Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
In the polarized world of classical music, where battles often rage over issues of interpretation and authenticity, Mahan Esfahani is the rare harpsichordist known for mesmerizing performances of both early music and contemporary repertoire. The acclaimed Persian American musician is an unapologetic champion of the harpsichord, devoted to restoring the Baroque mainstay to what he sees as its rightful place at the center of concert music. Esfahani has been praised for his crisp articulation and a thrillingly dynamic style on an instrument that famously resists extremes.
This Cal Performances at Home recital, featuring Bach’s beloved Goldberg Variations, will be filmed at the Bach Archive in Leipzig, Germany, the city in which the composer wrote this timeless music nearly 280 years ago. Today, the piece is most-often heard on piano but it was originally composed for Esfahani’s instrument: “[He] feels like the harpsichord’s answer to the young Gould—exuberant, antisentimental, bracing” (The New Yorker).
The Cal Performances at Home Spring 2021 season is dedicated to Gail and Dan Rubinfeld, leading supporters of Cal Performances and the well-being of our artists for almost 30 years.
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