Eco Academy in the Forest

The Shirvani Sisters

The Shirvani Sisters


Sisters Leila and Sara Shirvani, were born in Rome in 1992 and 1999 respectively to an English mother and a Persian father.

They are both award-winning musicians with extensive concert, recording and teaching CVs:

Cellist Leila, a pupil of her father Mike Shirvani and Giovanni Sollima, boasts more than 30 first prizes and absolute prizes in national and international competitions and three degrees with top marks between London, Manchester and Rome. She is a Fellow of the London College of Music and was awarded by President Napolitano in 2009 and together with Ennio Morricone and Antonio Pappano by President Mattarella in 2019. From the President of the Republic Mattarella Leila received the Sinopoli Prize, an award reserved each year for the best student of the advanced course of instrumental perfection of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia.

Since years Leila is protagonist of numerous concerts, including with orchestra, at the Cappella Paolina del Quirinal broadcast live on Radio 3 in October 2019, at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago and at the Ravenna Festival in 2020. 

November 2021 saw the release of Leila Shirvani’s solo album “Cello-Konzerte” recorded with the ONC orchestra and released in Antes Edition by the German record label Bella Musica: (see review on )

At just 29 Leila Shirvani is appointed professor of Cello at the Conservatory of Monopoli.


Pianist Sara also graduated with top marks from the London College of Music. Already at the age of 11 she was winner of the prestigious ‘Premio Bucchi’, a competition entirely dedicated to contemporary music. Since then she has collaborated with several living composers, lending her sound to numerous first performances. Sara has performed in prestigious halls such as La Cappella Paolina del Quirinale, the Politeama Garibaldi in Palermo, Palazzo Pitti in Florence, the Ravennal Festival and for the Amici della Scala.


Sara and Leila founded the chamber music duo “The Shirvani Sisters” which, among other things, performed at the Cappella Paolina del Quirinale on the occasion of the Quirinale Concert for 25 April 2021 broadcast live on television on Rai Play and live on radio on Rai 3. The Duo gave numerous concerts in halls such as those of the Politeama Garibaldi in Palermo, the Salone Margherita in Rome, the Palacultura Antonello in Messina, the Apollo Theater in Lecce and many others. On December 15th 2022,  in the Sala Verdi of the Milan Conservatory the sisters played the Radio Classica FM Christmas Concert broadcast on Radio Classica FM on the evenings of the 24th and 25th of december.

They are also very active in the field of jazz music, playing on stages such as the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome with artists such as Paolo Fresu and Daniele di Bonaventura. They have recorded the albums “Lumina” (Tuk Music, 2017) and “Clorofilla” (Tuk Music, 2019), produced and conceived by Paolo Fresu.

The sisters have been teaching their instruments for years and since 2017 they have been organising, together with their father Prof. Mike Shirvani, the summer masterclasses “Mediterranean Musical Encounters”, which aim to unite people from different cultures through music and to hold concerts in unusual places: with performances on small boats at sea, with concerts in the squares of semi-abandoned villages and with open-air master classes in the mountains, the Shirvani sisters ennoble nature as the most majestic concert hall ever.


Sisters Leila and Sara Shirvani’s desire to promote music and their sensitivity towards the environment have led to their innovative project, the Eco Academy in the Woods, an environmentally sustainable music academy that provides creative spaces in direct contact with nature where artists can share experiences, cultures and different ways of making art. The academy is currently under construction in the Province of Rieti.

The Eco Academy has been talked about by the Shirvani Sisters on numerous television and radio programmes such as Kilimangiaro and Stefano Bollani’s Via dei Matti number zero on Rai 3, a report on TG 1, Linea Verde on Rai 1, on TeleAmbiente and Iran International as well as on Rai Radio 3.


The sisters are often referred to as ‘activist musicians’: they have repeatedly taken their instruments onto the streets for environmental engagements, protesting against intensive livestock farming, deforestation, hunting and illegal dumps. Leila was particularly talked about in the media when in Rome she tied herself to a pine tree with her instrument in her hand and played tied to the tree to prevent it being cut down. They are also currently expressing their civil commitment in the theatrical-musical show “Il boato di un no” (The roar of a no), denouncing on stage with actress Barbara Amodio the still too widespread violence against women.

With their repertoire “Persepolis” dedicated to Persian music and pieces inspired by Persian culture, the sisters raise public awareness of the immense musical cultural baggage and the condition of Persian femal musicians.

Leila shares the stage with the Italian singer Ornella Vanoni on her tour”Women and music”.