Mahan Esfahani

harpsichord

contact

Clara Rempe

cr(at)karstenwitt.com

+49 30 214 594-233

Hannah Mulac

hm(at)karstenwitt.com

+49 30 214 594-211

Local Management for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

©Kaja Smith

Dates

08.10. 20:00
De Bijloke Muziekcentrum Gent

Louis Andriessen,  Overture to Orpheus
Johann Sebastian Bach,  Italienisches Konzert BWV 971
Johann Sebastian Bach,  Französische Ouvertüre h-Moll BWV 831

Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord

20.10. 19:30
Wigmore Hall, London

Johann Sebastian Bach,  French Suite No. 2 in C minor BWV 813
Johann Sebastian Bach,  Prelude in A minor BWV 922
Johann Sebastian Bach,  Fugue in B minor BWV951
Johann Sebastian Bach,  French Suite No. 3 in B minor BWV814
***
Johann Sebastian Bach,  French Suite No. 4 in E flat BWV815

Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord

15.11. 18:00
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

George Lewis,  Timelike Weave (German Premiere)

Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord

BIOGRAPHY

Such virtuosity and disarming presentation suggests that Esfahani could inspire a whole new appreciation of the instrument. The Guardian

Mahan Esfahani has made it his life's mission to rehabilitate the harpsichord in the mainstream of concert instruments, and to that end his creative programming and work in commissioning new works have drawn the attention of critics and audiences across Europe, Asia, and North America. He was the first and only harpsichordist to be a BBC New Generation Artist (2008-2010), a Borletti-Buitoni prize winner (2009), and a nominee for Gramophone's Artist of the Year (2014, 2015, and 2017).

His work for the harpsichord has resulted in recitals in most of the major series and concert halls, amongst them London's Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre, Oji Hall in Tokyo, the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, Shanghai Concert Hall, Carnegie Hall in NYC, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Recital Centre, Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, Berlin Konzerthaus, Zurich Tonhalle, Wiener Konzerthaus, San Francisco Performances, the 92nd St Y, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Cologne Philharmonie, Edinburgh International Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Madrid's Fundacio Juan March, Bergen Festival, Festival Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Al Bustan Festival in Beirut, Jerusalem Arts Festival, and the Leipzig Bach Festival, and concerto appearances with the Chicago Symphony, Ensemble Modern, BBC Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Czech Radio Symphony, Orquesta de Navarra, Malta Philharmonic, Orchestra La Scintilla, Aarhus Symphony, Montreal’s Les Violons du Roy, Hamburg Symphony, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, with whom he was an artistic partner for 2016-2018.

His richly-varied discography includes six critically-acclaimed recordings for Hyperion and Deutsche Grammophon – garnering one Gramophone award, two BBC Music Magazine Awards, a Diapason d’Or and ‘Choc de Classica’ in France, and an ICMA.

Esfahani studied musicology and history at Stanford University, where he first came into contact with the harpsichord in the class of Elaine Thornburgh. Following his decision to abandon the law for music, he studied harpsichord privately in Boston with Peter Watchorn before completing his formation under the celebrated Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková. Following a three-year stint as Artist-in-Residence at New College, Oxford, he continues his academic associations as an honorary member at Keble College, Oxford, and as professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He can be frequently heard as a commentator on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 and as a host for such programs as Record Review, Building a Library, and Sunday Feature, as well as in live programmes with the popular mathematician and presenter Marcus du Sautoy; for the BBC’s Sunday Feature he is currently at work on his fourth radio documentary following two popular programmes on such subjects as the early history of African-American composers in the classical sphere and the development of orchestral music in Azerbaijan. Born in Tehran in 1984 and raised in the United States, he lived in Milan and then London for several years before taking up residence in Prague.

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REVIEWS

Here we have a cohesive, effective, taut programme of 20th-century harpsichord works that builds surely in density, complexity and philosophical provocation as it proceeds. In terms of programming, it’s a winner … there’s a lot here to get your teeth into.
Gramophone, August 2020 - on his CD "Musique?", published on 3 July 2020

Mahan Esfahani—he’s just such an amazing force and a polemicist for the harpsichord … because although he’s brilliant at Bach he refuses to let the harpsichord remain in an ‘Early Music’ box, and he’s a great commissioner and performer of new music … really good recorded sound as well … it’s brilliantly done.
BBC Record Review, July 2020 - on his CD "Musique?", published on 3 July 2020

The adventurous harpsichord champion Mahan Esfahani has, for the first time, devoted an entire album to music of our time. To further stretch the boundaries of the known, three of the six compositions also contain an electronic component, often based on the harpsichord sound itself. ... Esfahani's compatriot, Iranian Anahita Abbasi, shows herself a composer with guts in the two-year-old Intertwined Distances. Alienating buzzing sounds and furious keyboard fists interspersed with gossamer string playing create a theatrical listening experience.
Frits van der Waa, de Volkskrant, 15 July 2020

Esfahani’s playing feels free and spontaneous without losing the underlying pulse of the music. The toccatas display their brilliance proudly. One can imagine the young Bach showing off his prowess just like this. - Richard Fairman, The Financial Times, about his CD "The Toccatas, Hyperion (CDA68244)"

