Praised by Early Music Today (UK) for his ’sensitivity and vibrance’ and by Keyboard Magazine for possessing the ‘virtuosity of a master,’ the Iranian-born early keyboards artist MAHAN ESFAHANI is quickly gaining wide international attention as a soloist and collaborative musician in repertoire ranging from the 14th through the 18th centuries. He has appeared such ensembles as Il Complesso Barocco under the direction of Alan Curtis, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, New York’s Spiritus Collective, the Renaissance ensemble Ciaramella, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and the King’s Noyse. Esfahani has appeared at countless leading American series such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Gotham Early Music Scene at New York’s Times Center, and the Berkeley Early Music Festival, as well as such European venues as Tage Alter Musik Regensburg, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini of Venice, the Montisi Festival, the Festwoche Hannover, and the Goettingen and Halle Handel festivals. He most recently concluded a residency as a soloist and chamber musician at Canada’s Banff Centre for the Arts and was granted the 2007 scholarship of the Fondazione Marco Fodella in Milan.
Mahan studied Musicology and Theory as a President’s Scholar at Stanford University (BA with Honors and Distinction, 2005), where he wrote his thesis on aesthetics in early 19th-century Italian opera seria. It was at this time that his interests were principally directed toward the fields of performance practice and the history of theory, studies in which he pursued under the supervision of the eminent American scholar George Houle. He has recently entered into an agreement with the Musica Omnia label to record the complete works for harpsichord, virginals, and organ by the English composer John Bull (1562-1628), the “Liszt of the Virginalists,” in collaboration with Australian harpsichordist Peter Watchorn; the first disc of this project is due to be released in early 2008 (www.musicaomnia.org). He has also recorded as a solo organist for the Naxos label. Principal teachers have included Peter Watchorn and Peter Sykes; during 2007-08, he will be residing in Milan and studying with the celebrated Italian organists Lorenzo Ghielmi and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini. His main non-musical interests include: Russian literature, history, modern languages, trying to channel the soul of Wanda Landowska, finding someone to buy him a Pleyel harpsichord, and the quest for the perfect martini.