'Syria's leadingyoung pianist ...A fine account of Debussy's Images Book I ...Jean Francaix work delivered with Galic Charm, and some superb Messiaen.'
'...this paragon of pianistic prestidigitation...seeting a new gold standard",
'..he had given a prodigious recital which rose head and shoulders above everything else we have heard this year','...every aspect of his performance...melding all together into an indissoluble unity of conception.'
Beethoven Piano Society of Europe.
'A wonderful blend of intelligence and technical mastery with its huge range of colours and rhythms, deftly negotiated by Riyad with great virtuosity'.
Riyad Nicolas was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1989.He started playing the piano at the age of six studying with Joumana Ilias. Having displayed remarkable progress, Riyad joined the Arab Institute of Music in Aleppo in 1997. Under the supervision of Michael Kotcharov, he won the Best Piano Student Prize of the Syrian Arab Republicfor two consecutive years (1998-1999).
From 1999, Riyad continued his studies in Syria with Vladimir Kasatkin. In the following 5 years, he gave several solo recitals , as well as concerto performances with the chamber orchestras in Aleppo and Damascus.During a visit by the musical team of Apple Hill Centre (NEw Hampshire, USA), Riyad was chosen as the most promising pianist and invited to visit them in the USA. He also had several invitations to perform in the Lebanon and the Gul states. Having won the top prize in the 1st Syria National Piano Competition 2004, he subsequently performed with the Syrian National Symphoney Orchestra at the opening of of the new Opera House in Damascus.
In 2005, Riyad was selected to take part in the London International
Piano Competition where he won an Educational Award. The same year he
was accepted at The Purcell School, where he was awarded a two-year
scholarship to study with Sulamita Aronovsky. He continued working
with her at the Royal Academy of Music and graduated in 2011. In
September 2013, Riyad has been awarded a scholarship under the title
“a Steinway Scholar supported by a Frederick Johnston Award” to
do a Master of Performance course at the Royal College of Music,
studying with Dmitri Alexeev
his studies in the UK, Riyad won 2 Prize in the Seiler International Piano Competition, Greece in 2006. His successes included 1
Prize (with a CD recording offer) at the 2008 Jean Françaix
International Piano Competition in Paris, and in 2009 he was a
prizewinner in the Ciutat de Carlet International Piano Competition,
2012, Riyad was awarded 1st prize in the Christopher Duke Piano
Recital Competition and in July 2013, Riyad won 1
prize in Norah Sande Award in Eastbourne, UK
recent years, Riyad’s performance highlights have included the
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3 with the Young Musicians Symphony
Orchestra at St. John’s Smith Square; a recital during the Nour
Festival at Leighton House, prompting critics to comment on the
exceptional brilliance of the young artist; his performance of Chopin
Concerto No.1 with the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra in Dubai
which was received with great acclaim.
2012, he gave
his debut at the Wigmore Hall as a result of being represented by the
Tillett Trust Young Artists’ Platform. He also performed
in festivals such as Honiton, Harrogate, Norfolk-Norwich, King's
Lynn, Darlington, Crediton, Brighton, Devon among others. His latest
triumph was a performance of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor Concerto’ at
the Cadogan Hall in May 2013 with the London Chamber Orchestra which
contributed towards raising over £140,000 for the International Rescue Committee- Syrian Relief.
Nicolas is one of the most exciting musicians to emerge from the
gratefully acknowledges the support of Said Foundation, Asfari
Foundation and Countess of Munster Trust