South African-born pianist Nico de Villiers is a coach, accompanist and researcher 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.
Regularly performing as collaborative pianist to singers and chamber musicians Nico performed in recital at the Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Barbican, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London; the Kammermusiksaal in Bonn, Germany and the Mozarteum Grosser Saal in Salzburg. Festival performances include performances at the Salzburg Festival, Edinburgh Festival , Oxford Lieder Festival, Chopin Birthday Festival in Warsaw, Poland and the International Johannesburg Mozart Festival in South Africa. As repetiteur Nico worked with various groups including the BBC Singers, Cumbernauld Choir (Glasgow), opera scenes performances for the Oxenfoord Summer Programme (Scotland), the Aderley International Music School (England), and Queens Park Singers. Nico has been the assistant director of music of the Lewisham Choral Society since 2009.
Nico worked as vocal coach at various institutions including the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, Trinity Laban Conservatory, Royal College of Music, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, UK. Masterclasses and Workshops include institutions such as the Birmingham Conservatory (UK), Kungliga Musikhögskolan in Stockholm, Sweden, the Universities of Stellenbosch, Pretoria and the Free State, South Africa. He has been on the faculty of various summer programmes including the Oxenfoord Summer Programme in Scotland, the Abingdon Summer School of Solo Singers, Aderley International Music School in England, the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Nico is currently a coach on the vocal faculty of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a visiting coach at the Royal College of Music and Drama.
As researcher Nico has a particular interest in the unearthing and performance of neglected and undiscovered composers. In 2008 Nico performed a complete series of the piano chamber music of Hungarian pianist-conductor-composer Ernst von Dohnányi (1877-1960) at the Guildhall School or Music and Drama. Nico made the first recording of the Piano Sonata 1958 by Polish pianist-composer André Tchaikowsky (1935-1982). This recording features in the entertaining:tv documentary Rebel of the Keys which focuses on Tchaikowsky’s life and the revival of his opera The Merchant of Venice at the Bergen Festival. Nico performed some of Tchaikowsky’s piano works and songs in the UK, Poland and South Africa. Nico completed his PhD research at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama focusing on the songs of Richard Hageman. His thesis The Becoming Of A Song Composer: a critical re-evaluation of Richard Hageman and his songs is a performance-based body of research. The study focuses on the development of Dutch-born American composer Richard Hageman’s (1881-1966) artistic identity and his contribution to the American art song genre. In 2011 Nico founded the Richard Hageman Society (RHS) to focus scholarship and research into the work and life of this Dutch-born American composer. As director of the RHS Nico opened the Richard Hageman Aqueduct as well as unveiled a memorial plaque at Hageman’s birthplace in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Nico widely performed Hageman’s songs, curated exhibitions of the RHS archives, and presented various lecture recitals and presentations at conferences and symposiums in the UK, the USA, and the Netherlands.
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Nico de Villiers gratefully acknowledges the continual support of Mr. Leslie MacLeod Miller at LMM Associates.