Stories » Mahan Esfahani's Time Present & Time Past set for SF Performances / San Francisco Examiner

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Mahan Esfahani's Time Present & Time Past set for SF Performances / San Francisco Examiner

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Plucky virtuoso Mahan Esfahani is seeking to change the perception that the harpsichord should not be associated with avant garde music. "I think that there's resistance from the people who have appointed themselves guardians of some sort of nebulous (and philosophically bankrupt) ‘historical performance' scene than there is from any member of the mainstream classical music public," Esfahani said, via email from Prague, where he lives. "To them, the harpsichord is a pleasant stage prop that gets very little outing as a serious solo instrument unless one is to play the sort of morally upright concerts that focus more on antiquity and correctness than on the transcendent art that has endured."

Esfahani, who studied musicology and history at Stanford, makes his much-anticipated San Francisco debut this week in San Francisco Performances' first Pivot concert of its 2016-17 season. His recital "Time Present & Time Past" at the Strand Theater includes period standards of the harpsichord repertoire, including Bach's glorious Toccata in C minor and sonatas by Scarlatti, but also 1968's "Piano Phase," by minimalist American composer Steve Reich.

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