South African-born pianist Nico de Villiers has been the Assistant Director of Music at the Lewisham Choral Society since 2009. He is a coach, collaborative pianist, and researcher based in London. He holds degrees from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the University of Michigan, as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
He has performed in prestigious venues such as the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London’s Southbank Centre, the Barbican and St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London; Birmingham Symphony Hall; the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC; the Kammermusiksaal in Bonn, Germany; and the Mozarteum Grosser Saal in Salzburg, Austria. Festival performances include the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Chopin Birthday Festival in Warsaw, Poland, and the International Johannesburg Mozart Festival in South Africa. As repetiteur Nico has worked with various groups including the BBC Singers, Cumbernauld Choir (Glasgow), opera scenes performances for the Oxenfoord Summer Programme (Scotland), the Aderley International Music School (England), as well as Hampstead Garden Opera, The Opera Story and Queens Park Singers in London.
Nico is a coach on the vocal faculty of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama as well as a visiting coach at the Royal College of Music. He has been a vocal coach at various tertiary institutions including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, Trinity Laban Conservatory. Masterclasses and workshops include institutions such as Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, University of Portland, Portland, Oregon (USA), the Birmingham Conservatory (UK), Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm (Sweden) and various universities across his native South Africa. He has been on the faculty of various summer programmes including the Oxenfoord Summer Programme in Scotland, the Abingdon Summer School of Solo Singers and the Aderley International Music School in England, the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria, the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic and the Jablonski Piano Academy in Karlskrona, Sweden.
As researcher Nico has a particular interest in the unearthing and performance of neglected and undiscovered composers. In 2008 Nico performed a complete series of the piano chamber music of Hungarian pianist-conductor-composer Ernst von Dohnányi at the Guildhall School or Music and Drama. Nico made the first recording of Polish pianist-composer André Tchaikowsky’s Piano Sonata, and features in the documentary Rebel of the Keys which focuses on Tchaikowsky’s life and the revival of his opera The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival. Nico performed some of Tchaikowsky’s piano works and songs in the UK, Poland and South Africa. Nico completed his doctoral research in 2018 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, focusing on the songs of the Dutch-born American and Oscar-winning composer and conductor Richard Hageman. In 2011 Nico founded the Richard Hageman Society (RHS) to focus scholarship and research into Hagemann’s work and life. As director of the RHS Nico opened the Richard Hageman Aqueduct and unveiled a memorial plaque at Hageman’s birthplace in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Nico has widely performed Hageman’s songs, curated exhibitions of the RHS archives, and presented various lecture recitals and presentations at conferences and symposiums in the UK, the USA, the Netherlands and Georgia. His articles have been published in Classical Singer, Pianist and Opera magazines; he co-authored a booklet on Richard Hageman for Wijdemeer publications in the Netherlands, and is currently authoring the first critical biography on Richard Hageman for Peter Lang Publishing in the US.
For further information regarding Nico’s activities, please visit www.nicodevilliers.com