Fahad Siadat, Composer
Sholeh Wolpé, Librettist
Kate Poppen, Costume Design
R.S. Buck, Lighting Design/Production Manager
Kirk Averitt, Company Manager
Anna Klevit, Stage Manager
Fahad Siadat, "Narrator"
Catalina Jackson-Urueña, Dancer
HEX Ensemble, soloists
Rather than using instruments for additional symphonic and timbral color as is typical for an oratorio, the a cappella choir both narratively acts as the birds on the journey as well as musically function as the ‘orchestra’ to support arias and recitatives, utilizing a collection of alternative vocal techniques not typically found in choral music. The intent with this project is to engage further with the relationship between musical principles and the ecstatic experience within Sufi religious practice, especially the experience of deindividuation, a core aspect of Sufi practice. While Sufi music has its own structures and idioms, the specific musical aspects of Sufi compositions, like rhythmic cells or harmony structures, are not in and of themselves considered sacred nor to have mystical properties that bestow on the listener an ecstatic experience.
Conference of the Birds received its soft premiere at the Garrison Theater at Scripps College on March 27, 2022, followed by a performance featuring selections from the oratorio at A Noise Within on March 28, 2022.
Conference of the Birds is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Conference of the Birds is also supported in part by Scripps Presents, the public programming series at Scripps College.
June 18 & 19, 2022
Conference of the Birds
@ The Broad Stage
1310 11th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401