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Acclaimed Harpsichordist Finds Inspiration In Hip Hop


Mahan Esfahani is a decorated, classically trained musician, but he prides himself on having an interest in performing classical music in a contemporary way.

“Music lives when we relate it to our own lives and we relate it to events around us, as Bach and Handel and others did,” Mahani said.

In addition to his traditional influences, he also cites modern artists as sources for inspiration, some of whom are widely considered to be opposites of classical music.

“I really recommend to people who listen to classical music, to go see a film, which I know there’s going to be people who just turn off the dial the second I say this, but it’s called ‘Straight Outta Compton’, and it’s about Dr. Dre.  It’s thoroughly interesting.  I personally was not into hip-hop until I saw this film,” Mahani said.

Mahani believes his open-minded philosophy for listening to a diverse range of music has contributed to his own development as a musician. 

“Open your ears.  Listen to other stuff.  You don’t have to like it.”