Please note our box office phone number is currently unavailable Please email for all enquiries

08. Hafez and Persian Poetry in Song (Part One)

11 October 2020, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Presented in association with TORCH, with support from the Humanities Cultural Programme, and the Ashmolean Museum

The focus of today is on Hafez, the 14th-century Persian poet, and his reception and influence on song across the centuries. In this first event, we root ourselves in the time of Hafez himself. Dominic Brookshaw, Fellow in Persian at Wadham College, introduces Hafez and the intricate poetic form of the ghazal in which he wrote, speaking from the Persian Library in Wadham College. Francesca Leoni, Assistant Keeper and Curator of Islamic Art at the Ashmolean Museum, shows us several objects from the Museum’s collection, adding another layer to the cultural backdrop of medieval Persia. And British-Iranian composer Soosan Lolavar, Professor of Composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire, discusses Iranian musical traditions.

Interspersed throughout the event, British-Iranian soprano Soraya Mafi performs songs by Schubert (including the two dazzling Suleika songs) Schumann and Wolf. Soraya is one of today’s most exciting sopranos, described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘mercurial and sparkling’. She also performs a setting of Rumi, ‘Heart Snatcher’, by the young Iranian composer Mahdis Kashani. This Festival was supposed to include the UK premiere of a major new song cycle by Mahdis, which has now been postponed until 2021 unfortunately, so we are delighted to be able to include one of her existing works this year.

The talk and music for this event will be pre-recorded, but will be introduced live by our speakers, who will also be available to answer any questions at the end. During the event, please email any questions ( or post them on social media (#OLF2020), and we will answer as many as time allows.



[youtube url=]

  • Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)
  • Lied der Suleika (1840) Op. 25 no.9 i–early iv 1840 from Myrthen

10 October 2020 | 10:00am

Connections Across Time - A Brief History of Song

Previous Event
07. Elias Ashmole and the Ashmolean Museum
11 October 2020, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Next Event
09. Inspired by Hafez: Michael Mofidian & Jâms Coleman
11 October 2020, 3:30pm - 4:30pm

Help us with a Donation

We rely on the generosity of our supporters to help us continue to bring song to Oxford. Please consider making a donation today.

Make a Donation

Select Tickets