieces: the expansion of the material throughout the piece.

What are you most excited for this spring?

I’m working on a piece for chamber ensemble and video! It’s going to be performed on April 25 at the DiMenna Center as part of Columbia Composers concert. I’m really excited about my first experience with writing for ensemble and video.

What is your favorite and/or least favorite thing about writing for the violin/viola combo?

Favorite: You have a really rich hyper­instrument. It gives you homogenous timbers while instantly it could be divided into two instrument with whole different characters. It’s a really versatile combination.

Least favorite: Well, I think sometimes you forget that you are not writing for two violins and you are writing for violin and viola!! You’ll hear some of these moments in my piece!

SNACKS! Give us some fresh ideas. What are you snacking on these days?

This is the tough one. There are so many awesome snacks! My favorite one these days is a fresh baguette with cream cheese and honey! I know.. it’s not healthy.. but it’s good! and never forget grapefruits with a bit of salt!

Tell us something we don't know (about you, about your music, or about the world in general).

I just discovered owls make literally no sound when they fly! it’s absolutely amazing! there is a video you should watch.. it’s breathtaking!­WigEGNnuTE


Want to hear some of Ashkan's music? Visit his Soundcloud!