COMPOSER | MULTIMEDIA ARTIST | EDUCATOR
Electric Sky Blue
for piano, movements, and interactive and immersive intermedia — 45′
Electric Sky Blue is a collaborative exploration of immersive and interactive sound, color, and movements composed by American-Iranian composer, Badie Khaleghian and written exclusively for pianist and movement artist, Caroline Owen. This piece is inspired by the transformation from birth and innocence to anxiety and struggle that eventually leads to a newfound resilience and authenticity.
for Kamancheh and Multimedia — 10′
کاشانه Kashana portrays my love for bringing together old and new, past and present. The Kamancheh, a traditional Persian instrument, narrates the sound of the past; inspired by classical Persian music dastgah- modal system, it invites the audience to my idea of Kashana, a small edifice, dwelling, house, like a bird’s nest. The shimmering high register electronics coupled with low drone sound draws a sound of the present– industrial and static. The visuals attempt to draw the same duality– it starts with an arch inspired by Persian architecture, while the shiny colors and parallel lines narrate the present. Expressing duality appears in most of my recent works, perhaps due to my dual Persian and American identity, the past and the present me. Kashana hopes to invite people into my dual world.
Before I Became Aware Of This Moving of Life
for Bari Saxophone and Interactive Multimedia
This piece resulted from a close collaboration with fantastic saxophonist Wilson Poffenberger, premiered at the Splice Institute 2022 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Wilson mentioned his love for improvisation in our initial brainstorming stages, and I could not be happier to hear that since I love organic sonic processes. I enjoyed designing a fully interactive space for him to express himself freely. The piece is full of raw emotional interpretations of the open score within a fixed structure.
for Clarinet and Vibraphone –8′
Beyond Grey is three different perceptions of artwork by Mike Osborne, commissioned by Musiqa Houston. It was fascinating to show the image to various friends and get completely different responses on what they saw and what words or emotions were attached to their perception. Therefore, I tried to “read” the image in three ways. For Artificial, I wrote a simple algorithm to read the image from left to right in two minutes and translated the whiteness and blackness to the different dynamic ratios of overtones. Then I used the algorithmic product to design the formal structure, pitch content, and gestural organization. I perceive the image as lines, edges, and surfaces for the Literal Lines. I mapped any musical gestures I could find on each surface and translated them musically. In this movement, I tried to share my own perception with performers by giving them some freedom by incorporating a graphics score. The Window is my semantic perception of the image -as a window. I associated my imagination about the image with looking at it as a whole and what emotions and stories come from it. I am grateful to Musiqa for giving me the opportunity to write this piece.
for Alto Saxophone and Chamber orchestra — 18’
Debilitator is another product of close collaboration between saxophonist, Dan Phipps, psychologist, Cortland Hyatt, and I. This piece is an intimate journey of a person who suffers from loneliness. The idea of this piece emerged from a conversation with Dan, regarding his recent intellectual explorations about “loneliness in modern society”. In order to understand the concept better and get first-hand knowledge on the topic, we met with psychologist Cortland Hyatt who connected us with another expert in Germany, Susanne Bücker, whose research focuses on this topic. After 2 months of learning, conversing, and trading ideas, I started writing the piece about different stages of loneliness and using a very short motivic cell  to represent loneliness as a character. The first movement, Shock-Pain-Guilt-Anger, is about facing loneliness in day-to-day life and ignoring it, which causes different negative feelings. The obvious pulse in this movement represents daily life. The second movement, Sinking into the Sludge, borrows its title from one of Courtland’s patients expressions of how they feel facing loneliness and avoiding socialization. The downward glissando gestures in the strings represent the downward feelings, and the the unsuccessful upward motion in the soloist represents unsuccessful hard work in order to get out of this downward pattern. The end of the second movement is a seven-note descending gesture in which the saxophone randomly substitutes a pitch with a key click until only key clicks remain. The 3rd movement, Introspection, is an intimate movement for solo saxophone. The graphic score for this movement is derived from a fixed media track that is made from YouTube videos of people talking about their loneliness. The fixed media track is available for the performer to rehearse with; however, it is not necessary for the performer to listen to it at the performance. The end of the third movement is a retrograde of the section where pitches are substituted with keyclicks that were introduced at the end of the second movement. This time, this gesture ascends and accelerates into the fourth movement, The Turn. The 4th movement expands the upward motion, and the  cell mutates and becomes a major-major seventh chord (m. 71) which contains the same  cell, voiced on top of the chord. This mutation, along with long notes in string and humming by string players, provokes a brighter and lighter texture that contains the  cell but sounds brighter and clearer.
for violin, viola, and piano — 11’
Collective Identity is the 2nd piece of Naturalization cycle. This piece expresses my feelings and confusion about the process of being an Iranian- American and how the immigration process and cultural shock affect my life as a composer and social activist. Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to foreigners, and I started this process in 2018. I always thought Naturalization would be just some paperwork, and citizenship or passport has nothing to do with who I am as a person!. I am going through a very confusing period; I cannot define my identity. The best way to express my confusion about the whole process of being “American” is by writing several pieces about it. This trio focuses on my collective identity, and how my Iranian side incorporates with my new American side, and how my Iranian background dominates my musical language. Sonic Apracity and Clare Longendyke premiered this piece at Chiesa della Maddalena, Alba, Italy, during Alba Music Festival Wet Ink Concert.
Tahirih The Pure
Tahirih the Pure, is a 15-minute piece for solo piano and live painting that illuminates the life of the titular heroine, who was a Middle Eastern poet, philosopher, theologian, and women’s rights activist. The work narrates Tahirih’s rejection of traditional religious ideologies for her more progressive ideals; this ultimately culminated in her radically heroic decision to unveil her hijab before an assemblage of men at a conference––a move that resulted in her execution. The title of our proposed project,
Painting by Kyle Sharkey
for Piano, Fixed Media, and Video — 13’
Life Suite is the narration of the identity formation process based on identity process theory. Identity process theory proposes “adjustment to aging can be conceptualized as involving the three processes—identity assimilation (maintaining self-consistency), identity accommodation (making changes in the self), and identity balance (maintaining a sense of self but changing when necessary).” This project is a product of close collaboration between pianist, Caroline Owen, and I which started in 2017. Caroline told me about her background in dance and her interest in a project involving piano and live dance. After a year of talking, thinking, and researching, I decided to write a piece that combines both of Caroline’s passions.
Apaci: A Refugee Story
Apaci: A Refugee Story is about Basir Khamooshi, his wife, Noura, and their young daughter, Nila, who have been stuck in Turkey as religious refugees, and cannot come to US to join the rest of their family due to the recently imposed Muslim ban, even though they are Baha’i and they left Iran as a consequence of religious persecution by Iranian government. Basir used to be a professional classical cello performer in Iran, but now he works in a wood factory in wood cutting. This documentary is produced to share their story as an example and change the idea of refugees being a treat. We expect to open a new conversation about immigration, refugees, and refugee rights.