Since making his debut in 2009, Mahan Esfahani has worked tirelessly to bring the harpsichord to mainstream concert life and to gain a new relevance for the instrument through a busy recital and concerto schedule focusing both on ‘period’ and contemporary music. Born in Tehran in 1984, he was raised in the United States and received his first guidance on the piano from his father before exploring an interest in the harpsichord as a teenager.
He went on to study musicology and history at Stanford University, where he was mentored by George Houle, before studying intensively with Peter Watchorn in Boston and completing his formation with the celebrated Zuzana Růžičkov. in Prague. He was a BBC New Generation Artist from 2008-2010, and in 2014 he was on the shortlist both for the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist of the Year and Gramophone Artist of the Year – all firsts for the harpsichord. In 2015 he was honoured with the BBC Music Magazine ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award and was nominated in three categories for the Gramophone Awards – Best Baroque Instrumental, Best Instrumental, and again Artist of the Year.
Recent and future highlights include the beginning of a long-term artistic association with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Bach and G.recki concertos with Les Violons du Roy in Quebec and Montreal, concertos with the Melbourne Symphony and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras, a return to the Laeizhalle in Hamburg, and chamber music and solo performances for Reykjavik Midsummer Music and Vinterfest.
As always a champion of contemporary music, Mahan Esfahani performs two new commissions in the 2016-17: a concertofor harpsichord by Francisco Coll with the Britten Sinfonia and a concerto by Elena Kats-Chernin for the Melbourne Symphony.
His discography includes two critically acclaimed recordings for Hyperion – the C.P.E. Bach Württemberg Sonatas garnering a 2014 Gramophone Award and the complete Pi.ces de Clavecin of Rameau being nominated both for a Gramophone and being named in the New York Times Critics’ List of Top Recordings of 2014. He also has recorded Dutilleux with the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot and an album for Wigmore Hall Live, which again was honoured with a Gramophone nomination. A recording of Corelli with the legendary Michala Petri was awarded an ICMA in 2016.
Following a stint as Artist-in-Residence at New College, Oxford, he now continues his academic activities as a professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.