Keyan Emami


The Black Fish Project

Poster Design by Sara Ranjbar


About The Project

Composer: Keyan Emami

Performers: Keyan Emami (narrator and electronics), Andrew Downing (jazz and classical bass), Majd Sekkar (maqam clarinet), Louis Pino and Naoko Tsujita (percussion), Ton Beau String Quartet (classical string quartet)

Project: The Black Fish is a three-movement, forty-minute composition scored for narrator, chamber ensemble and electronics (debut album)


Inspired by a well-known Persian children’s book, “The Little Black Fish,” the Black Fish Project retells the story of its protagonist, a little black fish who leaves his pond to explore the world beyond, through the lens of the composer, Keyan Emami.

“The Little Black Fish story was the starting point of my composition,” says Emami, “and my final work is a kind of musical autobiography that explores some of the musical traditions that have influenced my composition. I wanted to establish a deeper connection with this timeless story, in the context of my own rather complicated story of immigration to Canada. The Little Black Fish is the story of any living being that is striving to free itself from its own limitations. By pursuing our dreams, we ultimately discover of our inner world.”


The Black Fish is a genre-bending project composed by Toronto-based composer Keyan Emami and commissioned by Ton Beau String Quartet.

The music of The Black Fish Project reflects the diverse influences that have shaped Emami’s compositional language, including Persian folk, pop, ritual and military music, jazz, progressive rock, Arabic maqam, traditional Persian modal music, and contemporary classical music.

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