Irvine Barclay Theatre


Accompanied by a stellar jazz trio, Sussan Deyhim sings a program of classic love tunes, popular songs from 1950s and 1960s Iran, as well as her own original compositions.


Sussan Deyhim: La Belle et La Bête

Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 8pm

Tickets: $45, $55, $65, $110


Irvine Barclay Theatre - 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine CA | 949.854.4646

Renowned for creating a hauntingly beautiful vocal language, Sussan Deyhim is a composer and multi-faceted vocalist from Iran, who has collaborated with legendary artists, including Peter Gabriel, Bobby McFerrin and U2. This special night will feature songs form La Belle et La Bête, her most recent recording project. Accompanied by a stellar jazz trio, she sings a program of classic love tunes, popular songs from 1950s and 1960s Iran, as well as her own original compositions written in collaboration with composer and multi-instrumentalist Richard Horowitz, a Golden Globe Award winner for the film The Sheltering Sky.


“Sussan Deyhim is a fascinating original voice in music and the arts. Her rich and complex vocals are warm, beautifully sung, and always surprising." - Bobby McFerrin


Artist Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sussan Deyhim Performs La Belle et La Bête



“Sussan Deyhim creates thrilling music that sounds in the ear long after you’ve left the show.”- The New York Times

"Sussan Deyhim is one of Iran’s most potent voices in exile." - Los Angeles Times

"One of the five Iranian women visionaries you need to know." – The New York Times


Interview with Sussan Deyhim

KCET Feature





La Belle et La Béte is my latest recording release and my first song-oriented album and concert project. I am thrilled to have connected with Mitch Forman, John Leftwich and Steve Hass, who have brought their truly masterly musical sensibility to this project.


Since this is my first concert event in Orange County, I have also decided to present some of my latest compositions from my stage productions and film scores. This work is more textural, polyphonic and harmonically more in vein with the works I am known for.


So, the program tonight will feature some of the original and classic cover songs from La Belle et La Béte and a few of my compositions in collaboration with my partner, composer Richard Horowitz. These include the soundtrack of my latest multi-media stage production The House is Black Media Project, inspired by the works of Iranian literary heroin and icon Forough Farrokhzad. The production has been presented at Royce Hall and The Wallis in Los Angeles and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I will also perform a piece from my score for Logic of the Birds, another media stage production in collaboration with Shirin Neshat, inspired by the poetry of a Persian mystic poet.

Why a jazz-influenced album!


Since I moved to New York City in the 1980’s, I’ve had the blessing of being surrounded by great musicians from all disciplines. I always found myself closely collaborating with some of the great jazz musicians in New York City and Europe. To begin with, I met my partner Richard Horowitz in New York City. He had come from many years of stay and study in France and North Africa as a free jazz musician. I was introduced to the music of Cecile Taylor, Charles Mingus and Alice and John Coltrane, and the marvels of Moroccan sub-Saharan music, among others.


I then performed with Bobby McFerrin’s brilliant improvisational vocal ensemble, Voicestra. Bobby and I met during our work with the Sony Classical label. Richard Horowitz and I had just released the first hybrid album of world/classical music for Sony Classical during Peter Gelb’s work at Sony Classical. Peter moved to become the head of Metropolitan Opera. I also performed with Ornette Coleman at the Barbican in London. These associations will always be among the highlights of my musical collaborations and something to be extremely proud of.


My concentration in music as a composer has been mostly in creating vocal compositions that are harmonically influenced by the Western classical, harmonic sensibility and mostly inspired by Eastern microtonal musical roots. I have also dedicated my time to the study of the global, indigenous and ethnic vocal heritage. These astounding techniques have made me understand what the human voice is capable of producing.


I am hoping this presentation will bring a compilation of my musical experimentations and vocal works to Irvine Barclays Theatre.


I would like to thank my very special guests: a brilliant team of award-winning master musicians, who have generously graced my album, La Belle et La Béte, with their craftsmanship, including John Beasley, Lili Hayden, Satnam Ramgotra, Hamid Saeidi, M.B. Gordy, Greg Ellis, Haggai D'israeli and Mehdi Bagheri.


Also, gratitude to Jeannie Lurie (Emmy Award and Critics Choice Movie Award winner for best song) for co-writing our beautiful song, Take You Home, with a beautiful track by Grammy winner Itai D’israeli. —Sussan Deyhim




Sussan Deyhim is an Iranian-American composer, vocalist and performance artist. She is internationally known for creating a unique sonic and vocal language imbued with a sense of ritual and the unknown.

Born in Tehran, Sussan Deyhim began her career dancing with Iran's Pars National Ballet company, and then with Maurice Béjart's Ballet of the 20th Century. She moved to New York City in 1980, embarking on a multifaceted career encompassing music, theater, dance and media, and wide-ranging collaborations with leading artists from across the spectrum of contemporary art.

