Nassrollah Zarrinpanjeh was born in 1906 in Tehran. He lost his parents at an early age and was forced to enter the military academy, which provided him with a small stipend and an education. He learned to play some of the wind instruments in the army band and to read and write musical notation. His first tar teacher was Rabi Khan, who was the brother of Darvish Khan. Later he studied with Hossein Hang Afarin, Morteza Neydavoud, Yahya Zarpanjeh and Ali Akbar Shahnazi. He completed his training in the radif of Persian music with Moussa Maroufi. In 1941, when Alinaqi Vaziri returned to the Tehran Conservatory, Zarrinpanjeh entered the conservatory and continued his studies with Hossein Sanjari.
Zarrinpanjeh was one of the first musicians to be chosen by Rouhollah Khaleghi for membership in the National Music Society Orchestra. He was later offered the position of tar instructor at the School of National Music and was instrumental in the publication of the teaching methods for tar and setar that were
published by the school. Today many of the finest tar and setar virtuosos in Iran, such as Houshang Zarif, and Jalal Zolfonoun, are the product of his life-long teaching efforts. He was also the founder of the Orchestra of National Instruments at the music school.
He collaborated with various ensembles at the Radio Iran for many years and has written more than fifty compositions, which have been performed repeatedly by the finest orchestras and vocalists. Some of his best known works include Mehman, Afsun-e Sokhan, Saqi, Atash-e Khamush, Babolsar, Fariba, and Mastaneh.
Zarrinpanjeh died in 1981 in Tehran. He is survived by two daughters, Mahin (a pianist) and Shahin (a violinist), both of whom graduated from the School of National Music and were very active in the Persian musical scene before the Revolution of 1979.