Since 1997 he has divided his musical interests between the study of Iranian folk music traditions and the performance of the classical santur. He has collected an audiovisual archive of music and instruments from Northern Khorasan and has arranged a series of radio lectures on the different schools of santur playing and its techniques.
In 2000 Aghaei was invited by Kayhan Kalhor to join his ensemble and the Silk Road Ensemble, with whom he tours around the world. He also performs with Ensemble Aftaab and Atlas Ensemble. He founded the group Santurnavazan (Santur Players) to promote the distinct performing techniques and sound possibilities of his instrument.