Full Biography

Canadian Composer, Iranian Composer, Michigan Composer

Photo by Hamid Payombarnia - Negah Magazine

Iman Habibi, D.M.A. (University of Michigan), is an Iranian-Canadian composer and pianist, and a founding member of the piano duo ensemble, Piano Pinnacle.

Hailed as “a giant in talent” (the Penticton Herald), Iman has been commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Orchestra of St. Luke's, University of Michigan’s Men’s Glee Club, Prince George Symphony Orchestra and The Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music among others, and has collaborated on recordings, performances and readings with Boston, Vancouver, Berkeley, Winnipeg, Dearborn, and Kamloops Symphony Orchestras, with Vancouver and Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestras, with Calidore, JACK, Chiara, Del Sol, and Emily Carr String Quartets, with The Vancouver Bach Choir, and DaCapo Chamber Choir, and with conductors Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bramwell Tovey, Andris Nelsons, John Adams, Jerry Blackstone, Eugene Rogers, Alexander Mickelthwate, Dina Gilbert, Leonard Enns, and Leslie Dala, among several others.

Dr. Habibi’s music and performances have been presented by The Carnegie Hall, The Marilyn Horne Foundation, New York Festival of Song, and Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center (New York), Bravo Vail Festival (Colorado), The BCScene Festival, The Canadian Opera Company, and Tapestry Opera (Ontario), Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), and the Powell Street and Sonic Boom Festivals (British Columbia), and the Gramophone Classical Music Awards (United Kingdom), among others.

His work has been recognized with four wins at SOCAN Foundation Awards, including First Prize at the SOCAN Foundation’s Awards for Young Audio-Visual Composers for two consecutive years (2011-2012), The International Composers’ Award at the Esoterics’ POLYPHONOS (2012), The Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Awards for Emerging Artist in Music (2011), Brehm Prize in Choral Music (2016), as well as numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario, Toronto, and BC Arts Councils. His music and interviews are broadcast regularly on PBS, WHYY TV, CBC radios one and two (Canada), NPR, South Carolina Public Radio, WRTI and WQXR.

His portfolio of compositions include dozens of commissions for orchestra, choir, chambers ensembles, and soloists, as well as for film and theater. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Habibi earned his Doctorate of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) at the University of Michigan under the mentorship of professors Evan ChambersMichael Daugherty, and Bright Sheng, and his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of British Columbia under the instruction of Dorothy ChangJeffrey RyanStephen Chatman, and Sara Davis Buechner. He started his musical journey in his native country of Iran, under the tutelage of Farman Behboud and Azad Hakimrabet. He has also pursued private studies with the piano duos of Kenneth Broadway and Ralph Markham in Vancouver, and Tal and Groethuysen in Munich. Iman has been a composer fellow of The Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, and frequently collaborates with them on various projects. 

As a pianist, Iman’s recent appearances included a performance of Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, as well as the premiere of Iman’s concerto for two pianos and orchestra, Amesha Spenta, with Ann Arbor Camerata. He has performed his own Piano Concerto with the Atlantic Music Festival and The Prince George Symphony Orchestras, and has also performed with Dearborn Symphony, and Dexter Community Orchestras, among others. Iman was a finalist at the Inaugural Knigge National Piano Competition, and is well-known for his collaborations with pianist Deborah Grimmett. The two pianists formed a duo in 2010, which won first prize at the United States International Duo Piano Competition, and second prize at the North West International Piano Ensemble Competition, and twice attained the audience choice award at the latter.