Deutsche Grammophon is today announcing the signing of harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. His first recording for DG will be ‘an eclectic programme fusing Baroque with Minimalism’, and released next year. It will be the label’s first harpsichord album in more than three decades.
Tehran-born Esfahani’s committed advocacy of the harpsichord as a solo instrument of today has swiftly made him one of its leading champions. His career has already seen two significant firsts for the instrument: becoming the first harpsichordist to join the BBC New Generation Artist scheme (in 2008), then in July 2011 giving the first solo harpsichord recital in the Proms, as part of the Cadogan Hall chamber music series.
Earlier this year he made his debut disc for Hyperion, a timely CPE Bach collection, which was awarded an Editor’s Choice in February and has been announced today as a contender in the Baroque Instrumental Category of the 2014 Gramophone Classical Music Awards. This was followed in June by a recording on Wigmore Hall Live – another Editor’s Choice – which spanned the centuries by linking Byrd, Bach and Ligeti, showcasing Esfahani’s ‘flexible, articulate and deeply musical interpretations’ (Jed Distler).
‘Mahan is a dynamic, daring musician who thinks way beyond the conventional boundaries of his instrument, and is well placed to add excitement to and find new audiences for the harpsichord,’ said DG president President Mark Wilkinson.
‘I am proud to become part of the Deutsche Grammophon family,’ said Esfahani, ‘As a musician I like to think out of the box, and here is a label with the same attitude. I am particularly proud to be joining the label of one of my great idols, the harpsichord legend Ralph Kirkpatrick. I am honoured to be in such company.’
Esfahani will perform with mandolin player Avi Avital at the Bristol Proms this evening, in a programme of Bach, Scarlatti, Takemitsu, Vivaldi and works by Avital himself.