In 2019, the Palais Lascaris received a donation of 21 non-European instruments from the musician Zia Mirabdolbaghi.
This donation completes the collection of musical instruments kept at the Palais Lascaris, considered the second largest public collection in France, with more than 400 instruments, mainly constituted by the precious bequest of Antoine Gautier (1904).
It is now possible to discover at the Palais Lascaris not only the beautiful baroque instruments presented in the permanent spaces, including a group of instruments from Eastern Asia and Africa, but also 21 instruments from this recent donation, testimonies of civilizations several thousand years old.
These instruments all belong to the geographical and cultural area of Western Asia (from Anatolia to India). Several of them come from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and India. The collector's aim was to make them sound, to show the playing positions, the stamps, the chords, to show the materials and to talk about their sophistication over time and their evolution as functional instruments. They are therefore all in playable condition.
The donor, Zia Mirabdolbaghi
A musician and honorary professor at the Conservatoire de Nice from 1987 to 2013, Zia Mirabdolbaghi acquired a series of instruments during numerous trips to different countries from the 1980s onwards, in connection with the field of his research and his thesis centred on a comparative study of organology (partly published in 1999 in Washington, United States). This long period of musical and pedagogical experience was rewarded with the insignia of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture in 2010.
These instruments have been studied through an abundant musical iconography; Zia Mirabolbaghi has practised playing several of them in order to elaborate an argument based on both a theoretical approach and practical experience. He has also participated in numerous festivals and concerts as a guest musician, most recently as a scientific advisor for the exhibition "Rain Stick, Moon Drum" in 2016 at the Palais Lascaris.
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