South African-born pianist Nico de Villiers is an accompanist, teacher and coach, 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 where he is currently undertaking his doctoral study.
In his formative years in South Africa Nico studied with Johan Cromhout and was a prize winner at various national music competitions. In 1999 he made his debut with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. The following year he performed with the Odeion Sinfonietta and the Odeion String Quartet, both ensembles resident at the University of the Free State, South Africa.
De Villiers’ flamboyant and assertive interpretation of these challenging works [by Cecilia McDowall and André Tchaikowsky]…had the audience members on their feet!
Nico de Villiers’ playing was understated and polished. Quite excellent.
He is extraordinarily conscientious, meticulous in his preparation.
Nico performs regularly with his duo partner, soprano, Marie Vassiliou. Together they form the Melicus Duo and have been working together since early 2011; they are both passionate about exploring the song repertory. Engagements have included recitals for: Buckingham Festival, Leeds Lieder, Music at the Old Chapels, St Lawrence Jewry Festival and Song in the City evening series. Nico and Marie delight in creating imaginative and inventive programmes and like to programme mainstream repertoire, as well as unjustly neglected works.
They are preparing several programmes for upcoming UK recital engagements and a tour of South Africa and have recently recorded the first ever disc devoted entirely to the songs of Dutch-American composer, Richard Hageman. The disc will be released in 2015. The Melicus Duo’s performances of Hageman have attracted much interest and have led to several invitations, including a performance at the opening of the Hageman Aquaduct, in Hageman’s birthplace, Leeuwarden, later this year.
Listen to the Melicus Duo perform “Love’s Philosophy by Quilter” below.
Nico de Villiers recently recorded the Piano Sonata (1958) for Toccata Classics, launched at the André Tchaikowsky Symposium at Leeds College of Music on 1 November 2013.
André Tchaikowsky is mainly known as an internationally acclaimed concert pianist. Following the recent revival of his opera The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival Toccata Classics commenced a recording project of recording various works by André Tchaikowsky. Toccata Classics is dedicated to recording the music of composers whose works have been neglected.
Listen to the Second Movement of the André Tchaikowsky Piano Sonata below
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