Roxanna Albayati is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher and music educator. Her practice centres around combining experimental music with performance art and audio-visuals, exploring topics surrounding identity, sense of belonging and the body. Her music merges cross-cultural improvisation with Iranian classical music and the physicality of performance. Although predominantly a cellist, Roxanna also uses her voice, ghaychak and her body to materialise and realise her experimentations, fascinated by the process and natural evolution of discovery. Roxanna explores the theme of self and the other, how these two interact, both internally and materially, whilst considering this through the perspective of Orientalist constructions and female place in society. Her teaching, artistic and research practices often cross paths, where, through constantly embodying a/r/tographic principles, Roxanna places herself at the centre of inquiry, to strengthen and inform the basis for creative and educational practices.
Roxanna works with a number of collaborators, including the multidiciplinary project Seh Khak (Three Lands), where three women’s intersection of Iranian identity is interrogated through interweaving of personal stories and the concept of homeland. The project will premier in 2024 (Porto, Portugal).
She is one of the co-curators of ZANĀN, a female led experimental music collective which focuses on the sense of belonging and expression of artistic identity among diaspora cultures. She is also a founding members of the New Maker Ensemble, a group dedicated to experimenting with various forms of new music and performance art. Roxanna also performs with her experimental improvisation duo ЯК, who won the Gladys Puttick Improvisatin Competition in 2019. In 2022, she was the the artist in resident at Zaratan Arte Contemporânea (Lisbon, Portugal), working on her solo multimedia project, as well as at Halaqat - Goethe Institute (Brussels, Belgium), working on a group music residency. Roxanna has performed her original works and improvisations at events such as METRIC IP (EAMT, Tallinn, Estonia), Shared Narratives Online Conference, Intercultural Practice and Music Symposium (University of Hull) and Sound Festival (Sound Scotland). She has also performed in venues and events such as IKLECTIK (London), King’s Cross ‘Tête-à-tête’ Opera Festival (London), Splendor (Amsterdam), Casa das Artes/Sismógrapho (Porto), Sounds Like THIS Festival (Leeds College of Music), We Make Tomorrow Climate Summit (Serpentine Galleries, London) and Compositional Aesthetics and Political Conference (Goldsmiths, UoL).
She completed her BMus in Music at Goldsmiths, University of London, studying cello with Rebecca Turner. In 2020 she completed her MA in Performance and Music Education at Trinity Laban, achieving a distinction as well as the Directors Prize in Music Education, for outstanding work and contributions to the music education department and wider institution. She studied cello performance with Natalia Pavlutskaya, music education with Tim Palmer, improvisation with Douglas Finch and singing with Linda Hirst. In 2020, initially as part of a research project, Roxanna begun Iranian classical music training - this training was supported by the Bert Jansch Foundation and Help Musicians.
Roxanna is currently working at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as a graduate researcher and improvisation coach, looking into the inequalities which exist between different student groups in a conservatoire setting. The work specifically focuses on student learning experiences, sense of belonging and the role of student voice. She also is a guest improvisation tutor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Roxanna teaches cello privately - if you are interested in tuition you can read more about her practice here, or contact her for further details.