Music > Persian Concert > TARA KAMANGAR BY MILAD MOLAVI
Bringing Music with a Flair
A native of California, Tara Kamangar has been taking the piano circuits by storm. She is set to play one of the most famous world halls, London’s Cadogan’s Hall on June 29th, 2007. At 24, she has an impressive roster of achievements around the world and stands to bring Persian music to the world scene through her piano.
Having placed first in several competitions while still in high school, Tara received the Paderewski Medal from the National Piano Guild, and participated in many International Piano Festivals. She has a BA in Anthropology from Harvard University, with a focus on Middle Eastern Music. While at Harvard, she continued piano with Victor Rosenbaum, Professor of Piano at the New England Conservatory, and served as President of the 300+-member Piano Society and the Persian Society. She performed in solo and chamber recitals across campus, broadcast over WHRB 95.3FM and Voice of America's Persian language service, and formed a piano-violin duo with the Concertmistress of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra. Tara also performed throughout Boston as the pianist and violinist for the “Hafez Ensemble”.
Tara is currently completing postgraduate studies in piano performance at London's Royal Academy of Music with Patsy Toh, as a recipient of the Kathleen Bayfield scholarship. We had a chance to ask her some questions:
PersianMirror: Where are you living at the moment and what is you background?
Tara Kamanger: I moved to London in order to pursue my musical career. I like the city because it is very cosmopolitan, with an exciting music scene. I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and grew up in central California. My parents were born in Iran but moved to the US permanently in 1978. At age 18 I moved to the East Coast to study anthropology at Harvard and at age 22 I moved to London to study piano performance at the Royal Academy of Music.
PM: How did you start your training in music and what does it take to stay with it?
TK: I began private lessons in piano at the age of three and violin at the age of four. I have two older brothers who were studying the piano and violin. I would sit on my mother's lap and watch their lessons, and I must have felt that I was missing out!
So I asked my parents for lessons.
Throughout high school I attended summer music festivals across the US and played violin in several orchestras. In college I took courses in composition, music theory, and ethnomusicology. It helps to start early. Although it sounds very young, three or four is actually an ideal age to begin taking lessons. It is extremely important to have a knowledgeable and caring teacher; otherwise you will pick up many bad habits. Patience and love of music are also necessary.
PM: When was your first performance?
TK: My first performance was at the age of five in Merced, California- I played a Haydn Sonatina for 150 people.
PM: What has been the best reaction to your music?
TK: Once, after a performance of Beethoven's 'Waldstein' Sonata, my great-aunt gave me a beautiful turquoise ring off her finger- that really meant a lot to me. Another great reaction was when I played for music producer David Foster last month in Malibu
, California; he asked me to perform at a fundraiser at the home of Barbra Streisand the same night.
PM: What is your goal with piano?
TK: I would like to record the beautiful piano works of Iranian composers such as Aminollah Hossein and Loris Tjeknavorian to a major CD label with wide distribution
PM: Where is your favorite place to perform and why?
TK: My favorite place to perform is the Leighton House Museum in London. It is the former studio-house of the Victorian artist, Lord Frederic Leighton. Because he traveled throughout the Middle East in the 1860s, the building is a beautiful fusion of European and Middle Eastern culture: an extensive collection of fine art, a dome from Damascus, Islamic tiles and window screens from 15th and 16th century Cairo, etc. I performed piano works by Persian composers there and I felt that the music suited the surroundings.
PM: What are some of the upcoming events?
TK: I just performed at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in London, for an audience of 700 including the Prime Minister's wife. On June 29th, I will be performing a solo concert at Cadogan Hall in London. You can book tickets at www.cadoganhall.com -- please come! In March I will premiere the Aminollah Hossein Second Piano Concerto, and performing the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the Oakland Symphony in California. In the future, I hope to spend more time on songwriting, which I currently do with my brother Arya, who is the best poet and lyricist. My music is influenced by popular French songs of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, Middle Eastern music and Latin rhythms (tango, salsa).
PM: What is your message to our PersianMirror readers?
TK: Listen to music every day; it makes life much more enjoyable!
PM: We appreciate your taking the time to do this interview with PersianMirror.
TK: Thanks so much for interviewing me.
Born In: Stanford, California
Favorite Color: Dark Blue
Favorite Drink: Sparkling water
Languages: English and Farsi, and I will be learning Greek this summer.