In the Arms of the Beloved was written in the wake of the premiere of Through the Ancient Valley, a 30-minute work commissioned by the New York Philharmonic for Yo-Yo Ma. The piece included Persian musicians from Iran – the birthplace of my parents. Intrigued by my native land, I began to study the culture and heritage of my ancestors, which yielded many unexpected revelations. I enjoyed my re-acquaintance with Persian poetry and most notably among these venerated masters the poet Rumi. It was Rumi’s belief that to “see” the face of “our beloved,” is to see the face of the Divine – the face of love itself.
When Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson asked me to compose a double concerto in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, I felt it fitting to allow the poems of Rumi, that had inspired me so powerfully, to guide my work. It is not crucial to know in which poems the four movements are based. Rather, I believe that all that needs to be known about the music is in the music, itself.