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Farley Music Festival: Riyad Nicolas (piano)

Tuesday 18 June 2019 at 19:00

Riyad came to play for us some years ago, but we are delighted to welcome back this Syrian pianist whose individual style has just won him the coveted Liszt competition in Budapest. Not only will he play the Lizst Paganini Etude No.6, but also Beethoven’s Sonata in E flat major, Op.27, no.1, and some Russian music too, so it promises to be an exciting evening.

“Riyad is very talented and he has a very high level of musical sensitivity. He reached an impressive level of musicianship which speaks a dedication to music that bodes well for his career”

Maestro Daniel Barenboim

Riyad Nicolas, Syrian British Pianist, was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1989, and has already established himself as a leading figure of his generation on the international performing circuit. He has been complimented by such musicians as Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Lill.

Riyad has given solo recitals in many prestigious venues in London, including Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, Barbican, St. Martin-in-the-Fields,St. James’s Piccadilly, and Leighton House. Concert performances have also taken him to USA including a debut at the Kennedy Center in Washington and Chicago Cultural Center (Dame Myra Hess series), Yehudi Menuhin Forum in Switzerland and other concerts in France, Spain, Germany, the Gulf, Lebanon and Syria.

In the UK he is regularly invited to give recitals hosted by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and the Chopin Society UK, and performed extensively for over 50 music societies at the UK. He has also been invited to perform in numerous UK musical festivals such as Harrogate, Norfolk-Norwich, King’sLynn, Brighton, Devon, Darlington, Stratford-upon-Avon, Lincoln, Crediton, and Eastbourne.

Riyad made his first appearance as a soloist with an orchestra at the age of ten in Aleppo. Since then, he has performed with many orchestras including the London Chamber Orchestra at the Cadogan Hall, Emirate Symphony Orchestra in Dubai, Young Musician Symphony Orchestra at St. John’s Smith Square, Todmorden Symphony Orchestra, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra at the opening of the new Damascus Opera House, the Syrian Expat Orchestra as well as with the Gomidas Chamber Orchestra of Aleppo.

Riyad has been selected recently to be a Tillett Trust Young Artist and an artist at the Countess of Munster Trust Concert Scheme at the UK. Riyad has won numerous international prizes and awards including First Prize with a recording contract at the Francaix International Piano Competition in Paris and the first prize at the Norah Sande Award in the UK, the Christopher Duke Recital Prize in the UK and the Ciutat de Carlet International Piano Competition in Spain. He also won Second Prize at the Seiler International Piano Competition in Greece, Educational Award Prize at The London International Piano competition and was a finalist at the Busoni International Piano Competition.

Besides solo performances, Riyad is also a keen chamber music player, and has performed regularly in duos with violin and flute, collaborating with artists including the eminent flautist Wissam Boustany.

Riyad first came to London in 2005 when he was awarded a two-year scholarship to study at the Purcell School of Music with Sulamita Aronovsky, continuing to work with her at the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated in 2011.  In June 2015, Riyad graduated with a distinction in a Master of Performance course at the Royal College of Music, studying with Dmitri Alexeev and Vanessa Latarche, when he won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Chappell Piano Competition. Riyad also teaches piano at the Junior Department of Guildhall School of Music, Finchley Music School and Beethoven Music School

Through music Riyad has been promoting peace and raising awareness for the plights of the Syrian people and performing for many organizations such as UNHCR, the International Rescue Committee, the Arab British Centre, Said and Asfari Foundation.

Riyad Nicolas is one of the most exciting young artists to emerge from the Middle East.



Tickets £15.00 (£10.00 for Friends of Farley Music) from Salisbury Playhouse (01722 320333) or on the door, to include an interval drinkBuy Tickets button 6 (2015)


Provisional Programme:

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata Op.27, No.1

  1. Andante – Allegro – Andante
    2. Allegro molto e vivace
    3. Adagio con espressione
    4. Allegro vivace

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – 2 pieces from “Morceaux ” Op.72

No 14 Chant Elegiaque
No 18 Scene dansante (invitation au trepak)

Alexander Scriabin – Sonata No 5, Op.53

Sergei Rachmaninoff – Etude-tableau Op.39, No.1 in C minor


Robert Schumann – Fantasiestücke Op.12

  1. Des Abends – Sehr inning zu spielen (“In the Evening” – Play very intimately)
    2. Aufschwung – Sehr rasch (“Soaring”, literally “Upswing” – Very rapidly)
    3. Warum? – Langsam und zart (“Why?” – Slowly and tenderly)
    4. Grillen – Mit Humor (“Whims” – With humour).
    5. In der Nacht – Mit Leidenschaft (“In the Night” – with passion)
    6. “Fabel – Langsam” (“Fable” – Slowly)
    7. “Traumes Wirren” – Äußerst lebhaft (“Dream’s Confusions” – Extremely lively)
    8. “Ende vom Lied” – Mit gutem Humor (“The End of the Song” – With good humour)

Chopin Fréderic – Etude No. 25, No. 11 in A minor (Winter Wind)

Franz Liszt Paganini Etude No. 6 in A minor

All Saints' Church