Niloufar Nourbakhsh

Niloufar Nourbakhsh is a New York City-based Iranian composer and pianist, who founded the Iranian Female Composers Association.


Born in Iran, Nourbakhsh is known for her contemporary classical compositions for piano, orchestra, chamber groups, voice, electronics, and mixed media. She began her musical studies at the piano at the Sarang Institute of Music in Karaj, Iran.[1] At the age of fourteen, she entered the piano studio of Arash Abbasi, a composer and pianist at Tehran University.[2] She won the 2nd prize of Iran’s national piano biennale competition at the age of fifteen, performing at the Roudaki Hall. She completed one year of study in music and math at the University of Oxford.[3] She then moved to the United States to get her bachelor's degree, receiving a B.A. from Goucher College in 2014.[3]

Nourbakhsh currently resides in New York City and is a doctoral student in composition at Stony Brook University. She teaches piano at the Brooklyn Music School.[4] She is the founder of the Iranian Female Composers Association.[5] She is a Teaching Artist Associate for composition students of the New York Philharmonic Young Composers program.[6]

Selected Works

Nourbakhsh composes for solo piano, orchestra, voice, chamber ensembles, and regularly incorporates electronic media into her compositions. Nourbakhsh’s composition “F I X E D HbeaRt” for piano and live electronics was named as the First Prize Winner of the emerging composers competition by the Emilio del Rosario Music Foundation and was performed in Chicago as part of the Thirsty Ears Festival in August 2018.[7]

Nourbakhsh gained attention for her vocal piece, “An Aria for the Executive Order,” in reaction to President Donald J. Trump’s Travel Ban Executive Order 13769 as part of the Hartford Women Composers Festival. The text is taken from the Travel Ban and Philip Roth's 2010 novel Nemesis. The piece and Nourbakhsh was featured on NPR in March 2017.[8]

  • “F I X E D HbeaRt” for solo piano and live electronics
  • “Firing Squad” for Reed Quintet and Fixed Media, commissioned by I-Park Foundation
  • “We the Innumerable” – first scene of an opera premiered at Stony Brook University
  • “Knell” (2018) for Orchestra
  • “Run Run” (2017) for Orchestra
  • “Lambda of Life’s Frequency” (2014) for Orchestra
  • “I prologue II Lambda III Epilogue” for Orchestra
  • “Syria, a Fractal of WE” (2015) for Violin, Bassoon, and Piano
  • “White Helmets as white as death” for two violins and flute
  • “No One is Born Hating Another Person” – for fixed media for Spark and Echo Arts
  • “An Aria for the Executive Order” for voice and piano, commissioned by Women Composers Festival of Hartford
  • “Thistle, Serenade” for soprano and piano
  • “e, ee, ree, and I was free,” for Vocal Octet
  • “Logic Run Wild” (2015) for Calidore String Quartet
  • “She Waltz” (2014) for Violin and Piano
  • “To the Lighthouse” (2014), a tribute to Virginia Woolf, for Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, violin, piano, and percussion

Selected Commissions

Selected Honors

  • 2017 > Women Composers Festival of Hartford[9]
  • 2017 > Spark and Echo Project[10]
  • 2018 > composer for PUBLIQUARTET[11]
  • 2018 > Composers + Musicians Collaborative Residency, I-Park Foundation[12]
  • 2019 > Hildegard Competition for Female, Trans, and Nonbinary Composers Winner[13]



  1. ^ -
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Niloufar Nourbakhsh". Brooklyn Music School.
  5. ^ "Nilou Nour - Composer Pianist". Nilou Nour - Composer Pianist.
  6. ^ "Very Young Composers, Bridge".
  7. ^ Nour, Nilou (4 June 2018). "EDR Foundation announces winners".
  8. ^ Hardman, Ray. "Music Based On Trump's Original Travel Ban Gets World Premiere In Hartford".
  9. ^ "Page 5".
  10. ^ "No One is Born Hating Another Person by Niloufar Nourbakhsh - Spark+Echo Arts". Spark and Echo.
  11. ^ "2018 PQA Composers". PUBLIQuartet.
  12. ^ "2018 Composers + Musicians Collaborative Music Residency - I-Park Foundation, Inc".
  13. ^ "National Sawdust Announces Winners of Second Annual Hildegard Competition for Female, Trans, and Nonbinary Composers - 21C Media Group - Publicity. Digital Media. Consulting. For Music, Culture, & the Performing Arts".

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