38-year-old Iranian-American harpist Mahan Esfahani In the year Since his inauguration in 2007 – he has become the youngest recipient of the Wigmore Medal – which honors outstanding international artists who have made a significant contribution to the Wigmore Hall. Past recipients of the medal include Estin Davis, Christian Gerhaer, Angela Hewitt and Steven Iserlis It is presented to Esfahani performance among others JS BachS The Art of Fugue – In the year Part of his Bach cycle that began in 2017 and continues even through the pandemic.
Esfahani, who studied at Stanford University and Prague with Zuzana Reziková, is known for his pioneering work as a harpsichord advocate. As comfortable working with electronics and new media as he is with classical plays, he has performed around the world and, following an Artist Residency at New College Oxford, is currently Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The citation for the medal reads, ‘Mahan Esfahani is rightly recognized for his outstanding qualities as one of the world’s most renowned harpists today.’ Mahan is especially known for his unique performances on various music shows. He is an actor of star quality playing both classical and modern works – many of which have been commissioned by him. And he’s a musician with surprisingly broad intellectual interests: he challenges preconceived notions of what harp reading can be. His relentless advocacy for the instrument was no exception.’
Accepting the medal, Esfahani said: ‘Wigmore Hall’s support of my career and work has been the most important part of my professional life.’ ‘It is an honor to receive this sign of confidence in my work from one of the world’s greatest halls, in the greatest city.’
Photo: Richard Cannon