He plays through the work with almost improvisatory freedom, in addition to formidable technique. The fast, hair-raising virtuoso variations that require crossing hands sound, in his interpretation, with outstanding clarity. - Bergens Tidende, May 2019

The real kick-ass moments came … in Mahan Esfahani’s anarchic solo harpsichord programme, where the delicate instrument of Bach and Couperin – especially in George Lewis’ Timelike Weave – became a liberated voice of rebellion. - Ken Walton, The Scotsman, May 2019

Now he emerges as a superstar whose musicianship, imagination, virtuosity, cultural breadth and charisma far transcends the ivory tower in which the harpsichord has traditionally been placed. - Record Review / Richard Morrison, The Times (London), 08. May 2015

Excellent performance of five Scarlatti sonatas, beginning with an elegant rendition of the Sonata in F minor (K. 462). Mr. Esfahani demonstrated impressive technique during the Sonata in G (K. 124) and again during
the rapid-fire Sonata in D minor (K. 141).
- Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times, Arpil 2012

Esfahani´s playing is colourful and magnetic, the fingerwork in the more virtuoso works absolutely clean and articulate. - Phillip Kennicott, Gramophone

It would be hard not to be impressed by Iranian harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani . . . always insightful and, above all, visceral. - Kate Molleson, The Guardian, July 2012

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Orchestral Repertoire

J. S. BACH Concerto d minor BWV 1052
Concerto E major BWV 1053
Concerto D major BWV 1054
Concerto A major BWV 1055
Concerto f minor BWV 1056
Concerto F major BWV 1057
Concerto g minor BWV 1058
Concerto d minor BWV 1059 (reconstruction as BWV 1059r by Mahan Esfahani)
Brandenburg Concerto V BWV 1050
Triple Concerto BWV 1044
C. P. E. BACH Concerto for harpsichord e minor Wg. 15
Concerto for harpsichord, strings & continuo d minor Wq. 23
Concerto for harpsichord, 2 horns ad libitum and strings c minor Wq. 37
Concerto for harpsichord, 2 flutes ad libitum and strings F major Wq. 38
Concerto for harpsichord F major Wg. 42
more...
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RECITAL PROGRAMMES

Solo Programme I

J. C. BACH Prelude E flat major, BWV 177/1
J. PACHELBEL Ciaccona D major
L. MARCHAND Suite d minor
J. S. BACH Toccata d minor, BWV 913
W. BYRD Ut re mi fa sol la, G major
J. S. BACH Fantasy and Fugue a minor, BWV 904
G. FRESCOBALDI Capriccio sopra la Bassa Fiammenga, F4.05
J. S. BACH Toccata D major, BWV 912

Solo Programme II

T. TALLIS Felix namque
L. BERIO Rounds
J.-P.RAMEAU Les tendres plaintes
Le lardon – La boiteuse
L'entretien des Muses
Les cyclopes
H. COWELL Set of Four
M. SRNKA Triggering
J. S. BACH Partita No.3 in a minor, BWV 827

Solo Programme III

S. RASMUSSEN Quadroforone No 1
L. BERIO Rounds
M. SRNKA Triggering
J. CAGE HPSCHD – Solo VII
A. ABBASI Intertwined Distances

Duo with Antje Weithaas

All Bach
J. S. BACH All 6 Sonatas (BWV 1014-1019)
Bach/Milhaud/Piston
J. S. BACH Sonata in e minor BWV 1023
D. MILHAUD Sonata
J. S. BACH Sonata No. 3 E Major for violin and harpsichord, BWV 1016
C. P. E. BACH Sonata in h minor
J. S. BACH Sonata No. 5 in f minor BWV 1018
W. PISTON Sonatina for violin and harpsichord
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MEDIA CENTRE

Video

Audio

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DISCOGRAPHY

Mahan Esfahani Musique?

Musique?

Hyperion, DDD, 2019

CR_Our Recordings

Johann Sebastian Bach: Flute Sonatas BWV 1030-1035

Our Recordings, DDD, 2018

The Toccatas

Johann Sebastian Bach: Toccatas BWV 910-916

Hyperion, DDD, 2018

THE PASSINGE MESURES. MUSIC OF THE ENGLISH VIRGINALISTS

THE PASSINGE MESURES. MUSIC OF THE ENGLISH VIRGINALISTS

Hyperion Records Limited 2018, Hyperion A68249

J.S. BACH: GOLDBERG VARIATIONS (BWV 988)

J.S. BACH: GOLDBERG VARIATIONS (BWV 988)

Deutschlandfunk | Deutsche Grammophon GmbH 2016

TIME PRESENT AND TIME PAST

TIME PRESENT AND TIME PAST

Deutschlandfunk | Deutsche Grammophon GmbH 2015

RAMEAU, COMPLETE PIÈCES DE CLAVECIN

RAMEAU, COMPLETE PIÈCES DE CLAVECIN

Hyperion Record Limited 2014

BYRD – BACH – LIGETI, LIVE AT WIGMORE HALL

BYRD – BACH – LIGETI, LIVE AT WIGMORE HALL

Wigmore Hall Live 2014

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788) WÜRTTEMBERG SONATAS

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH (1714-1788) WÜRTTEMBERG SONATAS

Hyperion Records Limited 2013, Hyperion A67995

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