West meets East when guitarist Lily Afshar performsby Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
Tremolos and quarter-tones are the exotic mix in a Lily Afshar recital. She plays music by composers most of us have never heard of and creates sounds that hearken back to Sheherezade and the Arabian Nights.
St. Paul, Minn. — When Iranian born Lily Afshar was a student at Boston Conservatory, she practiced ten hours a day to achieve the status of virtuoso. After doing that, she finally found the time to re-introduce herself to an instrument from her homeland, the sehtar.
The sonic possibilities of that instrument opened up a new path for her guitar-playing and changed her recital repertoire completely. There's never a ho-hum list of composers in an Afshar recital. She plays pieces from Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkey alongside Isaac Albeniz and Joaquin Rodrigo.
Ms. Afshar stopped by Minnesota Public Radio's Maud Moon Weyerhaeuser studio to play the guitar and sehtar, as well as a new American work based on an ancient Persian song. She spoke with host Alison Young about how to create an accurate quarter-tone and what it's like to teach at Memphis University.