JAVID AFSARI RAD is one of the most distinguished instrumentalists of the persian santur. He was born in Isfahan - central Iran (1965) and he learned to play the Santur from Saeed Naeemi Manesh. Later Javid was introduced to radif, the Persian classical music repertoire, by i.e.; the masters Parviz Meshkatian and Faramarz Payvar. Studies led Javid to Norway and he graduated from the University of Oslo in the field of Musicology.
Javid has participated in, as well as directed, many international musical collaboration projects and he has made a career both as composer and Santur player. In 2010, Jazzland Recordings released his first solo album: ”Afarinesh” (“Creation”). The album contains pieces from the Persian classical music repertoire and some of his own compositions; influenced by melodic motives and sound scapes of the east and west.
In a review from a concert at Théâtre des Abbesses à Paris (2013) it was stated:
”The mastery of Javid Afsari Rad is equally rich to the maze of radif. He struck the hundred strings of his santur with princely elegance and silky delicacy. The musical dialogue between the daf and the santur instruments, which he established with Bhenam Samani, is unmatched” (Le Monde – 14.01.2013).
As a musician and composer Javid is highly inspired by the work of Rumi: A legendary Sufi mystic and poet of the thirteenth century Persia. The compositions of Javid honours and conveys the great vital energy that seeps out of Rumi´s enchanting poetry. In 2007 he received the Norwegian KORK award for his commissioned work with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK). The price is granted innovative and outstanding contributors to orchestra music. The jury justified their choice by making the following statement:
“The collaboration with composer and musician Javid Afsari Rad was one of the strongest experiences of the year for KORK… with dancing rhythms and quarter tones, the orchestra felt transported to Iran, and found itself among Persian ornaments and Sufi poetical praises of love.”
The RUMI ENSEMBLE formed in 2007 and consists of a classical string quartet and musicians of Persian traditional music instruments. The ensemble performs compositions by Javid Afsari Rad with lyrics by Rumiand has made several concerts, i.e. at the: Troppen Theater and Bimhuis in Amsterdam, De Centerale in Gent, Sarg Fabrik in Wien, Teatro Infanta Isabel in Madrid and the Gloria Teater in Köln.
The Rumi Ensemble has through the years collaborated with many distinguished artists, of whom to be
singled out: Beritt Cardas, Salar Aghili, Alireza Ghorbani and Mohammad Motamedi. Their record: “In the Footprints of Rumi”, released by Ta:lik (2012), received critical acclaim and was selected for the; “Top of the world album” of the month – in the 2012-12/11 issue of Songlines (UK).
Violinist SARA ÖVINGE, born in the Swedish city of Norrköping (1988), is considered one of Scandinavia’s most talented young musicians of today. She started taking violin lessons at the age of four, and in the autumn of 2010 she embarked on her Artist Diploma in Performance at the Royal College of Music in London.
Sara Övinge has appeared as soloist in various European countries and has received numerous grants, awards and prizes. She has considerable experience as soloist with orchestras such as; the Nordic Youth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Norwegian Navy’s Band, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
TOVE MARGRETHE ERIKSTAD (1983) is a Norwegian freelance cellist, based in Oslo. She has studied under supervision of Prof. Truls Mørk, and graduated from Norwegian Music Academy in 2009. Tove collaborates with several contemporary ensembles as well as known orchestras such as; the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and the Norwegian Opera Orchestra. She is also participating in different chamberorchestras, chamberprojects and theaters/musicals.
HARPREET BANSAL (Oslo 1980) was trained in Indian classical music from early childhood by her father, Harbhajan S. Bansal. She also trained in Western classical music, and entered the Norwegian Academy of Music (NAM) in 1999.
After graduating in 2003, Harpreet became a student of the prominent sitar player Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwalas and also took numerous lessons with Dr. L. Subramaniam, today´s premier Indian violinist. In 2011 she finished her Master’s Degree in Performance and Research at NAM.
In 2008, Harpreet formed the Bansal Trio, who has since toured extensively for Concerts Norway under the name Raga Bansal. In 2013, the five-piece Bansal band was formed based on the trio. The Bansal Trio will be releasing its first CD, Chandra, on Jazzland Records in April 2015.
HABIB MEFTAH BOUSHEHRI was born in Bushehr, southern Iran (1978). At the age of ten he started to play the dammam; a
traditional percussion instrument with double-sided wood sage and goat skin, and the traditional flute. He became a member of the Shanbehzadeh Ensemble. The ensemble has made many concerts in Europe. In 2001 he was invited to perform at the contemporary dance show La Babelle heureuse by the French company Montalvo-Hervieu. During the next years in France, Habib worked with Algerian and Armenian Ensembles and jazz musicians. In 2004 he was back in Iran and produced his first solo album, Dey Zangeroo. Now based in Paris, Habib is preparing the release of a new CD with music for; oud and percussion, in collaboration with the Iranian musician Shahram Gholami.
BENDIK FOSS was born in Trondheim in 1978. He finished his studies with professor Lars A. Tomter at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2001, and joined the viola section in Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002. In 2010 he was appointed viola player in the Cikada Ensemble, which since has been his main base. He left the OPO in 2011 in order to devote more time to playing in smaller constellations. Foss is a member of the Oslo Sinfonietta, the Rumi Ensemble, Ensemble Ernst and Polygon Ensemble. Other employers include the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Oslo Camerata, the BodøSinfonietta, MusikkiNordland
etc. During the last 10 years he has frequently appeared as guest leader with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Trondheim Soloists, the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra a.o. As a chamber musician he has performed at most major Norwegian Festivals, and several abroad. As a soloist he has commissioned, premiered and recorded pieces by composers such as John Øyvind Ness, Mark Adderley and Øyvind Torvund.