Mahan Esfahani was born in Tehran in 1984 and received his first guidance on the piano from his Iranian father before exploring an interest in the harpsichord as a teenager.
He went on to study musicology and history at Stanford University, where he was mentored by George Houle, before studying intensively with Peter Watchorn in Boston and completing his formation with Zuzana Růžičková in Prague. In Stanford University, his teachers included Elaine Thornburgh, Herbert Myers, George Houle, Heather Hadlock, and Adam Gilbert. He subsequently continued harpsichord studies with Peter Watchorn in Boston, with Lorenzo Ghielmi in Milan, and later with Zuzana Růžičková. He was Artist-in-Residence at New College, Oxford from 2008 to 2010.
From 2008 to 2010, Esfahani was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, the first harpsichordist named as a New Generation Artist. He received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2009, the first harpsichordist and first Iranian in the history of the award. Esfahani made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2009 as a concerto soloist with The English Concert. Later in 2009, he made his debut at The Proms in 3 concerts that featured New Generation Artists. In July 2011, Esfahani gave the first solo harpsichord recital in the history of The Proms, at Cadogan Hall. He returned to The Proms in July 2012, leading the Academy of Ancient Music in his own arrangement of JS Bach's The Art of Fugue. Outside of the UK, his New York debut was at the Frick Collection in March 2012.
Esfahani recorded Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Wurttemberg Sonatas for Hyperion Records, and the recording won a 2014 Gramophone Award in the Baroque Instrumental category. The same recording won him the BBC Music Magazine Award's 'Best Newcomer' award the following year. 2014 also saw Hyperion release his two-disc set of the complete harpsichord works of Jean-Philippe Rameau. In 2014, Esfahani signed a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon (DG), and his first DG recording, 'Time Present and Time Past', was released in 2015.
- "Mahan Esfahani: Byrd, Bach, Ligeti" (2014), Wigmore Hall Live
- "C.P.E. Bach: Wurttemberg Sonatas" (2014), Hyperion
- "Rameau: Pièces de clavecin" (2014), Hyperion
- "Time Present and Time Past" (2015), Deutsche Grammophon
- "Bach: Goldberg Variations" (2016), Deutsche Grammophon
- "Bull: Complete Keyboard Music, Vol. 1" (2009), Musica Omnia - Peter Watchorn and Mahan Esfahani
- "Sacred And Secular Music From Renaissance Germany" (2006), Naxos - with Ciaramella Ensemble
- "Arcangelo Corelli. La Follia, Six Sonatas opus 5" (2014), OUR Recordings - with Michala Petri
- "Ukdk:Contemporary Recorder" (2015), OUR Recordings - with Michala Petri
- Mahan Esfahani (2012-07-20). "Mahan Esfahani: Why I'm proud to take part in the Proms". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Fiona Maddocks (2012-07-28). "Proms 9, 10, 12 ,13: West-Eastern Divan Orchestra; Cadogan Hall Proms; Falstaff – review". The Observer. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Vivien Schweitzer (2012-04-02). "At Some Recitals, It's All About the Encore". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
- Andrew Clements (2014-01-23). "CPE Bach: Württemberg Sonatas – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Imogen Tilden (2014-09-17). "James Galway and Riccardo Chailly win at Gramophone classical awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Julie Anne Sadie (December 2014). "Rameau: Pièces de Clavecin". Gramophone. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Martin Cullingford (2014-08-01). "Mahan Esfahani signs recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon". Gramophone. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- Erica Jeal (2015-05-14). "Mahan Esfahani: Time Present and Time Past CD review – sparky minimalist-baroque comparisons". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
- "Mahan Esfahani appointed as Professor of Harpsichord" (Press release). Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 2015-07-21.
- Official Mahan Esfahani website
- Management biography - Rayfield Allied
- Colbert Artists Management Inc.
- Interview with Monorail Magazine
- Creativity Foundation page on Esfahani
- BBC Radio 3 biography of Mahan Esfahani
- Martin Cullingford, 'A Proms first: a solo harpsichord recital'. Gramophone (blog entry), 19 July 2011
- Borletti-Buitoni Trust page on Esfahani
- 2014 Gramophone Award, Baroque Instrumental