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Milad Yousufi

Composer, pianist, poet, and visual artist Milad Yousufi (b. 1995) was born in Afghanistan during the civil war and trained at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music before being awarded a full scholarship at the Mannes School of Music. His compositions have been performed by the Kronos Quartet and the New York Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, and at Lincoln Centre, Boston Symphony Hall, Carnegie Hall and the Barbican Centre. Yousufi’s work is deeply inspired by his country and culture.

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Nostalgia  (2022)

Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet in Bb, bassoon, horn in F, trumpet in Bb, trombone, percussion, rubab, dutar, and strings

Duration: 5'

Premiere: 5 July 2022, Spitalfields Music Festival, London. Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra w/Saphawat Simab, rubab, William Rees Hoffman, dutar, and Yusuf Mahmoud, harmonium. Cayenna Ponchione-Bailey, conductor

missioned for The Orchestral Music of Afghanistan: Looking Forward  project

About Nostalgia

Nostalgia is inspired by the current events happening all around the world in 2022 and one of my recent paintings, Whirling. Nostalgia has spiritual taste or colour to it utilising both Eastern and Western elements to build a cultural and musical bridge between the East and West. The opening of the piece starts with tabla and the most well-known tabla tail (rhythm) called teen taal which is originally 16 beats per cycle.


This is accompanied by a drone like pattern played by the viola, inspired by my Sufi’s dhikr (a chant in remembrance of God), that carries throughout the piece mostly in the string section. The opening of the piece starts with a nostalgic melody. The harmonic changes to major modes in the piece portrays the light in the painting which represents hope and the bright side. The piece ends in a sense of sorrow, grief and hope which portrays the future of my homeland and a thousand wonderful memories that are gone forever.


This piece is also inspired by one of my poems titled, Poem for my Mother.

– Milad Yousufi, June 2022


A Poem For My Mother

O westerly winds, I beg you do me a favor,

Go to my village, pass my greetings to the graves of my

beloved ones,

A little farther is an old house, my heart, my mother lives


I beg you to touch her feet, tell her I will come home one day,

Tell her I will come home one


O westerly winds, I beg you do me a favor,

Go to my village, pass my greetings to the graves of my

beloved ones,

My heart is burning like a flame, and broken into pieces far

from my home,

I will go home, where my beloved cared for me

I will go home one day, I will go home....

– Milad Yousufi

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