Frédéric Lambert and Ali Kian Yazdanfar are thrilled to present Iridescence, their first record on Leaf Music set to be released on June 23, 2023. Recorded at Le Domaine forget de Charlevoix in Saint-Irénée, Québec, Iridescence is an opportunity to not only consider colours and details often hidden from view, but also to imagine how a change in perspective can lead to striking flashes of brilliance. Opening a window onto a world of prismatic possibility and potential, violist Frédéric Lambert and double bassist Ali Kian Yazdanfar lead the listener through five works that extend across genre and form, creating a listening experience that is as varied as it is reflective.
The first piece, “Fisherstreet Duo”, was written by Evan Chambers as an homage to the tiny village of Doolin, Ireland, which is now a hub for lovers of traditional music from all over the world. “Thème varié” (1976), by Jean Françaix, is a virtuosic showpiece, intended to display the full tonal and technical range of the double bass. “Duo for Viola and Double Bass” (2010), by Gareth Wood introduces a personal dimension to the album. The piece was written expressly for Ali Kian Yazdanfar, and is intended as an arena in which the two performers can demonstrate their chemistry together. In manus tuas is based on a sixteenth-century motet by Thomas Tallis. While there are only a few slices of the piece that reflect exact harmonic changes in Tallis’s setting, the motion (or lack thereof) is intended to capture the sensation of a single moment of hearing the motet in the particular and remarkable space of Christ Church in New Haven, Connecticut. The final piece, Escenas del Sur (2008), by Efraín Oscher, is a tribute to the survivors of the dictators that ruled over 1960s South America.
Speaking on the inspiration for the album, the duo says, “Iridescence is a chance for the public to consider the viola and double bass in a new light. The rich and textured sound of each of these two instruments is perfectly suited to each other, and the character and sonority give a different perspective which colours the emotions evoked in the listener.”
“As Iridescence exhibits a large range of contrasts – drama and lightheartedness, tension and bliss, tradition and modernity, we believe the unique choice of pieces holds a special relevance to the listeners of today. Our goal has always been that Iridescence might enrich the lives of those listening. Whether through the hint of new perspectives and possibilities, a reminder of previous times, or just a thorough appreciation of the present, we hope this recording can foster a greater awareness and understanding of ourselves and the world around us.”
One of the most prominent double bassists of his generation, Ali Kian Yazdanfar maintains an active career not only as principal double bass of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, but also as a soloist, chamber musician, and pedagogue. Although he started playing the bass at seven years old, he didn’t take the usual music-school route to becoming a professional. In fact, his science and mathematics background led to a physics degree from Johns Hopkins University, and, directly upon graduating, he won his first audition to become a member of the Houston Symphony. He went on to win his next three auditions, for the National Symphony in Washington, D.C., for principal bass with the San Francisco Symphony, and for principal bass with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, where he currently plays.
Taking inspiration from his Iranian roots, he has commissioned and performed many new works for solo double bass. Recent highlights include the world premiere in 2018 of a new bass concerto by Behzad Ranjbaran, as well as a 2023 program centred around three new works for double bass and piano by Iranian composers that explore the complex experiences of those with roots in multiple cultures.
Ali is also an associate professor at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, and his former students hold posts in major orchestras of Canada, the United States, and Europe. He also presents master classes during the summer at Orford Music in the Eastern Townships, Quebec. In addition, he regularly appears at or has been on the faculty of festivals such as the National Orchestral Institute, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States (NYOUSA), Le Domaine Forget, the Chautauqua Institute, and Bass Club (England). He is often invited to give master classes worldwide; some appearances include the Juilliard School, the New World Symphony, the Manhattan School of Music, the Curtis Institute, the Sydney Conservatorium, the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the University of Southern California, the Peabody Institute, and Bass Europe congresses in Prague and Copenhagen.
Frédéric Lambert has a doctorate in viola performance from McGill University, where his advisor was André Roy. His further development as a performer led him to play for masters such as Robert Vernon, James Dunham, Steven Dann, Bruno Pasquier, Régis Pasquier, and Ani Kavafian. He is regularly invited to join eminent ensembles such as Les Violons du Roy, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal. Frédéric is a founding member of the Lloyd Carr-Harris String Quartet. In 2005, the quartet triumphed at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, winning not only the Gold Medal in the Senior String Division, but also the Grand Prize. The quartet then played several concerts in France, England, Italy, the United States, Australia, and Canada.
Mr. Lambert joined the Molinari Quartet in 2007. The quartet has given itself the mandate to perform twentieth- and twenty-first-century repertoire for string quartet; to commission new works; and to initiate discussions between musicians, artists, and the public. A recipient of twenty-four Opus Prizes awarded by the Conseil québécois de la musique for musical excellence on the Quebec concert stage, the Molinari Quartet has been described by the critics as an “essential” and “prodigious” ensemble and even “Canada’s answer to the Kronos or Arditti Quartet.” The Molinari Quartet has established itself as one of Canada’s leading string quartets. Its recordings on the ATMA Classique label have received unanimous international critical acclaim, including being selected two times as Editors’ Choice in Gramophone magazine and rave reviews in The Strad, Fanfare, and Diapason, among others. Its recording of the complete György Kurtág quartets received a Diapason d’or in December 2016 and a prestigious Echo Klassik award in July 2017.
Frédéric is passionate about teaching. He is a lecturer for the Schulich School of Music at McGill University and teaches violin and viola at Université du Québec à Montréal. For more than a decade, he was a cultural columnist for Ici Radio-Canada Première, along with Catherine Perrin and Stéphan Bureau. In January 2022, he launched his podcast, La prescription avec Dr Fred Lambert, a weekly cultural program that is available on all platforms. Frédéric Lambert is the principal violist in the Orchestre Symphonique de Laval.
Frédéric Lambert and Ali Kian Yazdanfar
Release Date: June 23, 2023
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