In Persian, the word peyvand means “connectivity.” The term has special meaning for Iranian-born pianist and composer Niloufar Nourbakhsh — so much so that it’s the theme of an upcoming performance by the International Contemporary Ensemble featuring her work. It's also a driving force behind another of her most notable musical collaborations: the aptly named Iranian Female Composers Association (IFCA), a collective of Nourbakhsh’s Iranian composer colleagues from around the world.

Nourbakhsh, a co-founder of the group along with fellow composers Anahita Abbasi and Aida Shirazi, told Gothamist that the association “brings us all together and connects us” in spite of their geographical distance. The “Peyvand” concert, presented by IFCA and the International Contemporary Ensemble on Saturday, Oct. 15 at NYU's Skirball Center, will feature among other works the premiere of Nourbakhsh’s “C Se See.”

The piece, Nourbakhsh explained, was inspired by the late arts philanthropist Cecille "Cece" Wasserman, "who has really affected and lifted up so many arts organizations as well as composers in the music scene.” In conceiving the work, she dreamed of making connections “physically visible,” a goal realized in this performance through the inclusion of a “kinetic structure” designed by an artistic collaborator, Roxanne Nesbitt.

The structure, Nourbakhsh said, is designed to connect the string instruments performing the piece. They will be “bowed at the same time,” she explained, essentially bringing together the ensemble as “one unit.” A percussionist, she elaborated, will bow “one fishing line that is going through different strings of the violin, as well as the viola and a cello, bass, and piano.”

Just days after that concert, Nourbakhsh — a 2019 recipient of Opera America’s Discovery Grant, and a winner of Beth Morrison Projects Next Generation competition — has an upcoming performance of her new opera “We, The Innumerable,” at National Sawdust in Williamsburg, jointly presented with the Center for Contemporary Opera.

That work, with a libretto by Lisa Flanagan, is set during the turbulent 2009 reelection of incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A teenager in Iran at the time, Nourbakhsh witnessed the aftermath of the election and the resulting protests first hand.

"People were still trying to make reforms," she recalled, "and find a way to get to a better society through changing the system.”

Being there amid the violence and unrest instilled in Nourbakhsh a need to preserve the truth of what happened. Her opera “is about love and about truth," she said, "and how the protection of our truth, and the protection of our memory, can lead to freedom in many different ways.”

Comparing the events of 2009 to protests happening now in Iran in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini, Nourbakhsh said she feels the need to “protect the truth of what happened to [Amini].”

“I think it’s important for us to understand and realize our history, and how things happened, to make sure they don’t happen again,” she said. And she is optimistic, finding hope in the slogan of the recent protests: “Women. Life. Freedom.”

She emphasizes the significance of a movement out of the Middle East that has women at the center. For Nourbakhsh, it demonstrates that the people of Iran understand “equality and freedom is only possible when everybody is free.”

The Iranian Female Composers Association and International Contemporary Ensemble present "Peyvand" at NYU Skirball Center on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m.; "We, The Innumerable" will be performed at National Sawdust on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.;