Nicholas Walker

Biography

"The flair of a full-scale virtuoso and a sparkling intelligence."

Hailed by the London Evening Standard as a 'prodigy, of awesome technical fluency backed by exceptional artistry', Nicholas Walker possesses a rare combination of talents combining sensitivity with 'the flair of a full scale virtuoso and a sparkling intelligence' (BBC Music Magazine).

He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won all the major awards for both piano and composition, and subsequently at the Moscow Conservatoire.

While still a student in Moscow, he won the First Newport International Piano Competition and has since played with many British Orchestras, including the City of Birmingham and National Symphony Orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, the London Festival and New Queen's Hall Orchestras, the Philharmonia and the BBC National Symphony Orchestra of Wales. As well as performing in all the major London concert halls, he has played in North and South America, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Scandinavia, Australia and Russia. He has recorded for BBC Radio 3, Cirrus, ASV, BMG Arte Nova, Chandos, Toccata Classics and Naxos Grand Piano. Equally at home in chamber music, he is sought after as an imaginative and sensitive accompanist, and his CD with Lydia Mordkovitch of Russian violin music was Daily Telegraph CD of the week.

"This playing is vital and alive"

Although Walker's performances of Beethoven have brought him special acclaim, and his performances of the lyrical and late romantic piano music have also been singled out for the highest praise, it is for his championing of the cause of the neglected leader of 'The Mighty Handful', Mili Alexei Balakirev, that he is best known. Described by David Murray in the Financial Times as 'the nearest thing to a natural Balakirev performer', Walker's two discs of Balakirev piano music which he made for ASV received great critical acclaim, but his new series for Naxos Grand Piano will be unique, in that it introduces music that has never before been performed or published, including a substantial sonata and works that Nicholas has completed himself. According to American Record Guide it promises to be the “reference set” and the CDs have so far garnered enthusiastic reviews. He has also received high praise for his performances of other Russian composers, including his live recording of the Liapunov Sonata on Danacord (DACOCD 539), described by Jeremy Nicholas as 'thrilling… a tour de force'.

"...technically, this pianist knows no peers, and his unfailing musicality was displayed with breathtaking effect..."

In 2010 Nicholas devised and presented the Balakirev Festival at St John’s Smith Square in London, which included a number of world première performances. He continues with his project of preparing an edition of all Johann Baptist Cramer's piano concertos, the first of which he played in the London Festival Orchestra's 'Virtuoso Pianists' series; future recordings of these concertos are planned. Nicholas is also a gifted composer: his 'Salvete Flores Martyrum' Millennium commission from Godolphin School Choir can be found on this website here. He has also had a particularly successful collaboration with the Skomorokhi ensemble of St Petersburg, led by Viktor Akulovich who has arranged a number of works by Balakirev for his remarkable Russian folk orchestra.

Nicholas Walker teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he devised the celebrated keyboard skills course, the advanced level of which not only helps students to be proficient in all aspects of practical musicianship, but offers them the chance to learn how to improvise in various forms, such as minuets, variations, sonatinas and Mozart-type cadenzas, in addition to devising and performing a virtuoso transcription of their own.

Nicholas prefers to learn more music than update his website!

Concert pianist Nicholas Walker
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