Birth of a Leaf

MFA Graduating Project by Kourosh Ghamsari-Esfahani
Online release & post-show Zoom Gathering: September 16, 2021 | 6:00 PM | Free | RSVP

Note: Following BC health guidelines, proof of first COVID-19 vaccine dose will be required for entry to any performance on or after Sep 13.


Birth of a Leaf was inspired by my grandmother's story about sitting still for hours, watching a leaf quiver until it finally unfurled. The quivering of the leaf – the slowness with which it fully became itself – led me to examine how different parts of my own body are quivering when I play the violin. Why are they doing that? What are they becoming? What could they become, if I were to relinquish the hyper-precise control that is a standard feature of the performing arts?

This project is a video-collage of multiple short violin solos and gestural improvisations. Each clip features an aspect of the violinist's body - taking a slow, experiential approach to the movements of playing violin. Each solo was cultivated the course of a year – played repeatedly, guided in some ways, but allowed to change in others. In this way, my embodied knowledge of playing violin might grow, change, fail, and thrive.

The video will be published online as detailed above, followed by a post-show Zoom gathering, where I will be fully available to chat and answer questions about the work. The video will remain available online indefinitely.

Presented by the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Degree of Master of Fine Arts at Simon Fraser University.

This work has been created on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

With thanks

Supervisory Committee: Mauricio Pauly, Peter Dickinson, and Sabrina Schroeder

SCA Production Team: Ben Rogalsky, Gillian Hanemayer, Rodney Fenske, and Darryl Strohan

Video Director: Xin Yue liu

Movement and Costume Consultan: Meagan Woods

Robert Kitsos, for his generous support and guidance

Special thanks to Parvin Haji Habibzadeh, whose extraordinary story inspired this project

September 25, 2021