Dr Afarin Mansouri is an award-winning composer and musicologist whose works have been performed in Canada, the United States, England, Iran, and South America. She is the recipient of many awards including a Canada 150 Medal for her artistic contribution, and a nomination for the Louise Applebaum Composition Award for Young Audience. Afarin has collaborated with various organizations and Festivals such as Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Tapestry Opera, You Dance National Ballet of Canada, Queen’s University, Willard Laurier University, Tirgan Festival and Toronto Nuit Blanche.
In the past few years, Afarin has devoted her compositional career to producing operas: in 2018, her opera Forbidden gained national and international attention from the Globe and Mail and BBC World as she made a new approach to combining Eastern music with opera. Opera Canada considered her music “powerful, the most memorable highlights of the opera,” in her operatic composition Saffronic, which was a part of the stage production The Journey, Notes of Hope. Her audio opera Little Heart, which was published by Centredisc in January 2020, is available online at the Canadian Music Centre and has been mentioned by Opera Canada magazine as “a sweet adventure into cross-cultural storytelling with sound." Her opera AITCH ARR was performed by Queen’s University in March 2020 as her first digital opera.
In 2016, Afarin founded Cultureland, an organization to commission and produced operas which include non-western elements in terms of language, drama, music or design. The first scene of Afarin’s first Farsi-language opera Zuleykha will be performed at Kingston’s Watershed Festival in may 2021. This opera is a spiritual work, which combines Eastern mystical subjects and meanings, and music with an operatic style.
As an educator and researcher, Afarin has presented various research papers, lectures, and opera workshops on national and international levels, including but not limited to Wilfrid Laurier University, Queen’s University and the Canadian Opera Company. Her music workshops cover various topics such as: using emotions during the creative process, soundscape, music and intelligence, mystical music, opera history, and composition. She is the founder and director of Music Nest (www.musicnest.org), and has developed new methods of combining storytelling and music pedagogy. Her PhD research is on the topic of children’s opera, its history and its effects on developing children’s intellectual skills. She has published a ste-by-step guide for teachers and artists educators who are interested in creating an opera with young or amateur participants: (https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/38324).
As a mezzo soprano, Afarin has performed new music for Watershed Festival, Toronto Culture Days, Tirgan Festival and theIranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto’s program The Thirtieth Act. An advocate of social and artist equity, Afarin has been working as a member of the diversity, equity and inclusivity committee at the Canadian Opera Company, a national councilor of the Canadian League of Composers, and is a co-founder and Artistic Director of Iranian-Canadian Composers of Toronto (ICOT).