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Czech Chamber Music Society • Mahan Esfahani & Hille Perl

Chamber music will already be heard at the Rudolfinum on the third day of 2024. The programme, eagerly anticipated by fans of early music, is the concert of the German gamba player Hille Perl and the American-Iranian harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. The concert was postponed until now because of Covid.

Subscription series II | Czech Chamber Music Society


Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata in G Minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord, BWV 1029

Franz Benda
Sonata in F Major for viola da gamba and harpsichord 

Georg Anton Benda 
Sonata in D Minor No 3 for harpsichord 

Carl Friedrich Abel
Adagio in D minor for viola da gamba
Arpeggiata & Fantasia in D minor for viola da gamba

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Sonata in G Minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord

Johann Sebastian Bach
Sonata in D Major for viola da gamba and harpsichord, BWV 1028 


Mahan Esfahani cembalo
Hille Perl viola da gamba

Photo illustrating the event Czech Chamber Music Society • Mahan Esfahani & Hille Perl

Rudolfinum — Dvořák Hall

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Price from 100 to 350 CZK Tickets and contact information

Reservation of seats for current subscribers:
until 3 June 2024, 20.00
Sale of individual tickets for subscription concerts:
from 10 June 2024, 10.00
Ticket sales for all public dress rehearsals:
from 11 September 2024, 10.00

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Mahan Esfahani  harpsichord

Mahan Esfahani

Mahan Esfahani has made it his lifeʼs mission to rehabilitate the harpsichord in the mainstream of concert instruments, and to that end his creative programming and work in commissioning new works have drawn the attention of critics and audiences across Europe, Asia, and North America. He was the first and only harpsichordist to be a BBC New Generation Artist (2008–2010), a Borletti-Buitoni prize winner (2009), and a nominee for Gramophoneʼs Artist of the Year (2014, 2015, and 2017).

His work for the harpsichord has resulted in recitals in most of the major series and concert halls, amongst them Londonʼs Wigmore Hall and Barbican Centre, Oji Hall in Tokyo, Carnegie Hall in NYC, Sydney Opera House, Los Angelesʼs Walt Disney Concert Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, and the Leipzig Bach Festival, and concerto appearances with the BBC Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Czech Radio Symphony, Orchestra La Scintilla, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, with whom he was an artistic partner for 2016–2018.

His richly-varied discography includes seven critically-acclaimed recordings for Hyperion and Deutsche Grammophon – garnering one Gramophone award, two BBC Music Magazine Awards, a Diapason d’Or and ‘Choc de Classica’ in France, and an ICMA.

Esfahani studied musicology and history at Stanford University, where he first came into contact with the harpsichord in the class of Elaine Thornburgh. Following his decision to abandon the law for music, he studied harpsichord privately in Boston with Peter Watchorn before completing his formation under the celebrated Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Růžičková. Following a three-year stint as Artist-in-Residence at New College, Oxford, he continues his academic associations as an honorary member at Keble College, Oxford, and as professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He can be frequently heard as a commentator on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 and as a host for such programs as Record Review, Building a Library, and Sunday Feature, as well as in live programmes with the popular mathematician and presenter Marcus du Sautoy; for the BBC’s Sunday Feature he is currently at work on his fourth radio documentary following two popular programmes on such subjects as the early history of African-American composers in the classical sphere and the development of orchestral music in Azerbaijan.

Born in Tehran in 1984 and raised in the United States, he lived in Milan and then London for several years before taking up residence in Prague.

Hille Perl  viola da gamba

Hille Perl

Hille Perl, born in Bremen/Germany, is considered to be one of the world's finest viola da gamba players. For more than 30 years she has been helping to bring viol music in Germany, Europe and far beyond into focus. Critics praise "her virtuoso playing full of passion, seriousness and lightness" as well as her talent for improvisation.

Hille Perl decided to play the viola da gamba after hearing a Wieland Kuijken concert at a very young age, when she was five. Since then music is the foremost means of communication between human beings for her, more precise and intense and unmistakable than language, of greater emotional significance than any other experience besides love. To her, music is a means of connecting not only the past and the future but also a way of socially integrating the most conflicting aspects of existence.

Perl has specialized in Spanish, Italian, German, solo and ensemble music of the 17th and 18th centuries, playing the treble viol, the seven-string bass viol, Baroque guitar and Lirone. With her instruments Perl travels the world, playing concerts with different groups or soloizing. She has founded several ensembles, including the Sirius Viols and Los Otros.

Perl recorded many CDs which have earned wide critical acclaim and many prizes, including several German ECHO Klassik Awards and a Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. A couple of years ago she started playing an electric viol, first as an experience for herself, then in concert and finally, she recorded a CD, “Born to be mild” (Sony), together with her daughter Marthe Perl and her long-term musical partner Lee Santana.

In 2017, Perl had her on-screen acting debut in Academy Award-winning Austrian director’s grim family drama/social commentary film, “Happy End.”

When not on tour Perl lives on a farm in northern Germany with her family and some sheep, geese, chickens, three cats and two dogs, lots of trees and also grows vegetables.

She passionately teaches her students at the University of the Arts in Bremen, Germany, everything she knows about music, playing the gamba, and how not to be jealous if someone plays better than you.

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