Parisa Sabet (b. 1980, Iran) is an Iranian composer based in Canada.
Dr. Sabet adventure with music began at age nine with piano lessons in Shiraz. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree in composition at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University and her master's degree in composition at the University of Toronto. She studied composition with Keith Tedman, Kyong Mee Choi, Ka Nin Chan, and Stacy Garrop. She has completed her DMA in composition at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Christos Hatzis.
Dr. Sabet writes music that is commissioned and performed internationally. Her distinctive musical language springs from her Iranian roots, Western education, and passion for socially engaged arts. Interweaving sounds both recognizable and new, her compositions evoke emotions, conjure images, and relate stories, often about pressing social issues. A Cup of Sin, for instance, scored for soprano and electric guitar quartet, examines violence against women.
Recent premieres of her music have taken place in her adopted home of Toronto as well as in Seattle, Sydney and Chicago. Among her recognition in 2020, Sabet was recipient of the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award and was selected by the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes to compose an opera in collaboration with librettist, Nika Khanjani; productions are planned for 2021 in Canada. In 2015, she was awarded the Ann H. Atkinson prize for her poignant piece, Visiting Grandpa. Her song cycle, Dance in Your Blood, won the 2014 Violet Archer Composer’s Prize.
Through her socially engaged arts initiatives, Sabet strives to foster harmony among diverse people. In 2019 in Toronto, her production titled The Dawn Initiative presented world premieres of music by an international lineup of composers, who crafted pieces to inspire social unity. Previously, as co-artistic director of the Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative, also in Toronto, she produced new-music concerts that featured compositions by herself and two Israeli composers.
Her compositions for film enrich multiple internationally screened documentaries that probe Persian history and Iranian government persecution. Titles include From Baku to Belmont (2015) and Layegheh (2016).
As a scholar, she focuses on Persian culture and the synthesis of Western and Persian musical languages. In 2013, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada supported her study of a Persian folk dance now banned in Iran but that is secretly performed; her orchestral composition, Those Still Dancing, arose from her findings.
Sabet also embraces roles as a cultural leader. She serves as a member of the board of directors of the Aurora Cultural Centre in suburban Toronto and uses her audio production skills to produce Farsi-language radio programs the Persian Baha’i Media Service in Washington DC.
Works for Winds
- Nawruz (2011)
- The Horizon Leans Forward…, compiled and edited by Erik Kar Jun Leung, GIA Publications, 2021, p. 457.
- Parisa Sabet, personal correspondence, March 2021
- Parisa Sabet website Accessed 15 March 2021