"Highly original, demanding, obsessive work." (Fred Lerdahl, composer)
"An outstanding pianist." (Alireza Mashayekhi, composer)
"...such speed, agility, range of motion both spatially and dynamically—stamina and to spare. It felt as though I was listening to a reincarnation of Liszt in this 80 minute improvisation." (Nancy Garniez, pianist)
"Grand, tectonic, torrential as the forces of nature unleashed, yet fully under control." (Nader Ardalan, architect)
Ramin Amir Arjomand is an Iranian-American composer, pianist, conductor, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. His music thrives on a complex opposition of creative impulses, pushing the limits of spontaneous musical thinking in improvised performance while simultaneously, and equally intensely, seeking therein a compositional unity characteristic of fully-notated music. His playing draws as much on a 19th-century European approach to piano resonance as it does on the unfettered sensibility of American avant-garde jazz, testing limits of virtuosity and sound intensity in a musical journey difficult to characterize but uniquely memorable. Beneath the sound surface lies a musical ethos that can only be described as distinctly Iranian.
While a doctoral fellow at Columbia University, Arjomand was the director and conductor of the University's early music choir, Collegium Musicum. During this time he began to research the polyphonic technique of 15th-century Flemish composers, whose music became the main focus of his concert repertoire with the Collegium. His doctoral dissertation essay, "On Contrapuntal Practice", is based largely on his research into this music. His interest in vocal music and in speech as music has led to a wide variety of concert, electroacoustic and music theater works that experiment with the human voice in different ways. His work Alma Redemptoris mater for 12-part a cappella choir was awarded First Prize in the New York Virtuoso Singers Choral Composition Competition and was premiered in New York City with Harold Rosenbaum conducting.
Arjomand has worked extensively as a composer, pianist, lecturer, and musical adviser with the Barnard College Department of Dance. His approach to dance theater composition emphasizes contrapuntal relationships between sound and movement. He has worked to develop collaborative models in which composer and choreographer can trust one another to work freely and independently toward a common goal. His collaboration with choreographer Laveen Naidu, Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, daybreak, was commissioned by the Barnard Dance Department and presented in Miller Theatre in New York City.
Arjomand is the recipient of awards from New York Foundation for the Arts, the Alice M. Ditson Fund, and the FACE Foundation. His music has been presented by ensembles and soloists in venues throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. A highly sought-after teacher, he is currently on the faculty at Columbia University and the Steinhardt School at New York University.
Listen to an interview with Ramin Amir Arjomand on The Earfull, where he discusses his early life in Tehran, the secrets of counterpoint, and truth and trust in performance.