Past Event

Improvisation and Emotion: Ramin Amir Arjomand

August 24, 2020
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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with Youssef Amin

Iranian-American pianist Ramin Amir Arjomand performs a short-form improvisation for an audience of one (Youssef Amin, expert on cognitive psychology of music at NYU’s Center for Language, Music, and Emotion). And then they find ways to talk about the music. A surprising, forceful performance and conversation.


Conversation: Ramin Amir Arjomand and Youssef Amin (Video #1)

Improvisation by Ramin Amir Arjomand (Video #2)


Ramin Amir Arjomand is an Iranian-American composer, pianist, conductor, and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. His composition teachers include Stephen Jaffe, Gheorghe Costinescu, Fred Lerdahl, Jonathan Kramer, and Tristan Murail. His concert music has been commissioned and/or performed by Speculum Musicae, So Percussion Ensemble, the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Cassatt Quartet, TAK Ensemble, the Columbia Collegium Musicum, and numerous independent ensembles and soloists in venues throughout the United States.

As a pianist, Arjomand has performed widely as a soloist and in ensembles presenting his own works. His approach cultivates spontaneity and thrives on questioning the need for pre-conceived formal structures in composition and performance. In recent appearances, his activity has focused on total improvisation. His electroacoustic music, based in a ProTools digital editing environment, works primarily with recorded improvised sound material.

From 1999-2001, while a doctoral fellow at Columbia, Arjomand was the director and conductor of the University's early music choir, Collegium Musicum. During this time he began to research the polyphonic technique of 15th century Flemish composers, whose music became the main focus of his concert repertoire with the Collegium. His doctoral dissertation essay, "On Contrapuntal Practice," is based largely on his research into this music. His interest in vocal music and in speech as music has led to a wide variety of concert, electroacoustic and music theater works that experiment with the human voice in different ways. In 2007, his work Alma Redemptoris mater for 12-part a cappella choir was awarded First Prize in the New York Virtuoso Singers Choral Composition Competition and was premiered in New York City with Harold Rosenbaum conducting.

Arjomand completed his doctoral work in Music Composition at Columbia in 2006.

Youssef Amin is a second-year M.A. student of Psychology at New York University. He is research assistant at the Max Planck — NYU Center for Language, Music and Emotion (CLaME), and currently working on attention decoding in music using both behavioral and MEG protocols. His background in music includes a Bachelor of Music in Piano degree from Ithaca College under the tutelage of Vadim Serebryany.