Deyhim has performed and recorded widely as a solo artist. Her one-woman show Vocodeliks, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of Art, led Billboard magazine to describe Deyhim as "an overpowering presence...[whose] wordless incantations are amplified in harmonized layers and recycled into sampled loops, beckoning you into this virtual desert ritual"; while The New York Times said that her "thrilling music...sounds in the ear long after you've left the show." Deyhim's solo recordings include Madman of God: Divine Love Songs of the Persian Sufi Masters; Shy Angels (with Bill Laswell) for the visionary label Crammed Discs and Turbulent. Other recordings include Majoun (for Sony Classical) and Desert Equations (released on Crammed Discs), both with the composer Richard Horowitz, a frequent collaborator. With composer and director Heiner Goebbels, Deyhim recorded Shadows (for ECM), based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Heiner Mueller, and composed and performed music for Deepak Chopra's A Gift of Love, with narration by Martin Sheen, Madonna, Goldie Hawn and Debra Winger. She was also a featured soloist on Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill, Hal Wilner's tribute to Kurt Weill.

Deyhim's numerous collaborations with the renowned visual artist/filmmaker Shirin Neshat have received critical acclaim, including the video Turbulent, which won the Golden Lion at the 1999 Venice Biennale. Their multimedia performance, Logic of the Birds, was based on Farid ud-Din Attar's mystical book of poetry written in the 12th century; produced by the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, the Walker Art Center, the Kitchen, and Artangel, Logic toured internationally.

Deyhim's previous work in the theater includes directing, co-composing, choreographing and performing a series of collaborations with Horowitz, including: AZAX/ATTRA: Desert Equations (a one-woman multimedia performance piece produced by La Mama in New York City, which toured internationally, including Ars Electronica in Austria, Morocco, Paris, Berlin and Hong Kong); The Ghost of Ibn Sabbah (presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music/New Music America, Central Park's Summerstage, and NYC's Town Hall); and X-Isle/Isle-X, commissioned by the Hong Kong Contemporary Dance Company, which subsequently toured in Japan and Indonesia. As a performer, Deyhim has appeared in many international theater productions, including works by Elizabeth Swados, Jean Claude Van Italie and Lindsay Kemp.

Deyhim has appeared on numerous film soundtracks, including The Last Temptation of Christ (directed by Martin Scorsese, with music by Peter Gabriel); Any Given Sunday (directed by Oliver Stone; soundtrack by Richard Horowitz); and Unfaithful (directed by Adrian Lyne, with music by Jan Kaczmarek).

Deyhim has collaborated with many of the most important figures in contemporary music, including Micky Hart, Branford Marsalis, U2, Jerry Garcia, Jaron Lanier, Christian Marclay, Elliot Sharp, Arto Lindsay, Jan Mattox, Loren Rush and Winston Tong. She has also toured internationally with Bill Laswell, Bobby McFerrin, Ornette Coleman, Jah Wobble, Will Calhoun, Doug Wimbish, Adrian Sherwood, Keith Le Blanc and Skip McDonnald.

Sussan has performed with international orchestras, including the Polish Radio Orchestra and the Kraków Philharmonic and has received commissions as a composer from international ensembles such as Bang On A Can. She has performed her music at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, Carnegie Recital Hall, Albert Hall, The Old Vic and the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Deyhim has been a frequent participant at humanitarian events and benefits, including a performance at the gathering of the spiritual leaders of the world at the United Nations General Assembly in 2001; the first Gathering of Female Spiritual Leaders in Geneva at the United Nations, a 2004 performance for the Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi's award ceremony organized by Interfaith Center; the Royal Hope Gala, Royal Albert Hall, London, England, with Placido Domingo, The Royal Ballet and many others, for medical aid to Iraqi children. In 2009, she performed at a sold-out concert at the United Nations General Assembly organized by Pakistan’s biggest rock musician and activist, Salman Ahmad, to raise funds for misplaced children in Pakistan.

Sussan Deyhim’s most recent projects include the acclaimed stage production The House is Black Media Project, inspired by life and work of Forough Farrokhzad, presented at Royce Hall, The Wallis and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The piece was originally sponsored by The Farhang Foundation and the Center for the Art of Performance at CAP UCLA.

An audio-visual presentation of Deyhim’s work was recently presented at the prestigious Courtauld Institute in London. This is the second lecture in a series hosted by Dr. Sussan Babaie and co-organized by the ​Iran Heritage Foundation with The Courtauld Institute of Art, and in association with independent curator Vali Mahlouji.

Sussan Deyhim’s upcoming projects include Forbidden Echoes, a composition for an all-female choir based on the Conference of The Birds, a masterpiece by Farid ud-Din Attar, the mystic Persian poet.

Venus Rising Records has released nine albums of Sussan Deyhim’s works for film, TV and media projects, including her latest recording, La Belle et La Béte


Mitchel Forman (Piano). Born in Brooklyn, New York, Mitchel began playing piano at the age of seven. After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Mitchel began touring with some of the giants of jazz, including Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, John McLaughlin and Wayne Shorter. He was a top New York piano\keyboards session musician for many years and has recorded 14 CDs as a leader, playing on countless others as a co-leader and sideman. Currently, Mitchel performs frequently with his band in the Los Angeles area. Mitchel is also a composer of note, having scored two films and written numerous TV commercials. His jazz compositions have been recorded by Pat Metheny, Gary Burton and many others. He currently writes for the CBS Television Network and is working on a large orchestral commission. Please check out to hear some of his work.


