Kian Ravaei (b. 1999) writes music that evokes the fantastic and the quotidian, engages with dreams and politics, and leverages music's power over the emotions. Kian's works have been inspired by advertisements in early American periodicals, books of etiquette in polite society, Persian poetry, lunar cycles, and a thirteenth century cosmological treatise. His identity as a second-generation Iranian-American is reflected in his music, often embodying the spirit of both cultures.
Advertisements, a song cycle written for new music vocalist Daniel Bayot and legendary guitarist Eliot Fisk, sets early American print advertisements with the intention of bringing out the sense of irony and pathos inherent in them. This piece garnered Kian a UCLA Library Prize for Undergraduate Research for the Best Project on Music After 1900. Kian composed Blue, for a capella chorus, in remembrance of Sahar Khodayari, an Iranian woman who tragically set herself on fire in protest of Iran’s soccer stadium ban for women. With a text written in Farsi, one of Kian's native tongues, Blue won first prize in the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra Emerging Composers Competition (Choral - Division II), adjudicated by composer Daniel Ott. Inspired by the story of his parents' flight from the Iranian Revolution, Kian depicted a tortuous migratory journey in Migration Variations for two pianos and two percussionists, which was performed at a reading session by the inimitable new music ensemble Yarn/Wire during their UCLA residency.
Current commissions include an “endangered birdsong partita” for Sl(e)ight Ensemble and a new work for clarinet and piano for the Willinger Duo. Kian is a member of Salastina's Sounds Promising composer apprenticeship program during their 2020-2021 season, and will compose a new work to be premiered by the ensemble.
Kian has participated in the Curtis Institute of Music's Young Artist Summer Program (which he attended on a full scholarship), Montecito Music Festival, N.E.O. Voice Festival, and Sunset Chamberfest Young Composers' Workshop. Past composition instructors include Kay Rhie, David S. Lefkowitz, Noah Meites, and Juan Pablo Contreras. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at UCLA, where he studies with Richard Danielpour.