Nazanin Aghakhani was born in Vienna, Austria, to a family of Persian heritage. Already when she was eight years old, she decided on becoming an orchestral conductor as it was her calling.
At the age of twelve she started taking extra lessons in score reading and counterpoint with Austrian composer and conductor Thomas Christian David while being a classical piano student to Karl Barth at the Vienna State Conservatory, later privately to Meira Farkas.She gave her first recital at the age of 15, followed by performances live on TV and radio.
She continued her studies at the University for Music and Performing Arts Vienna with Erwin Acel, Leopold Hager and Yuji Yuasa - choir conducting with Howard Arman and Erwin Ortner - followed by in depth studies at the Royal Academy of Music Stockholm with Jorma Panula and guest teachers such as Alan Gilbert, Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Paul Mägi - choir conducting with Anders Eby. Aghakhani also joined the class of electro-acoustic composition lead by Bill Brunson and Fredrik Hedelin to widen her musical spectrum in the contemporary music field.
In 2006 Nazanin Aghakhani entered the Master of Arts programme at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki guided by her mentor and now also life-long friend Leif Segerstam; guest teachers being Mikko Frank and Esa-Pekka Salonen - choir conducting with Matti Hyökki. She successfully rounded off her musical education as an orchestral conductor and was awarded her final diploma with distinction in March 2008.
Already during her years in Sweden Aghakhani was working as an assistant conductor at the Royal Opera Stockholm after her studies in 2008 she became assistant conductor at the Salzburg Festival and also worked with Daniel Barenboim.
After repetitive invitations to other festivals such as the Musica Nova Festival Helsinki and Wien Modern, Aghakhani became the first - and since then the only - woman in history ever to lead the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in Iran in 2010; in the same year she was announced chief conductor of the Academic Symphony Orchestra Munich/Germany, also the first woman in their history of conductors.
Recent assignments braught her to orchestras such as Neubrandenburger Philharmonie/Germany, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Sweden, Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and Turku Philharmonic/Finland.
Her last engagement included the world premiere of Benjamin Staern´s trumpet concertino “Surprise!” performed by Filip Draglund together with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Sweden. This concert was recorded live by the Swedish Radio Station PR2 and will be broadcasted in fall 2015.
Nazanin Aghakhani not only acts as in the role of an alchemist re-connecting Orient and Occident artistically, but also sees it as a continuous mission to intertwine old and new: she consciously chooses concert programs embedding newly written compositions within traditional classical concert repertory, cooperating with living composers steadily - both regarding symphonic as well as operatic literature.
In addition to being an orchestral conductor, Aghakhani stayed truthful to her piano playing. Throughout the years she has developed her own improvisational style - six albums have already been recorded. There are no cuts, no retakes or corrections on all recordings.
Next to her teaching career in the field of orchestral conducting, Nazanin Aghakhani has also been invited as a lecturer for major entrepreneur companies throughout Germany and has been asked to talk about the complexity of handling an orchestra, regarding the aspects of leadership, diversity, time-management as well as the topic “women in leading positions” - also addressing the issue of handling family and business life at the same time successfully has been in strong demand from the participants.
In summer 2011 Nazanin Aghakhani moved back to Austria where she now lives together with ther family reclusively.
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 & Tehran Symphony Orchestra @ Vahdat Hall, Iran 2010
Nazanin Aghakhani & Academic Symphony Orchestra Munich @Herkules Hall, 2012