Monday, August 25, 2014


Press Release:


Collaboration Highlights Women’s Contributions to World’s Music, Dance and Art

                Premiere Performances kicks off its 2014-15 concert series with a unique collaboration that celebrates women of the Middle East and their contributions to the world’s culture.

                The College of Saint Rose and the University at Albany present “Mehregan – Celebrating Women of the Middle East,” featuring music by Sepideh Raissadat, dance by Dilan Dance Company, art by Iranian artist Rozhin Dabiri and a talk by writer, teacher and editor Ava Homa.

                This fascinating display of performance and art will take place Friday, September 12, in the Kathleen McManus Picotte Recital Hall, Massry Center for the Arts, 1009 Madison Ave., Albany.  Homa will deliver her talk at 2 p.m.  Music and dance performances will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“Mehregan” is the first of a cooperative venture between Saint Rose and UAlbany’s International Department. This exciting partnership seeks to engage new audiences in the Capital Region with diverse and cutting-edge presentations of art and performance for the community’s enrichment and enjoyment. 

Tickets for the evening performances are $20 general/$10 for students and are on sale now at (no ticket required for the Ava Homa lecture).  For concert and ticket information, phone the Massry Center ticket office at 518-337-4871 or e-mail

Writer, teacher and editor Ava Homa’s ( collection of short stories, Echoes from the Other Land, was published to much acclaim and nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Conner Short Story Prize. Her writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, Literary Review of Canada, Rabble, Windsor Review, Herizons, Write Magazine and numerous other publications.  Homa teaches as a faculty member at George Brown College in Toronto. 
Persian classical vocalist and musician Sepideh Raissadat ( began her recording career at 18 with an album with Parviz Meshkatian.  She was the first female vocalist to give a solo public performance in Iran after the 1979 revolution.  As a child, she began studying Persian classical music with the famous Iranian diva Parissa and later with renowned masters Meshkatian and Mohammad-Reza Lotfi. She has performed numerous concerts in Europe and North America and has garnered many invitations from prestigious institutions, including UNESCO, the Vatican and international media such as the BBC and RAI. Currently, Raissadat is continuing her doctoral studies in ethnomusicology at the University of Toronto.

Fethi Karakecili founded Dilan Dance Company ( in 2008 to research, archive, teach and perform traditional Kurdish dance, music and folklore.  His extensive academic background as both a practitioner and a scholar of Kurdish dance and music has been vital to keeping the Kurdish dances and music pure to each of four Kurdish regions (Rojhalat, Bakur, Bashur and Rojava).  Dilan Dance Company also seeks to strengthen the dialogue between traditional folk dance forms and Western contemporary and ballet dance styles. The company premiered the world's first Kurdish ballet, “Mem u Zin,” in Toronto in 2011, receiving favorable reviews and appreciation globally. A second ballet, “The Dance of Colours: The Legend of Newroz,” premiered earlier this year in Toronto. In addition to the large-scale productions, Dilan Dance Company also tours, performs and offers workshops locally at numerous events such as Kurdish New Years, Kurdish Festival and Ontario Folk Dance Association throughout Ontario as well as in Canada and internationally.
Rozhin Dabiri has been pursuing her passion for art from her early ages. She attended Iran’s National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents school while expanding her artistic capabilities and work. At age 18, she moved to Tehran to further pursue her passion professionally.  Currently, she resides in Tehran, painting in her own studio using mixed media and acrylics.  Dabiri carries on with her creativity and leaves no trace of herself behind.  What is seen on her canvases is the awake dreams in the other side of reality.

Opened in 2008, the critically acclaimed Massry Center for the Arts features the 400-seat Kathleen McManus Picotte Recital Hall, Esther Massry Gallery, choral and instrument rehearsal rooms, teaching studios, piano labs and classrooms.  Past performing artists have included Dave Brubeck, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ramsey Lewis, Maceo Parker, Tim Reynolds, Stefon Harris, the Boston Symphony Orchestra Strings, Yuja Wang, Paula Cole and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.  The $14 million, 46,000 square-foot gem is certified LEED Gold, ranking it among the Capital Region’s most energy-efficient and Earth-friendly buildings.

The College of Saint Rose ( is a dynamic, progressive college of 4,700 students in the heart of New York’s capital city where teaching is the first priority.  With a rigorous liberal education curriculum, 70 undergraduate majors, 53 master’s degrees and 25 graduate certificates, and a mission of service to the urban community, the Saint Rose experience empowers students to improve themselves and the world around them.

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