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Niloufar Nourbakhsh

Niloufar Nourbakhsh
Composition and Theory

“I made a risky decision as a teenager to live life as an artist. There was something so magical and mystical and inexplicable and beautiful about music that made sense to me, and made sense of life. I hoped then and still wish that through our vision as storytellers, we can recreate a future that is essentially better for all forms of life. This is why I do what I do. If we cannot imagine a better future version of life, we might as well not live it at all. And throughout this process, we have a fundamental responsibility to make sure everyone has an equal access to platforms and resources for sharing their vision, because shaping a better future must necessarily be a collective effort.

I see teaching as a grave responsibility, and even after seven years of experience, there are always new things for me to learn in a classroom. Teaching composition is specifically a challenging and delicate subject, and the most important device that I try to pass on to my music composition students is the practice of integrity; to encourage them to aim for an honest voice in their composition practice; to be themselves. I believe that through honesty they can find their own original sound. But most importantly, I see myself as a facilitator, introducing various tools that can help them find their own original sound.”

Described as “stark” by WNPR and “darkly lyrical” by the New York Times, a winner of the Second International Hildegard commission award, a 2019 recipient of Opera America’s Discovery Grant, and winner of 2022 Beth Morrison Projects Next Generation competition, Niloufar Nourbakhsh’s music has been performed at numerous festivals and venues including Carnegie Hall, Mostly Mozart at Lincoln Center, and Direct Current Festival at the Kennedy Center. A founding member and co-director of Iranian Female Composers Association, Nourbakhsh is a strong advocate of music education and equal opportunities. She is currently an adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University as co-artistic director of Peabody Conservatory Laptop Orchestra. Niloufar holds a doctoral degree from Stony Brook University and regularly performs with her Ensemble Decipher.