Mani Mirzaee is an Iranian-American composer, educator, pianist, setar and tar performer. His music often explores the seams and boundaries between the Eastern and Western traditions by juxtaposing the different ways modalities and timbres can overlap in creating new and interesting colors and harmonic amalgams.
His experience of living in Iran for the first 14 years of his life, then immigrating and growing up in the USA, has given him an invaluable perspective towards the way he approaches his compositions. The diversity of these two musical languages and the order in which he attained them, provided a unique framework of juxtaposition and blend in the way he consolidates his dual cultural musical identity.
Two of his recent works have explored the timbres created with the santoor ( hammer dulcimer) mallet's on Western instruments. In Weight of Shadows the mallets are used on violin and viola to create radically new sonorities, while Death Toll expands on the idea in a piano quartet setting.
Mani frequently performs his own works. These performances have ranged from free improvisations led by Robert Black to chamber orchestras performance with setar and piano. Some of his recent commissions include the Mivos String Quartet , Avery Ensemble, AMF orchestra, FITD Ensemble, Miller-Porfiris Duo and Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Mani received his M.M. in Composition at The Hartt School, where he has also received his GPD under the tutelage of Robert Carl, Ken Steen, David Macbride, and Larry Alan Smith. His recent awards include the talent scholarships from The Hartt School, Adele Wise, Moshe Paranov, Stephen J. Fisher and Richard Kountz Funds.