Nazanin Aghakhani was born in Vienna, Austria, to a family of Persian heritage. Her musical talent was nourished early on - she took her first piano lessons at the age of seven.
Between 1992 and 2000 Nazanin studied the classical piano intensively at the main Vienna Conservatory, where her first teacher, Karl Barth, played a vital part in shaping her musical language. Further studies with pianist Meira Farkas followed.
In addition to winning youth competitions, Nazanin also gave solo recitals and performed live on TV. At about this time Nazanin became fascinated by the flexibility and possibilities of orchestral sound. At the age of twelve she was already taking extra lessons in score reading and counterpoint with Austrian composer and conductor Thomas Christian David.
In 2000 she embarked on her training as an orchestral conductor:Between 2000 and 2002 Aghakhani studied conducting at the University of Music in Vienna with Erwin Acel, Leopold Hager and Yuji Yuasa, and choral conducting with Howard Arman.
Between 2002 and 2006 she continued with in-depth studies at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, with Jorma Panula, and choral conducting with Anders Eby. This culminated in a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2006.
Aghakhani also was regularly involved in master courses with conductors Alan Gilbert and Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
While in Stockholm Nazanin Aghakhani took the opportunity to develop her skills as a composer, especially of electro-acoustic music. Her teachers, Bill Brunson and Fredrik Hedelin, have given her a professional insight into versatile techniques and also introduced her to contemporary music at the highest level.
All in all, Aghakhani's repertory as a symphonic conductor extends from the Viennese classics until the 21st century. Her greatest passion is for Russian composers of the first half of the 20th century (perhaps not surprisingly as Aghakhani has Russian ancestry in her blood).
Her range of opera literature begins in the late 18th century, starting with operas by Mozart, moving on to the 19th century including the Italian greats such as Puccini and Verdi, as well as works by Russians such as Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. Her 20th century opera repertory includes works by Bartók, Berg, Janacek, Korngold, Stravinsky and Weill.
Of great importance to Nazanin Aghakhani is to stay part of time in the loop of the artistic development, the metamorphosis of sound and also the constantly changing way of interaction between composer, conductor, director, performer and audience.
In September 2006 Nazanin Aghakhani entered the Master of Arts programme at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where, guided by her mentor Leif Segerstam, she successfully rounded off her musical education as an orchestral conductor and was awarded her final diploma with distinction in March 2008 (video "The Firebird" on MEDIA).
During her time at the Sibelius Academy, Aghakhani focused on Nordic and Russian orchestral repertory (Nielsen, Rautavaara, Sibelius, Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky etc.) as well as on opera literature starting from the late 18th century up to the present.
Besides working at the Royal Opera Stockholm as an assistant conductor - both orchestral and choral - Aghakhani also has also conducted several different symphony orchestras and ensembles from Austria, Finland and Sweden.
She has also worked regularly as a solo-repetiteur (last production for Kammersänger Peter Schreier and at the Salzburg Festival 2008), and as a tutor for Swedish youth orchestras.
Aghakhani has performed her own compositions and has gained recognition especially for her commitment to introducing contemporary music to a broader audience throughout Europe.
She made her début appearance as a conductor in Helsinki at the Musica Nova Festival in March 2007 (video "Mosaic" on MEDIA).
After returning to Vienna in spring 2008, Aghakhani was immediately engaged at the Salzburg Festival as an assistant conductor for the production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni".
She also was invited by Austrian piano company Bösendorfer to take the stage as a pianist again, performing challenging pieces written only for the left hand. In November 2008 Aghakhani conducted for the first time at Wien Modern, the Vienna Festival for contemporary music, premiering compositions by five young European composers.
Throughout fall/winter 2008/2009 Aghakhani participated as a member of the jury at the UNM Festival, which is designed to showcase young composers from Scandinavia.
In February 2009 Nazanin Aghakhani was invited back to conduct at the Musica Nova Festival in Helsinki - for the third time- and was also asked as a specialist on mew music to conduct at the Vienna Conservatory, bringing several complex pieces from composition students of Christian Minkowitsch´ class to life.
After moving to Munich in 2010, Nazanin Aghakhani became the first female conductor ever to perform in Iran- she gave her debut with Tehran Symphony Orchestra in summer - the Vahdat hall was sold out.
(for enlargement click on picture)
Also in 2010 Aghakhani became the new Musical Director of the Academic Symphony Orchestra Munich.
In addition to being an orchestral conductor, Nazanin stayed truthful to her piano playing. Throughout the years she has developed her own improvistational style - 5 albums have already been recorded (last one with the title „Miniatures of Love“, recorded on women´s day, March 2014) - where there are no cuts, no retakes or corrections on the whole record (audio on PERSONAL).
Her latest orchestral composition was recorded with the Academic Orchestra Munich in Dezember 2012, right at the wonderful Herkuleshall in Munich: the sound-signation „GeBuOne“ for her long-time friend and personal sound-engineer Georg Burdicek. (audio on MEDIA)
Recently Nazanin Aghakhani has also been invited as a lecturer for major entrepeneur companies throughout Germany to teach about the complexity of handling an orchestra, regarding the aspects of leadership, diversity, time-management as well as the issue of women in leading positions – also addressing the issue of handling family and business life at the same time successfully.
Nazanin's passion for languages make her speak English, Farsi, German and Swedish fluently - Finnish, Italian, Latin, Russian and Slovenian are still improvable.
In summer 2011 Nazanin Aghakhani moved back to Austria with her son. Together with her husband Dr. Friedrich Schwarzinger, writer and lawyer, whom she also performs with as the duo „Nana & Fritz“, she and her young family live in Austria.
This year Nazanin Aghakhani will conduct major orchestras, perform as a piano soloist and speak and teach as a lecturer several times throughout Austria, Finland, Germany, Iran and Sweden.
During her last performance at the „Musica Nova Festival“ in Helsinki (world premiere of „Fatal Lesson“ by Ville Raasakka), the major Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat wrote about the young conductor Aghakhani: “...After Nazanin Aghakhani had left the concert hall together with all her musicians, the whole space was still filled with her enormous mental storm and her musical electricity she had then just created. Her precise beating technique combined with well-thought phrasing leaves no listener untouched...“.
Nazanin Aghakhani with Academic Symphony Orchestra Munich-
at Herkules-Hall in 2012 (for enlargement click on picture)