Sussan Deyhim is an Iranian composer, vocalist, performance artist and activist. She is internationally known for creating a unique sonic and vocal language imbued with a sense of ritual and the unknown. She was part of the national ballet company in Iran from the age of thirteen and traveled all across Iran studying with master folk musicians and dancers. In 1976, she joined The Bejart Ballet in Europe after receiving a scholarship to attend Bejart’s performance art school Mudra where she was trained in many of the great world, dance, music and theater traditions as well as in classical ballet. Her music remains true to the spirit of her ancient heritage while pointing to the future with a very personal and poetic dramatic sensibility. In 1980, she moved to New York, embarking on a multifaceted career encompassing music, theatre, dance, media and film.
Deyhim’s wide-ranging collaborations with leading artists from across the spectrum of contemporary art have included Ornette Coleman, Bobby McFerrin, Peter Gabriel, Bill Laswell, Richard Horowitz, Rufus Wainwright, Joe Jackson, Marius De Vries, Hal Winer, Mickey Hart, Branford Marsalis, Jerry Garcia, Will Calhoun, Karsh Kale, Doug Wimbish, and The Blue Man Group and with prominent female visual artists Sophie Calle and Lita Albuquerque. Her longtime collaboration with acclaimed visual artist Shirin Neshat began with Neshat’s “Turbulent’ in which she starred and composed the music for. Turbulent won the Venice Bienniale Golden Lion First International Prize in 1999. Deyhim’s music and sound design became a potent element of 6 other video installations by Shirin Neshat currently in permanent collections of numerous prominent international museums.
Her composition “Windfall/Beshno Az Ney” was recently used by U2 throughout the US and Europe in U2’s 360 tour in one of the largest scale tock tours to this day. “Beshno Az Ney” is an intro to U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” a moving number win solidarity with Iran’s Green movement. Deyhim has performed with international orchestras such as 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 Lincoln Center Summer Festival, Carnegie Recital Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, The Old Vic, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royce Hall and many other major venues. Deyhim’s recent sound-based work includes vocals for the soundtrack of the Academy Award winning film Argo. Sundance 2015 will be presentation artist and director Sibylle Szahhars Redford’s “The Way of Rain” with a special appearance by Robert Redford. Sussan will perform as the persona and voice of Mother Earth in this anticipated world premiere.
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 and the Royal Hope Gala in the Royal Albert Hall, London, England with Plácido Domingo, The Royal Ballet and many others, for medical aid to Iraqi children. In 2009, she performed in a sold-out concert at the UN General Assembly organized by Pakistan’s biggest rock musician and activist, Salman Ahmad to raise funds for misplaced children in Pakistan with other participants such as Jeffrey Skoll, Bobby Sager and Gavin Rossdale.
Special thanks to Raushenberg foundation for inviting Sussan Deyhim to their residence program to produce the works that are featured in the catalogue.