Yalda Zamani is a conductor, researcher, and performer based in Germany, interested in transdisciplinary approaches in contemporary music performance, computational creativity, live coding and the application of machine learning models in combination with motion-sensing technologies.
As a passionate advocate for contemporary music and conductor, she collaborates regularly with composers around the world, and has worked directly with several conductors and composers such as Salvatore Sciarrino, Helmut Lachenmann, Susanna Mälkki, Peter Eötvös, Bas Wiegers, Beat Furrer, Enno Poppe, Stefano Gervasoni, Gary Carpenter, Bernhard Gander, Stefan Keller and HK Gruber among others, and conducted successful performances with various ensembles and orchestras in venues and festivals such as the Darmstadt New Music Festival, Klangspuren Schwaz, Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, Time of Music Festival in Finland, Wien Modern Festival, Ultraschall Festival and Klangwerkstatt Festival in Berlin, Gaudeamus Muziekweek in Utrecht, IMPULS Graz Festival, ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Royaumont Abbey in France, The Krzysztof Penderecki European Centre for Music in Krakow and Vienna Musikverein in Austria, etc.
In 2019 she conducted the world premiere of 'Mondrian' for Harpsichord and six players by Gary Carpenter, Commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society for Ensemble 10/10, and was selected as Artist-in-Residence at the European network of opera academies and the Academy of Festival d’Aix-en Provence in France. In 2020 she served as assistant conductor for Salvatore Sciarrino’s new opera production “Il canto s'attrista, perché?” at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt in Austria, and performed with the Klangforum Wien and the PPCM students at Mumuth in Graz, Austria. She was recently involved in the CD production of a portrait concert by Stefan Keller with Ensemble Ascolta at Funkstudio of SWR in Germany. In May 2021 she will have her debut concert with the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra at the 31st Music Biennale Zagreb.
Yalda’s fascination for both science and music has been an inseparable part of her development since childhood, and she has always seen these two fields as looking at our complex world from different perspectives. She started her music education in Iran by taking private lessons in piano, composition, and music theory with composers, pianists, and pedagogues such as Hamid Vafaei, Mehran Rouhani, Houshang Ostovar, and Farideh Behboud, where she gained her first experiences in conducting by serving as assistant conductor with the Iran-Austria Symphony Orchestra and Choir of Austrian Cultural Forum in Tehran, and simultaneously earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science. Later she joined Georg Mark and Andreas Stoehr conducting classes in Vienna and earned her second bachelor’s degree in music and graduated with distinction from the Music and Arts University in Vienna (MUK), where her curiosity led her to also take introductory courses in cognitive science, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence as a master student at the department of philosophy / The Middle European interdisciplinary master program in cognitive science at the Vienna University. After her debut with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra at the ORF RadioKulturhaus in Vienna, she was selected as a scholarship holder by the Ensemble Modern in Germany to work closely with this ensemble and within the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Frankfurt am Main, and earned her Master’s degree in conducting with specialization in contemporary music performance at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (HfMDK). She has recently joined the multimedia composition department at the music university in Hamburg (HfMT) as a researcher and doctoral student, where she conducts research on the application of machine learning, motion-sensing technologies, and VR/AR environments in presenting contemporary classical music, under the supervision of Georg Hajdu, Jacob Sello, and Alexander Schubert.
©Deutschlandfunk / Simon Detel
She is a recipient of the “Start-Stipendium”, awarded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture to young successful artists in Austria in 2015, was identified as a promising young conductor by the Ulysses Network - IRCAM artistic committee in France from 2017-2019, and was selected as semi-finalist and orchestra prize-winner at the Jeunesse Musicales International Conducting Competition in Bucharest in 2018 and as winner/finalist of the “Das Kritische Orchestra” by the Dirigentenforum and Deutsche Musikrat in 2019.
From understanding the nature of the interaction between humans and AI systems in creating music to re-defining the relationship of a conductor with the orchestra/ensemble in performing music, Yalda Zamani’s research includes the investigation of the role of a meaningful collaboration in designing intelligent artistic ecosystems that reflect contemporary values.