Nicholas Walker

Biography Nicholas Walker

Nicholas Walker
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, and Chandos. Equally at home in chamber music, he is sought after as an imaginative and sensitive accompanist, and his recent CD with Lydia Mordkovitch of Russian 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 for ASV (CD DCA 940 & 1048) have received great critical acclaim, and he is currently recording a complete Balakirev series for Naxos. 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'.

Apart from his current preparations for a series of Balakirev Centenary Celebration concerts in London at St. John's smith Square, he is continuing with his ongoing 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; recordings of these concertos are planned for the future. In addition to his interests as a researcher, Nicholas is also a gifted composer, and his 'Salvete Flores Martyrum' Millennium commission from Godolphin School Choir is available on VIF (VRCD027). Nicholas Walker teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he devised the current keyboard skills course, the advanced level of which not only requires students to play from a complicated orchestral score and be proficient in all aspects of practical musicianship, but offers them the chance to learn how to compose/improvise cadenzas for Mozart concertos in addition to devising and performing a virtuoso transcription of their own. Occasional concerts are put on of the best of these transcriptions. Nicholas also teaches piano at Southampton University and is regularly invited to give masterclasses and lectures on piano interpretation.

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