Nazanin Aghakhani was born in Vienna, Austria, to a family of Persian heritage, combined with Russian ancestry. After professional studies of classical piano at the State Conservatory in Vienna, winning several nation competitions as a young soloist and giving piano-recitals, she continued as a conductor at the University of Music and performing Arts in Vienna, at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and finally at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki where she took her Master´s Degree in opera and symphonic conducting (with distinction) at the Sibelius Academy in 2008.
Her most inspirational mentors throughout decades shaping here musical perception were (order of chronological appearance) Karl Barth, Thomas Christian David, Meira Farkas, Yuji Yuasa, Leopold Hager, Erwin Acel, Howard Arman, Jorma Panula, Lars-Erik Rosell, Alan Gilbert, Manfred Honeck, Paul Mägi, Anders Eby, Daniel Barenboim, Leif Segerstam and Valery Gergiev.
Aghakhani is well recognized for her engagement to building bridges starting from classical repertory from the late 18th century to the mid 20th century leading into the fields of contemporary music - collaborating acitvely with living composers on a regular basis is of great importance to her. She herself studied also electro acoustic composition with Bill Brunson and Fredrik Hedelin in Stockholm, which widened her musical and artistic horizon immensely.
Aghakhani´s recent engagements as a conductor included cooperations with orchestras and festivals throughout Europe such as Musica Nova Festival, Salzburger Festspiele, Wien Modern, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Kungliga Operan Stockholm, Norrköping Orchestra Sweden, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic Orchestra Finland, RSO Wien as well as Neubrandenburgische Philharmonie Deutschland.
Aghakhani was chief conductor and artistic director of the Academic Smyphony Orchestra in Munich between 2010 and 2012 - the first woman appointed in the orchestra´s history. She was also invited as the first woman in history ever in Iran to conduct the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in 2010.
Besides performing as an orchestral conductor, Aghakhani has recorded several albums as a pianist introducing her own music in a special improvisational form. She also regularly is invited as a jury member for composing competitions and as a guest conducting teacher within Europe and Asia. For about three years Nazanin Aghakhani has been also regularly giving lectures on challenges and chances within leadership positions including highest ranges of responsibility.
Just recently Nazanin Aghakhani was asked to jump in as a guest conductor on short notice for Austrian modern music ensembles "Platypus" and "TENM", conducting world premieres from composer Daniel Oliver Moser.
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 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 & Tehran Symphony Orchestra @ Vahdat Hall, Iran
pics by Tero Suvilammi
Nazanin Aghakhani & Academic Symphony Orchestra Munich @Herkules Hall