Mahan Esfahani (Persian: ماهان اصفهانی ) is an Iranian-American keyboardist; he is the first harpsichordist named as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. As a concerto soloist, recitalist, and collaborative musician, he has gained an international reputation on a variety of early keyboards.
Born in 1984 in Tehran, Esfahani grew up in United States. While at Stanford University, Esfahani studied musicology and came most seriously under the influence of the American scholar George Houle. Later, he continued his harpsichord studies with the Australian harpsichordist Peter Watchorn in Boston and with the Italian organist Lorenzo Ghielmi in Milan, and benefited from the advice and guidance of the Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková.
Having quickly gained an international reputation without the benefit of going through the customary competitions, played many significant concerts,he has been praised as “exceptionally gifted” (The Times) and for “the virtuosity of a master” (Keyboard Magazine).,currently he is as Artist-in-Residence at New College, Oxford. He made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2009 as a concerto soloist with The English Concert, and in the same year performed at the BBC Proms’ chamber series and made extensive recordings of concerto and solo repertoire for the harpsichord for BBC Radio 3.
From 2008-2010 Mahan Esfahani was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. Currently he is the first and only early instrument specialist to have joined the programme.
Respected for gaining attention for the harpsichord as a concert instrument, Mahan Esfahani is known for his criticism of what he perceives as the many dogmas of the early music movement, preferring to use many of his own editions and conclusions gained from the close reading of period sources, and works actively with modern instrument players in re-creating the sonic world of earlier music. He is also well known for his advocacy of contemporary music and has played numerous new commissions.
Esfahani is managed by Rayfield Allied of London. He was the recipient of a Borletti Buitoni Trust Award in 2009, being the first harpsichordist and first Iranian to do so. He has continued his work in bringing the harpsichord to the mainstream of Classical Music, and in 2011 made history with the first solo harpsichord recital at the BBC Proms.
He also started to make a name as a conductor and director, appearing with such ensembles as The Academy of Ancient Music, The Manchester Camerata, the Hanover Band, The English Concert, and Arion Baroque Orchestra of Montreal.
- Gustav Leonhardt: Harpsichordist who brought about a revolution in early music (independent.co.uk)
- IS POP CULTURE IN PARALYSIS? That’s the question that the Hoover Institute’s Emily Esfahani Smith as… (pjmedia.com)
- Listen to Purcell School musicians perform live on BBC Radio 3′s In Tune (classicalmusic.southbankcentre.co.uk)
- Mahan’s blog jot commentation (gamerahoy.wordpress.com)
- Matt Smith and Karen Gillan host Doctor Who Proms (blogs.coventrytelegraph.net)
- Mahan wins WGC Match Play (nation.com.pk)
- BBC Radio 3 experiment to give listeners a surround sound experience (ubergizmo.com)
- Schubert: ferocious, tender, sublime (guardian.co.uk)
- Schubert marathon for BBC Radio 3 (bbc.co.uk)
- Royal String Quartet | Classical review (guardian.co.uk)