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Musical Ruminations

The poetry of Rumi is still as beautifully mysterious today as it was 800 years ago. The provocative, evocative Sufi master speaks in riddles spun from breathtaking imagery and profound observation, and one can only admire any musician courageous enough to attempt to translate the powerful complexity of his words into music. Persian musician/composer Hafez Nazeri has taken on that challenge, and the result is the acclaimed Rumi Symphony Project, a celebration of the 800th anniversary of Rumi. “I have an unstoppable personal quest to quiet the tensions of our times through music,” Nazeri explains. “I am the voice of a free and borderless generation.” Co-sponsored by National Geographic Live!, the project kicks off with the world premiere of Cycle Number One, a program of original Nazeri compositions that blends Persian music with Western classical, American jazz, Indian ragas and African rhythms, and which has been praised by The New York Times for an “innovative and moving sound” that reflects Rumi’s message of “love, peace and unity.” Among the performers — Persian musicians and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic — is the internationally renowned Iranian vocalist Shahram Nazeri, who just happens to be Hafez’s dad. They make a powerful combo, which in turn makes for impassioned, illuminating music. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Fri., Aug. 17, 8 p.m.; $35-$150. (213) 227-9291 or (213) 480-3232.

—Mary Beth Crain


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