The Masnavi Duo مثنوى is a dialogue between two instruments – the kamancheh and the piano – and between two musical traditions – classical Persian music and jazz. In this dialogue, each instrument preserves its authenticity and specific character: the kamancheh (the traditional Iranian violin) draws on the classical Persian “Radif” repertoire and maintains the subtle and varied use of microtones, while the performance of the piano is inspired by the rich harmonic language and creativity of jazz. Combining seemingly the incompatible, the Masnavi Duo creates something excitingly new: ancient Persian melodies are illuminated and transformed by Western harmonies and the lively sound of the piano is infused and deepened with the spiritual energy of the kamancheh. This is something literally unheard of. The dialogue of (music) cultures not only brings forth a new and emotional listening experience, but opens the apertures for poetic, spiritual and philosophical encounters between the East and the West.
Jazz Pianist & Composer
Born in Berlin in 1979, Daniel Stawinski began his musical education at age 6 with classical piano. Some years later he started playing jazz under the guidance of Alexander von Schlippenbach and Aki Takase, two of Germany’s main free jazz pianists. As a teenager he was an active member of Berlin’s jazz scene, hanging out and playing in the nightly jam sessions in underground Berlin. From 2001 till 2005 he studied jazz piano at the Musikhochschule Hanns Eisler and joined the Bujazzo (German Youth Jazz Orchestra) directed by Peter Herbolzheimer.
After finishing his studies at the Conservatory, Daniel Stawinski decided to live in Paris, looking for new challenges and perspectives. He was attracted in particular by the strong presence of Latin-American and African music in the French capital. From 2005 to 2015 he has been working in France as well as in neighbouring countries (Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Great Britain, Netherlands…) within a musical spectrum going from jazz to Latin-American music, as well as related styles like African or popular Afro-American music.
Since 2015 Daniel Stawinski lives again in Berlin and has initiated several new projects: among them the "Kammerjazz Kollektiv", an ensemble between jazz, classical and latin-american music comprising three strings and piano as well as the "Cuban Heartbeat Orchestra", a Latin jazz Sextet performing regularly at Berlin's Zigzag Jazz Club. He has also engaged for several years in a profound study of persian music and the setar, a traditional Iranian instrument. Masnavi Duo is the expression of these musical influences uniting into a new universal sound.
Daniel Stawinski has been performing in numerous countries around the globe (Norway, Italy, Spain, Lithuaina, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, Tunisia, Senegal, Brazil, Haiti, India, Nepal…) and in renowned jazz festivals such as Klavier Festival Ruhr 2003, Montreux Jazz Festival 2005, Marciac Jazz Festival 2009, Kathmandu Jazz Festival 2013, Movimentos Arts Festival 2014, Umbria Jazz Festival 2014, Cully Jazz Festival 2015, Schaffhauser Jazzfestival 2015, Marseille Jazz des 5 Continents 2015, Martinique Jazz Festival 2015, Jazz Festival de Port-au-Prince 2017, Jazz Festival de Saint-Louis 2017, Lviv Alfa Jazz Fest 2017, Red Sea Festival Eilat… His Latin Jazz Project Clave Azul obtained first prize in the 2005 edition of the Berlin Jazz&Blues Award.
Alireza Mehdizadeh is an Iranian classical musician and kamancheh instrumentalist and was born in 1980 in Tehran. When he was 12, he started to play the violin and was instructed by his first teacher Manouchehr Veysanlou. Alireza has been playing the kamancheh since 2002 and has a BA degree in Classical Persian music (Dastgah modal system) from the Sooreh University of Arts of Tehran (2006). He has also received instruction from various masters of Classical Persian Music, such as Samer Habibi, Aliakbar Shekarchi, Saeed Farajpuri and Ardeshir Kamkar. In 2006 Alireza joined the Homay & Mastan ensemble and has performed more than hundred concerts with them at notable and sizable venues in Iran, North America, Europe and Australia. Next to being a permanent member of the Mastan ensemble, Alireza has also made numerous recording and done live performances in close collaboration with various musicians and ensembles including Chang, Mahtab-rou and Soroushan. In addition to playing, performing and recording, Alireza is also an experienced music and Kamancheh teacher as he has been teaching music and the kamancheh for over seven years as a private tutor and as an instructor at various institutes, such as the IranZamin Music School.