South African-born pianist Nico de Villiers is a doctoral candidate at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, researching the art songs of Dutch-born American composer Richard Hageman (1881-1966). Nico holds degrees from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, University of Michigan, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has been the recipient of various awards including scholarships from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the Mary Paton Memorial Trust, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, University of Michigan, the International Opera Awards and the Guildhall School of Music. Nico won the Accompanist of the Year award at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow in 2005, and won the same title at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London in 2008.
In his formative years in South Africa Nico studied with Johan Cromhout and was a prize winner at various national music competitions. In 1999 he made his debut with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. The following year he performed with the Odeion Sinfonietta and the Odeion String Quartet, both ensembles resident at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He was the winner of the Musicon National Piano Competition (now the National Arts Trust Piano Competition), Belville Academy Music competition and was awarded prizes at the ABSA National Youth Music Competition as well as the 9th Hennie Joubert Piano Competition.
Nico has performed in recital internationally at venues including the Kennedy Center (Terrace Theatre) in Washington DC, USA, the Barbican and Wigmore Hall in London, Symphony Hall in Birmingham and St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales, the Mozarteum Grosser Saal in Salzburg, Kammermusiksaal in Bonn, and the Rudolph Oetkerhalle in Bielefeld. Nico has furthermore broadcast for NPR (USA), Polskie Radio, BBC Radio 3, BBC Four and Sky Arts. He features in the EntertainingTV documentary on Polish composer and pianist André Tchaikowsky entitled Rebel of the Keys. Festival performances include appearances at the Buckingham Festival, the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Salzburg Festival.
Nico was an assistant faculty member at the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic in 2006 and 2008. He was coach in operatic and Lieder repertoire at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria between 2008 and 2012, as well as the Abingdon Summer School and Oxenfoord Summer Programmes in the UK. Nico led masterclasses internationally at various institutions including the Birmingham Conservatory, the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden as well as the Universities of Pretoria, Stellenbosch and the Free State in South Africa.
In addition to his doctoral research Nico recently co-authored the first ever Richard Hageman biography with Dutch author Asing Walthaus, entitled Making The Tailcoats Fit. The Dutch translation, De Fries Die Een Oscar Won, will be released later in 2016. Through the initiative of founding the Richard Hageman Society, Nico was involved in the inauguration of the Richard Hageman Aqueduct in Leeuwarden, as well as the unveiling of a memorial plaque outside Hageman’s birthplace in Leeuwarden.
Nico is also an enthusiastic educator, teaching piano at the Junior Trinity Laban as well as the Leeds College of Music. He most recently was awarded the Most Innovative Teaching Award by the Leeds College of Music.
For further information regarding Nico’s activities, please visit www.nicodevilliers.com
[Image: Sebastian Charlesworth]