He has a lot to say: Sometimes he is a subtle poet, sometimes a passionate speaker, sometimes he asks questions, sometimes he chats charmingly” (Westdeutsche Zeitung)
There was a poet sitting at the piano. An intelligently chiselled romantic who can also pull out pranks (RheinPfalz)
Once described as a stubborn Bolshevik, once as a poet, Arash Rokni has been working to play the keys and read abstract black dots on paper since his childhood.
Born in Tehran, Iran, he first came in contact with music through his mother’s attempts to learn the traditional Iranian instrument “setar” and his father’s interest in Western classical music.
After going through a lot of imaginary careers as conductor (replacing Karajan in front of the cd player), film composer (composing stage music for the glorious school theatre productions!) and poet (effects of an early discovery of coffee), he devoted himself to piano playing. Towards this decision, his teacher Tamara Dolidze was a great inspiration.
After being encouraged in Armenia by Giorgi Raphaelowitch Avanesov and Ashot Ghazarian, he began his studies with Markus Tomas at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig and later with Claudio Martinez Mehner at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. He was also mentored by Nina Tichman (piano) and Anthony Spiri (chamber music), and fed his curiosity further through learning from Andreas Staier, Ferenc Rados, Rita Wagner, Andreas Kemenes, as well as Robert Levin, Adelina Oprean and Alexander Melnikov.
A second and audience prize winner of the the 21st Bach competition Leipzig, Arash’s path has taken him to perform in Iran, Armenia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark and UK, in venues including Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gewandhaus zu Leipzig, Schumann Saal Düsseldorf, BASF Ferienhaus and NDR Sendesaal Hannover. His performances have been broadcast by WDR, MDR and NDR, Radio France, BBC 3, Radio Catalunya etc. Arash is an enthusiast of programming lesser known repertoire, especially those of the baroque era and the Russian Avant-garde.
Finding pure joy in sharing the stage with colleagues, Arash has been an active chamber musician. His chamber music experiences led him on stage with musicians such as Miklos Perenyi, Bernarda Fink and being a member of recently founded “Trio Saye” together with Oliver Herbert and Abigel Kralik and a member of M.A.D Ensemble Basel.
Older keyboard instruments (even older than “modern piano”!), and the tradition of Basso Continuo are an important source of inspiration for Arash. In this field he has been influenced by the guidance of Gerald Hambitzer, Michael Borgstede and Weronika Konstancja Stałowska.
Together with Pianist and friend, Julia Polinskaja, he founded the concept of “Duo Noema”, providing an online platform for crossover music activities with literature, cinema, paintings etc. as well as being a Piano duo. The website of Duo Noema can be reached here: https://www.duonoema.com/
Being a passionate Cinema and Literature lover, Arash takes inspirations from diverse interests, especially currently from S.Beckett, Sā’eb Tabrīzī, Hafiz, Paul Thomas Anderson and A.Tarkovsky. He is trying his hands in amateur short story writings and recently created his first (amateur) short movie.
In an attempt to share his curiosity with younger musicians, Arash is currently a Substitute Professor at the University of Music, Theater and Media Hannover and a former Professor-Assistant in the University of Music and Dance Cologne.