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The late 60s saw globetrotting filmmaker Tony Williams shoot and edit two films for Iranian director Mahmoud Khosrowshahi. Here Williams chronicles an east meets west festival held in the Iranian city of Shiraz. Williams’ love affair with music and montage helps lend pace and life to a film whose sonic interests range from Iranian lutes and Indian oboes to Cathy Berberian, who is busy turning comic-strips into song. A glimpse of cosmopolitan Iran prior to the Iranian Revolution, it includes a rare interview with New Yorker classical music critic Andrew Porter.


On Making Sound the Trumpets Beat the Drums by Tony Williams 15.11.2010

My Iranian friend Mahmoud Khosrowshahi (or ‘K’ for short) approached the BBC to make a film with me in Iran. The Shah had designed a music festival to bring east and west together. The BBC supplied a sound recordist, I would shoot and ...

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Credits (4)

 Mahmoud Khosrowshahi
 Tony Williams
 Peter Heyworth

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Comments (5)

 Jesse Dawson

Jesse Dawson

I wish that I could experience something like the Shiraz Arts Festival! I am starving for something of a real cultural substance. Life in 2011 America is hell!



A wonderful reminder of my youth when I attended this memorable festival in Shiraz. At a very young age and learnt how to be a citizen of the world rather as well as being an Iranian.

Thank you!

 Mahasti Afshar

Mahasti Afshar

It is such a pleasure to have a chance to relive those glorious moments--Shiraz was like a dream that recurred 10 days every year for 10 years, except it was real. Thank you for recording it and now for sharing! I myself recorded many of the live performances for later broadcast on TV, so I feel a special affinity with your documentary.
By the way, re the Background notes, the head of the TV is thankfully alive and well.

 Maria Baghramian

Maria Baghramian

Thank you very much for posting this. My husband, Hormoz Farhat, was heavily involved in organising the music side of this Festival. The video brought back many good memories.

 Cyrus Kadivar

Cyrus Kadivar

Fantastic reminder of Iran in better days. Being a Shirazi I recall the joy and excitement of Persian-Western performances held at the Hafezieh and Arthur Rubenstein playing the piano at Persepolis. And that was in 1969!
Cyrus Kadivar


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The music doesn’t meet. It’s the people who meet, and their minds. The music itself doesn’t make any connection across.