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Maestro Hospitalized After Concert Ban

Veteran traditional singer, Shahram Nazeri, during one of his concerts, undated.

The prominent Iranian maestro, Shahram Nazeri was hospitalized on Saturday, a day after his concert was cancelled in the city of Ghouchan in Khorasan Razavi province.

A local Prosecutor-General, Ramazan Ali Azari cancelled the licensed concert and sealed off its venue on Friday.

The concert under the banner of “Avaz-e Parsi” or Persian Song was expected to take place at Ghouchan’s labor sports arena.

“The concert was called off for its venue was not suitable and the dignity of men of arts and people of Ghouchan were not accounted for in its schedule,” Azari told the Islamic Republic’s official news website, IRNA.

However, Azari has not elaborated on why the arena was not suitable for the concert, as well as what were the legal reasons behind calling off the scheduled and officially licensed program.

Azari cancelled the concert while the city and provincial offices of Islamic Guidance Ministry had already assured that the concert will definitely go ahead as scheduled.

Furthermore, Avaz-e Parsi was long advertised and its tickets were sold off.

Shahram Nazeri during one of his concert in Isfahan, on June 2015.
Shahram Nazeri during one of his concert in Isfahan, on June 2015.

​​Many people were impatiently waiting for the concert where the maestro’s young son, Hafez, was also expected to perform along his father.

Hafez, a paragon for “like father, like son” saying, is an internationally known musician, educated in New York.

“[Hafez] Nazeri's debut album, Untold: The Rumi Symphony Project, hit number one twice on Billboard's Classical chart-- a first for an Iranian musician,” CNN reported in 2014.

Nonetheless, Hafez and Shahram Nazeri were previously banned to perform in cities of Mashhad, Neyshabour, Shandiz and Tous in Khorasan Razavi Province.

Shahram Nazeri and his son Hafez Nazeri in an interview with AFP, on August 23, 2016.
Shahram Nazeri and his son Hafez Nazeri in an interview with AFP, on August 23, 2016.

​The Supreme Leader’s representative in Khorassan Razavi, ultra conservative ayatollah Ahmad Alam al-Hoda has already explicitly declared that he is absolutely against any concert taking place anywhere in Iran, let alone in Mashhad.

Alam al-Hoda’s opposition led to cancellation of many concerts licensed by Rouhani’s ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

The anti-concert ayatollah is the father-in-law of Rouhani’s main challenger in last May presidential election, Ebrahim Raeisi.

On May 17, two days before the voting, Rouhani indirectly addressed Raeisi and his father-in-law and lambasted them by saying’ “You told people to get out of Mashhad, if they wanted art[s]. Now, you want to take over all of Iran and tell people to leave the whole country?”

According to the Islamic Republic law, male musicians are free to perform in public concerts licensed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance all over Iran.

Nevertheless, a number of Friday prayer leaders and the Supreme Leader’s representatives, ignoring the licenses issued by the government, have decided to prevent concerts taking place in their domains.

Recently, the Supreme Leader’s representative and Friday prayer leader of Isfahan, ayatollah Yousef Tabatabaeinejad declared that “75% of the people of Isfahan do not need concerts.”

So far, Rouhani’s administration has not shown any willingness to resist these ultra conservative ayatollahs who openly ignore licenses issued by the government.