John Leftwich (Bass). Born in Los Angeles, John Leftwich grew up in San Diego. He played and sang in bands, worked as a journalist and enjoyed surfing. After college, he returned to Los Angeles and toured and recorded with Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Sergio Mendez, Rickie Lee Jones and Lyle Lovett. He has recorded with artists as varied as The Chieftains, Paula Abdul, Lifehouse, the EELS and Brenda Russell; and in films: It’s Complicated, As Good as it Gets, Mission Impossible II, The Cooler and Minions. He has worked as a composer for films: Let’s Get Lost (with Chet Baker); Double Bang (William Baldwin); Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast (Robert Mitchum); and Blood Done Sign My Name (Ricky Schroeder). He continues a busy performing and producing schedule and lives with his family in Studio City.


Steve Hass (Drums). Whether it's playing a pop ballad with Latin pop star Thalia, trading 8's with guitar legend John Scofield, flowing through a funk groove in 13 with the Ravi Coltrane Group, or playing a variety of styles behind legendary vocalese group The Manhattan Transfer, the ability to speak and communicate through music is what matters to Steve Hass. Hass is one of New York City’s busiest session drummers, balancing out his time off the road with numerous recording sessions.

Receiving a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Steve Hass was inspired to learn varied styles of music. "Checking out the music of the world is very important to me… I have made it a point to study music from Cuba, Africa, India, the Middle East, from everywhere, in order to have more tools to use in my career."

Steve Hass continues this philosophy today, traveling around the world, offering a vast musical knowledge, originality and genuine feel within every rhythm he creates. He plays with John Scofield and The Manhattan Transfer.


Mehdi Bagheri (Kamancheh). A composer and multi-instrumentalist, Mehdi Bagheri was born in Kermanshah, Iran, in 1980. He has become one of the most renowned practitioners of the Persian Kamancheh of his generation. Mehdi received his master’s degree from the Arak University in 2004, studying with luminaries of traditional Iranian music, including maestros Kayhan Kalhor and Ardeshir Kamkar, while simultaneously pursuing a degree in dramatic theater.


He has performed worldwide at festivals, including the Oslo World Music Festival and Morgenland Festival (Osnabrück, Germany). He has appeared at the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, D.C.), the Asia Society (Houston, TX), the Getty Center (Los Angeles, CA), the Hollywood Bowl in celebration of L.A. Philharmonic 100th anniversary, the Royal Festival Hall (London), as well as appearing with the Berlin Radio Choir, featuring performances of his works in the RBB Hall.


Mehdi has been pursuing his work in various fields, including film music, eclectic music and Iranian classical music inside Iran and abroad. He has also published a variety of works with a large number of singers and musicians. Among his most prominent works is the recording and publishing of the Radif (traditional melodic techniques passed down orally through many generations) of the legendary maestro Aliakbar Khan Shahnazi; solo and group pieces for Kamancheh, etc. Since 2011, Mehdi has been residing in Southern California, sharing his music through a broad range of performances, recordings and educational practices.



Richard Horowitz (Composer and Multi-Instrumentalist). From 1968 to 1979, Richard Horowitz lived between Paris and Morocco, studying Arabic and French music, Eastern philosophy and film. He first met his mentor Paul Bowles in 1974 in Tangier. In 1982, Bowles nominated Richard to the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the Goddard Liberson Award. In 1989, Bowles recommended Richard to Bernardo Bertolucci to compose the music for The Sheltering Sky for which he later received a Golden Globe and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award. Other awards include the BMI Award for Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday and the Czech Golden Lion Award for Tobruk with Sussan Deyhim. 

Horowitz first met Sussan Deyhim at the Noise New York studios in 1981. Together, they produced the cult classic Azax/Attra: Desert Equations at La Mama. Other recordings and media operas include Majoun (Sony Classical), City of Leaves (Venus Rising Records) and Logic of the Birds for Shirin Neshat’s multimedia production.

Horowitz also produced Gnawa Night Spirit Masters (Axiom Records) with Bill Laswell and Ritmos del Futuro Maroc/Seville for the Moroccan National Day at Seville Expo ‘92. In 1997, Richard cofounded and served as artistic director for The Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira, Morocco. Known as the “Woodstock of Morocco,” the festival still attracts over 400,000 audience members and many international performers every year. 

In 2006, Richard directed and co-produced a documentary, Spiritual India: River of Compassion, about the old masters of Indian music for The Annenberg Foundation.

Irvine Barclay Theatre 2019-2020 Season sponsor: UCI Health

About Irvine Barclay Theatre

Since opening its doors in 1990, Irvine Barclay Theatre has emerged as one of California's most imaginative performing arts showcases. A unique collaborative venture among the City of Irvine, the University of California, Irvine, and the private sector, the theatre has a reputation for wide-ranging programming in the fields of contemporary dance, music, and theater arts. Performances take place in the 750-seat "jewel box" theatre which is renowned for its intimate atmosphere and superb acoustics. Visit to learn about our exciting new season!