Thomas Nickell to Make UK Debut with London Premiere of David Matthews' Piano Concerto

Seventeen year-old pianist and Young Steinway Artist Thomas Nickell makes his much-anticipated UK debut Saturday 9th - Saturday 16th July at Cheltenham, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the London premiere of the rarely heard David Matthews' Piano Concerto, Op. 111.

Named 'The American Mozart' in the Spanish press and labelled 'a genius' by Italian music critics, Nickell is rapidly garnering praise for his strong interpretations and insightful readings of some of the piano's most demanding literature.

Nickell's UK programme sees an innovative and diverse combination of works: Britten's virtuoso tribute to his teacher, Frank Bridge, sets the scene for the London premiere of David Matthews' energetic Piano Concerto written in 2010. Matthews, described as one of Britain's finest living composers, refers to his apprenticeship in Britten's studio as 'invaluable training for a composer'. His Piano Concerto is written for just piano and strings, allowing for an abundance of melody and a movement based on a tango. Rounding out the programme are works by Bach and Liszt, including a special arrangement by Steve Martland.

Nickell will also perform his own composition, Sonata No. 3 in C major. His works are characterised by a modern language but have strong emotional sentiments consistent with a romantic spirit. He alternates between pure sonic effects utilising the full resources of the piano for their own value, and a fine sense of melodic line to create the emotional content.

As a composer, Nickell has had his works performed in Europe, Asia and the United States and continues to distinguish himself as one of the rising stars of his generation. He is credited by audiences and critics alike with not only an energetic and refined musical presence, but also a sensitivity and ability to interpret that extends well beyond his years.

Commenting on his own artistic goals, Nickell says, My long term dream is to bring something new to the piano. I don't know yet what that might be, but I want to try to make my work help people listen to music differently. I'm extremely excited to be performing in the United Kingdom, especially because of the centuries of great music that are part of its heritage and traditions. Also, it is a true pleasure to have the opportunity to work with Orchestra of the Swan and Cheltenham Symphony.

Thomas Nickell lives in New York where he has already performed at Carnegie Hall a dozen times. In 2014 a three-continent recital tour took him to cities in Italy, Japan and the United States. Orchestral debuts include 2015 performances with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago under the baton of Mina Zikri and Poland's Sinfonia Viva with conductor Tomasz Radziwonowicz. January 2016 saw his debut with the Orchestra Fiati di Ancona, with Maestro Mirco Barani, where hundreds of people had to be turned away after the performance sold out in less than an hour.

Nickell will appear in a solo recital at Brescia's Festival Pianistico in May 2016 at the invitation of the Artistic Director, Pier Carlo Orizio. This year's festival includes such world famous pianists as Mitsuko Uchida and Grigory Sokolov.

A student of Thomas Osuga, he is also coaching with Steinway Artist Cosmo Buono. Preparation for Nickell is much more than committing works to memory; he studies the composer, his history and every aspect of the work. Blessed with a maturity beyond his years, his mission remains to tell the story of a work so well that we want to hear it over and over again.

In London and Stratford, Nickell will perform with Orchestra of the Swan. Artistic Director David Curtis comments, Orchestra of the Swan is delighted to be performing with the outstanding young American pianist Thomas Nickell and we are particularly pleased that Thomas is including David Matthews' Piano Concerto for his UK debut. Orchestra of the Swan champions emerging talent and new work so this project is a perfect opportunity for composer, soloist, conductor and orchestra to introduce an extraordinary young soloist and new work to our audiences.

IF YOU GO:

Saturday 9th July, 7.30pm

with Cheltenham Symphony

At Pittville Pump Rooms, East Approach Drive, Cheltenham

Tickets are available from www.cheltenhamsymphonyorchestra.info or 0844 576 2210

Sunday 10th July, 6pm

with Orchestra of the Swan

At Stratford ArtsHouse, 14 Rother Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Tickets are available from www.stratfordartshouse.co.uk or 01789 207 100

Wednesday 13th July

Solo recital

At The Vernon Ellis Foundation, 49 Queen's Gate Terrace, London SW7 5PN

Saturday 16th July, 7.30pm

with Orchestra of the Swan

At Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG

Walton, Two pieces from Henry V
Britten, Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge
David Matthews, Piano concerto
Bach arr Martland, Toccata and Fugue in D minor
Bach, Piano concerto in D minor

Tickets are available from www.kingsplace.co.uk or 020 7520 1490

The Alexander & Buono Foundation (ABF) was established in 2008, with a mission to identify the world's most promising classical musicians and help them launch and sustain careers, while developing new audiences who understand, value, and appreciate classical music. Now, The Alexander & Buono Competitions (ABC) are designed to bring some of the world's most promising new classical artists to the attention of the public through a debut at Carnegie Hall. Since its inception ABF has helped to launch and sustain the careers of more than four hundred competition winners including pianists Jan Lisiecki and Anna Shelest and cellist Hans Kristian Goldstein

Orchestra of the Swan from Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon is Resident Associate at Stratford ArtsHouse, Associate Orchestra at Town Hall Birmingham and has concert series in Malven, Worcester and Pershore. OOTS has also performed in St David's Hall Cardiff, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Bridgewater Hall, Sage, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Royal Albert Hall. In 2014 OOTS toured China and 2016 sees the orchestra performing in Mexico and Istanbul. TV appearances include the South Bank Show and BBC 2 and CDs have been Gramophone Choice, Classic Fm and Washington Public Radio CD of the Week and the top 20 Classical Albums on Chicago Public Radio. OOTS is regularly featured on USA Performance Today networked to 260 radio stations and numerous Canadian Public Radio Stations. OOTS is a major champion of new music and has commissioned over 60 commissions including work from Joe Cutler, Tansy Davies, Joe Duddell, Alexander Goehr, Roxanna Panufnik, Paul Patterson, Joseph Phibbs, Julian Philips, Dobrinka Tabakova, Errollyn Wallen, John Woolrich and many others and in 2016-17 the orchestra celebrates its 21st anniversary with a series of new commissions.



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