Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei | Denton, Texas

Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei (دانیال رضا سبزقبایی) is a creator who aims to emphasize the malleability of time and how we experience it, not just in the concert hall but in everyday life as well. His work has been presented and commissioned by organizations including: Intimacy of Creativity Festival, the International Contemporary Ensemble, National Sawdust, JACK Quartet, Guerilla Opera, the Banff Centre, OPERA America, Beth Morrison Projects, the New York Festival of Song, TAK Ensemble, the Moab Music Festival, [Switch~] Ensemble, Pro Coro Canada, The Esoterics, Unheard-of//Ensemble, Young New Yorkers Chorus, Contemporaneous, VocalEssence, Thailand New Music and Arts Symposium, Israeli Chamber Project, ICon Arts Festival, and the Busan Choral Festival to name a few. Daniel’s recent research has focused on time and form within Persian moosiqi sonati. He holds degrees from the University of North Texas and the Peabody Conservatory. Daniel is currently a doctoral candidate and Sage Fellow at Cornell University.

Lonely Lullabies

Lonely Lullabies is a work for various voices, instruments, objects, and recorded sounds which acts as an amalgamation of reflections on sleep, the importance of lullabies to individuals and communities, the thoughts that run through our heads before bed, and the sounds associated with the pilgrimage to slumber. Forming this sleep theater are personalized lullabies for each collaborator, created through various interviews and discussions between myself and various artists in the Banff Centre’s 2020-21 Opera in the 21st Century Program. These new lullabies reflect on each artist’s relationship to sleep, sounds that accompany their bedtime rituals, and songs and sounds close to each collaborator. Sewing this (in)somnial quilt together are vignettes relating to each collaborator’s sleep and lullaby relationship—creating a frame for each lullaby—while also providing a continuous thread which runs through each song.

Over the course of time, when each song is completed, a separate video will be released, encapsulating that lullaby: a book of dreamscapes.

Through this set of separate, intimate, tailored lullabies, I hope to investigate sleep states and spaces that connect us, the importance of lullabies for multiple cultures and peoples, the nostalgia associated with these lullabies, and the need for comfort surrounding the space of sleep. The collected songs will form a set which may be extractable—songs for yourself before bed—or can be performed together: a quilt connected by sleep, dreams, (dis)comfort, and the importance (and ubiquity) of lullabies—a salve for a lonely year.

This program created a space for growth, shared experience, and understanding in a year which was especially challenging for those of us in the performing arts: a much needed outlet for all of us. It was a treat getting to meet and know a varied and distinguished group of participants, faculty, and guests throughout the course of the last year. As my project is directly dependent on my relationship with various participants, it simply could not have happened without the support of the Banff Centre, and I am thankful for their support during a time when we all thirsted for connection amongst closed theaters and isolation. I cannot wait to see each piece of my project come to fruition over the next months, and I'm most excited to see how each lullaby influences another, as each collaborator influences me.

Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei

See more of Daniel Reza Sabzghabaei's work here