She was born in Vienna, but she’s Iran’s first female conductor

She was born to Iranian parents and visited Iran frequently. “In my heart I feel quite Iranian,” she says.

Being brought up in an Iranian family meant that she was familiar with the language and culture, but that didn’t make it easy for her to conduct an orchestra in Tehran. Aghakhani had only two weeks to work with a group of musicians from the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, to practice, and put on a concert.

So, there she was, a young woman with a foreign, European accent put in charge of a group of Iranian musicians.


“At first they didn’t know how to react to this, but after the first two or three days we connected,” Aghakhani recalls.

“We had the concert in the Vahdat Hall in Tehran. [It’s a] beautiful hall with red velvet seats, looking like the Vienna State Opera. It was sold out, [there were] over 900 people. They were carrying in extra chairs,” Aghakhani recalls.

Maestro Tjeknavorian says Iran has had female choir conductors before, but no woman had officially conducted an orchestra. But, he says, being a woman wasn’t the only reason that made the concert exceptional.

“It’s that she is a great musician and conductor,” he explains.

Read the whole story here:


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