I want to sing like the birds sing,
not worrying about who hears or what they think.
- Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī
A live streamed pre-recorded performance of our 2019 Rumi concert project. The concert features guest Persian soloist Parsia Vahleh and speaker/film maker Parisa Soltani. Following the performance we will have a live interactive concert talk with our artists and performers, including several Rumi scholars from around the world.
Individual ticket-holders will be able to tune in live and/or on demand from the date of broadcast until May 22, 2021 (Limit 2 streams).
Season Pass holders will be able to tune in live and/or on demand from the date of broadcast until the end of our season, June 1, 2021 (Limit 2 streams per concert).
Parisa Soultani is co-producer, editor and host of One Through Love, the first cinematic multi-lingual web initiative focused on the teaching of Jalaluddin Rumi and his mentor Shams of Tabriz. With a focus on Divine Love as the central binding force of all creation, One Through Love brings together a growing, international group of knowledgeable Rumi “Lovers,” Sufi teachers, practitioners, dervishes, artists, and more for a unique journey into the heart of Rumi’s legacy. In this program, she will recite poetry from Rumi and present excerpts from her film.
Parisa Vaaleh, soloist, was born into an art loving family in Tehran. She began singing when she was a young girl and had her first stage performance when she was seven years old. Parisa has collaborated with such notable musicians as Henrik Naji, Reza Abaei, and Aldoush Alpanian. In San Francisco, Parisa performed as an opening artist at the Hebst theatre (2009), in a collaborative performance with Fared Shafinouri at the de Young museum (2010), and at the Palace of Fine Arts (2013) for International Women’s Day. Some other notable projects and performances include singing on a telematic opera by Pari Chehrehsa called “Seven Stages of Erfan” at the University of Calgary, in Canada and presenting a two-hour concert featuring a collection of her music at Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA.
Honiball Joseph, composer, is also a musician, conductor, and pianist, with thirty years of extensive international experience in art. He has organized, conducted, arranged and composed several orchestral and vocal concerts. Honiball Joseph is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gilgamesh Art & Culture Foundation. He is also the founder and directer of the Gilgamesh Philharmonic Orchestra (2016-present), Iranian Choir of America (2015-present), Beneil Music Academy (2001-2015) and Messiah Ensemble (1998-2015).
Kira Zeeman Rugen, composer, is also a conductor, singer and professor from Scottsdale, Arizona. She is the Director of Choral Activities at Arizona Christian University where her choirs have toured around Arizona and California, and recently performed with Andrea Bocelli in live concert. Previously, Kira served as a faculty member at Grand Canyon University, where she taught music history, conducting and music education courses.
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (1207-1273), one of the world’s most revered mystical poets, who produced a prolific range of inspiring and devotional poetry that encapsulates the Sufi experience of union with the divine. Although Rumi was a Sufi and a scholar of the Qu’ran, his appeal reaches across religious and social divisions.
Rumi was born on the Eastern shores of the then Persian Empire on September 30, 1207, in the city of Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan, and finally settled in the town of Konya, in what is now Turkey. Rumi’s life story is full of intrigue and high drama mixed with intense creative outbursts. Rumi was a charming, wealthy nobleman, a genius theologian, law professor and a brilliant but sober scholar, who in his late thirties met a wandering and wild man by the name of Shams. In Rumi’s own words, after meeting Shams he was transformed from a bookish, sober scholar to an impassioned seeker of universal truth and love.
Rumi and Shams stayed together for a short time, about 2 years in total, but the impact of their meeting left an everlasting impression on Rumi and his work. After Shams was extinguished by Rumi’s youngest son, Rumi fell into a deep state of grief and gradually out of that pain outpoured nearly 70,000 verses of poetry. These thousands of poems, which include about 2000 in quatrains, are collected in two epic books named, Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi and Massnavi (Massnavi, Mathnawi).
It seems that the universe brought these two opposing characters (a wealthy nobleman and a poor, wandering, wild holy man) together to remind us that it is impossible to know where your next inspiration may come from or who might aid in furthering your growth. For Rumi, life of mystics is a “gathering of lovers, where there is no high or low, smart or ignorant, and no proper schooling required.”
Rumi is one of the world’s brightest creative talents. He’s on par with Beethoven, Shakespeare and Mozart. His poetry was a vehicle through which the devoted could connect with the divine, and in so doing, the soul would be both destroyed and resurrected at once. Central to Rumi’s poetry was tawhid, the longing to reunite with a beloved, either divine or mortal. Through his verse, Rumi’s philosophy advocated for the unlimited and peaceful tolerance of all creeds, kindness, charity, and a heightened awareness through love.
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