In profile: Jamshied Sharifi ’83, Tony Award winner

While MIT could be best-known for its Nobel reward champions and MacArthur “Geniuses,” on June 10, a Tony Award had been added to the mix, because of composer Jamshied Sharifi ’83, who orchestrated the music for the record-breaking Broadway struck “The Band’s see.

Though he admits that some often see an MIT alumnus winning a Tony as “a little an oddity,” Sharifi additionally hopes that it will demonstrate “the breadth of the student human anatomy.”

“MIT folks master mathematics and science,” he observes, after just what will be the typical preconception, “but they’re often wide within their passions and abilities. Every time I come to MIT to take part in a music event I’m astonished within standard of musicianship, music cleverness, and enthusiasm.”

Sharifi credits composer David Yazbek, whom had written the rating to “The Band’s see,” with being his “overall music guru.”

“I think he blogged a score that perfectly straddles the worlds of Arabic songs and Broadway,” Sharifi claims, noting that, as orchestrator, he was responsible for arranging Yazbek’s songs for any ensemble, as he did at MIT and somewhere else.

Despite his demure mindset, Sharifi still sees why he was a good fit the project.

“As I had significant amounts of knowledge about center Eastern music,” he reasons, “it had been a all-natural fit, and also the devices found in the tv show had been and are usually intimately familiar for me.”

Nevertheless, Sharifi views it as “huge honor, both become nominated also to be chosen” and conveys appreciation the many who possess stood by and supported the show.

“Although it absolutely was obvious from nearly first that ‘The Band’s Visit’ experienced a lot of vital love,” observes, Sharifi “that doesn’t fundamentally translate into honors. Therefore, for tv show is therefore recognized, specifically for a unique, quiet, understated tv show like this one, is very nice.  For me, well, it is still pretty unreal!”

Jazzy Jayhawk

Created in Topeka, Kansas, Sharifi had been subjected while very young up to a number of intercontinental music kinds and styles, through their American-born mom and Iranian-born parent.

“we was raised in Kansas City,” Sharifi explains, citing the birthplace of these legends as Charlie Parker, amount Basie, and Pat Metheny as his hometown. “I happened to be capable of finding great teachers plus community of musicians my age who had been contemplating jazz and improvised songs.”

Sharifi began using piano lessons with his keyboard-playing mom during the age 5 and then branched out into electric guitar and drums at 9 and added flute at 10.

“She constantly encouraged me,” Sharifi states of their mom, “and in addition pressed me to learn other devices.”

His ever-expanding repertoire of devices have assisted Sharifi flourish in parts of songs industry, from creating to performing and scoring musicals and films.

From KC to MIT

As their daddy actually chemist (and also a “huge songs fan”), Sharifi was not just “jazz aware” but science mindful — and conscious, particularly, of a specific school in Massachusetts.

“MIT had been on my radar,” he recalls. “I don’t understand where we initially been aware of it, but it had been a popular place where one could get deeply into those subjects.”

Though he acknowledges to preferring songs to matriculation when he graduated from highschool, Sharifi deferred acceptance to MIT and did not enlist until he had been advised by high school buddy (and eventual fellow MIT pupil) Shlomo Vile ’83, ’84.

“Shlomo…had gone ahead,” Sharifi recalls, “and he emerged home that summer time and stated I had to go.”

Arts at Institute

While at MIT, Sharifi managed to go after their proclivities in both technology while the arts and came to see both as great strengths in the school. However, he maintains, the arts programs have actually continued to enhance since he graduated.

“The arts at MIT have become a much bigger part of university life since I was a student,” he keeps, “and i do believe presently there are numerous opportunities for pupils to locate imaginative expression than once I attended.”

During their time as a pupil, Sharifi became involved in the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble and reached know its celebrated frontrunner Herb Pomeroy.

“we came across Herb as being a freshman,” he recalls regarding the former sideman for other Sunflower State son Charlie Parker. And even though he was perhaps not admitted on ensemble until his junior year, Pomeroy had apparently seen one thing special in Sharifi. To such an extent that, upon their retirement, Pomeroy asked Sharifi to take-over as conductor of this ensemble. In this capability, Sharifi continued to write and do and aided the musical organization win top honors during the prestigious Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz event in 1991.

“I think in the future I’ve already been pretty profoundly linked to music at MIT,” Sharifi claims. He in addition thanks current MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble Director Fred Harris, whom contacted Sharifi to create a work in honor of Pomeroy’s 75th birthday celebration, for motivating the ongoing commitment; a commitment which has had seen Sharifi go back to arrange for 2017 Grammy-winner Jacob Collier and MIT musicians also to write for MIT’s Great Clarinet Summit.

“i’ve the greatest respect for him being a individual and musician,” claims Harris, phoning Sharifi “absolutely first-rate in most regard plus true consummate pro. … I’m perhaps not astonished whatsoever that he won a Tony!”

Maintaining rating

As he graduated from MIT having a level in humanities in 1983, Sharifi moved over the river toward Berklee university of musical, in which he learned jazz piano and structure. It had been at Berklee that Sharifi begun to show a pursuit in film scoring.

“I experienced constantly thought a draw to film music and also the commitment between movie and music,” Sharifi states, citing Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: an area Odyssey” as an early motivation. Performing at Berklee with such scoring movie stars as Michael Gibbs just encouraged this passion. In some short many years, Sharifi had scored three films and 15 hour-long televisions programs. Among his more notable results are those for “Muppets From Space,” the Nickelodeon film “Harriet the Spy,” “The Rugrats film,” while the 1999 remake of “The Thomas Crown Affair.” This experience additionally allowed Sharifi to meet various other collaborators, in the course of time leading him to the staff that scored “The Band’s Visit.”

“My dear buddy and frequent collaborator Rob Mathes ended up being the songs director of Sting’s ‘The Last Ship,’” Sharifi explains, remembering what sort of scheduling concern encouraged Mathes to call him for assistance. “On that demonstrate I found Dean Sharenow, who … is really a longtime buddy of ‘Band’ music manager David Yazbek, and he suggested me personally being an orchestrator.”

Spring “Awakening”

While their Berklee knowledge highlighted their love for Jazz, Sharifi’s Middle Eastern affects continued to shine through, offering his scores a distinctive sound and experience; one that’s enhanced by technological advances he developed at MIT, including a breath-controlled pitch bender on their synthesizer allowing Sharifi to try out it such as an acoustic instrument.

“used to do many listening and transcription of early — nearly a hundred years old — Arabic tracks,” Sharifi recalls. “This generated a couple of initial tunes that we drew on.”

The center Eastern affects on Sharifi’s life and songs stumbled on fullest fruition in 2013, as he ended up being asked by MIT Wind Ensemble musical Director Fred Harris to create songs in regards to the Arab springtime for the concert that has been filmed by MIT Video Productions and transmitted by Boston’s PBS affiliate WGBH. The documentary about Sharifi’s composition, “Awakening: inducing the Arab Spring Through musical,” won a brand new England Emmy Award.

“It was a terrific synergistic collaboration between the carrying out arts and media arts at MIT,” noted MIT Video manufacturing Senior Director Lawrence Gallagher.

While the awards continue to put set for “Band,” Sharifi has already been focusing on the orchestrations for music version of “Monsoon Wedding” by Mira Nair (which, Sharifi notes, examined film at MIT while attending another college along the lake) and making files for Pharaoh’s Daughter and Mirabai Ceiba.

“I’m [also] wanting to match my children Kai and Layla,” he states.