Honens Prize Laureate
Pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze, whose performances have been hailed as “sparkling…sensitive and coloristic” (The New York Times) and “simply gorgeous” (Wall Street Journal), came to international attention in 2018 upon winning the triennial Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary AB Canada—among the largest prizes in classical music. His often sold-out recitals around the globe have been met with universal critical praise, and recent album releases have received extraordinary accolades, including: the Choc de Classica, Record of the Month in Limelight, Instrumental Disc of the Month in BBC Music Magazine, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Editor’s Choice in Presto Classical, and Critics’ Choice in International Piano, as well as a first-place debut in the UK charts for classical instrumental albums.
Among the most critically acclaimed musicians of his generation, Namoradze was bestowed the 2020 & 2021 Young Pianist Award by the UK Critics’ Circle, which called him “very much more than a top-flight pianist.” A Gramophone “One to Watch” and BBC Music Magazine “Rising Star,” Namoradze was also named among WQXR’s “20 for 20,” a list that “includes long-time heroes, established favorites and newcomers set for stardom who are redefining what classical music can be.” Recent critical highlights include rare five-star reviews in The Telegraph and The Guardian, which called his performance at Royal Festival Hall “ideally laconic and debonair, weighty yet exquisite, and exactingly precise in tone and touch.” A January 2022 cover feature in International Piano declared Namoradze’s Wigmore Hall debut “astonishing,” concluding that, “with so many talents and interests it is impossible to predict what this young man will go on to do: all we can be sure of is that it will be both original and unexpected.”
Activities of the 2022-23 season include residencies at Toronto Summer Music, the Honens International Piano Competition, and the Florida Grand Piano Series; recital appearances at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Le Festival Radio France Occitanie Montpellier, Beethovenfest Bonn, Miami International Piano Festival, Kulturpalast Dresden, and Lugano Musica, among others; a tour of duo recitals for piano and electronic marimba with Lukas Ligeti to mark György Ligeti’s centenary in 2023; and a series of concerto performances with multiple Canadian orchestras of a new work written for him by Kati Agócs. Highlights of recent seasons include recitals at Carnegie Hall, Konzerthaus Berlin, Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, and Boston’s Gardner Museum; appearances at Tanglewood, Banff, the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Telavi Music Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Portland Piano International, Klavier-Festival Ruhr, and more; and performances with orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel, and Milwaukee Symphony, with conductors such as Iván Fischer, Karina Canellakis, Ken-David Masur, Finnegan Downie-Dear, and Daniele Rustioni.
Among the highlights of his work as a composer are commissions and performances by leading artists and ensembles including: Ken-David Masur, Lukas Ligeti, Tessa Lark, Metropolis Ensemble, and the Momenta, Verona and Barkada Quartets, at festivals such as the Chelsea Music Festival, Honens Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Portland Piano International, and the Klavier-Festival Ruhr, among others. He has also composed and produced a number of film soundtracks, including Walking Painting by Fabienne Verdier and Nuit d’opéra à Aix, made in association with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. His compositions are published by the Japan-based Muse Press.
In tandem with his musical career, Namoradze is actively engaged in various music-related fields in the cognitive sciences. His doctoral dissertation at the CUNY Graduate Center developed mathematical models for aspects of musical perception; the work won the Barry Brook Award, a distinction for exceptional achievement, and is published by Springer as the book Ligeti’s Macroharmonies in the Computational Music Science series. He now pursues postgraduate studies in neuropsychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College, London, where his research interests include the effects of mental practice and mindfulness on musical performance. Namoradze is also the creator of IDAGIO Mindfulness, a platform on IDAGIO, the world’s leading classical music streaming app. Besides a podcast, video series, and several other resources, the core of the platform constitutes several mental skills and mindfulness training courses for both performers and listeners. As part of his work in the field, Namoradze has begun presenting a new event type, “mindful recitals,” interspersing musical performances with guided meditations that combine mindfulness practice and music appreciation.
Namoradze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1992 and grew up in Budapest, Hungary. After completing his undergraduate in Budapest, Vienna and Florence, he moved to New York for his master’s at The Juilliard School and his doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center, holding the Graduate Center Fellowship. His teachers and mentors have included Emanuel Ax, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Zoltán Kocsis, Matti Raekallio, András Schiff, and Eliso Virsaladze in piano, and John Corigliano in composition. For several years Namoradze served on the faculty of Queens College, where he taught chamber music, composition, and music history.
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