Ramin Roshandel

Ramin Roshandel, PhD student, music composition

Makes multi-disciplinary art public

“In Ramin’s educational studies, he exemplifies the bold ‘dare to discover’ approach that makes for the very best graduate students and researchers.” – Jon Winet, professor emeritus, School of Art and Art History

Shahrekord, Iran

Faculty mentor/advisor:
  David Gompper, DMA, composition professor, School of Music, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in music composition, May 2024

Please describe your research:
My research is composing a musical piece that creates a series of new modal and interval-based structures derived from Persian Radif. An outcome of this research is writing these musical intervals precisely for Western Classical instruments to create musical atmospheres that contrast with non-modal sections throughout the piece. Another aspect of my research is implementing music in inter- and cross-disciplinary projects. The Parking Spaces is an expanded version of a shorter 2020 version titled ‘The Parking Space Project’; the 2021 version (co-curated by Stephanie Miracle, Steven Willis, and me) invites the audience to listen to a series of sound files made specifically for spots in downtown Iowa City by a wide range of local artists.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
Besides thinking of this composition as an invitation for Western ears to listen to the musical materials that they might not have the chance to listen to (Persian music in this case), I hope this piece develops the composition techniques for writing for an orchestra in general, and its sonic/timbral capabilities in particular.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
I continued my research right after starting at The University of Iowa. My research has been an ongoing one and Iowa allowed me to participate in multiple collaborative projects that served my research purposes and also met my collaborators’ needs.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
Conducting my research and including its outcome in my projects has allowed me to not only get involved in many collaborative projects with the Iowa community (professors and graduate students in music, dance, cinematic arts, and intermedia), but it has also helped me and my collaborators get national and international attention in many conferences and festivals.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I am planning to do what I had already started before starting my PhD, which was staying in academia as a professor while working on my research as a composer and musician. I find teaching art (educating musicians in my case) the most beneficial way to bridge the gaps that we tangibly feel in the world these days; I strive to make an impact by inviting my students to take active steps toward changes that will serve ‘good’.

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