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Riyad Nicolas
Riyad has kindly stepped in at the last minute as Alexandra Vaduva is unable to be at the Festival

– Posted in: Saturday 27 April 12.30pm

Book nowWaterfront Hall (to 1.30pm, no interval) £12/£10/£5


‘Riyad is very talented and he has a very high level of musical sensitivity. He reached an impressive level of musicianship which speaks a dedication to music that bodes well for his career’ Daniel Barenboim

‘…this paragon of pianistic prestidigitation…setting a new gold standard” Beethoven Piano Society of Europe.


Bach Prelude and Fugue book 2, No.1

Beethoven Sonata Op.  27, No.1

Tchaikovsky 2 pieces from “Morceaux” Op.72

Scriabin Sonata No.1

Rachmaninoff Etude op. 39, No.1

Paganini Liszt Etude No.6 

Riyad Nicolas is one of the most exciting young artists to emerge from the Middle East. Born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1989, he has already established himself as a leading figure of his generation on the international performing circuit and has been praised by some of the most respected musicians in the world including Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Ashkenazy and John Lill.

Riyad has given solo recitals in many prestigious venues in London, including Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall, Barbican, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. James’s Piccadilly, and Leighton House. Concert performances have also taken him to USA including a debut at the Kennedy Centre in Washington and Chicago Cultural Centre (Dame Myra Hess series), Yehudi Menuhin Forum in Switzerland and other concerts in France, Spain, Germany, the Gulf, Lebanon and Syria.

In the UK he is regularly invited to give recitals hosted by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe and the Chopin Society UK and has performed extensively for over 50 music societies at the UK. He has also been invited to perform in numerous UK musical festivals such as Harrogate, Norfolk-Norwich, King’s Lynn, Brighton, Devon, Darlington, Stratford-upon-Avon, Lincoln, Crediton, and Eastbourne.

Riyad made his first appearance as a soloist with an orchestra at the age of ten in Aleppo. Since then, he has performed with many orchestras including the London Chamber Orchestra at the Cadogan Hall, Emirate Symphony Orchestra in Dubai, Young Musician Symphony Orchestra at St. John’s Smith Square, Todmorden Symphony Orchestra, the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra at the opening of the new Damascus Opera House, the Syrian Expat Orchestra as well as with the Gomidas Chamber Orchestra of Aleppo.

Riyad has been selected recently to be a Tillett Trust Young Artist and an artist at the Countess of Munster Trust Concert Scheme at the UK. Riyad has won numerous international prizes and awards including First Prize with a recording contract at the Francaix International Piano Competition in Paris and the 1st prize at the Norah Sande Award and the Christopher Duke Recital Prize both in the UK and the Ciutat de Carlet International Piano Competition in Spain. He also won 2nd Prize at the Seiler International Piano Competition in Greece, Educational Award Prize at The London International Piano Competition and was a finalist at the Busoni International Piano Competition.

Besides solo performances, Riyad is also a keen chamber music player, and has performed regularly in duos with violin and flute, collaborating with artists including the eminent flautist Wissam Boustany.

Riyad first came to London in 2005 when he was awarded a two-year scholarship to study at the Purcell School of Music with Sulamita Aronovsky, continuing to work with her at the Royal Academy of Music, where he graduated in 2011. In June 2015, Riyad graduated with a distinction in a Master of Performance course at the Royal College of Music, studying with Dmitri Alexeev and Vanessa Latarche, when he won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Chappell Piano Competition. Riyad also teaches piano at the Junior Department of Guildhall School of Music, Finchley Music School and Beethoven Music School.

Through music Riyad has been promoting peace and raising awareness for the plight of the Syrian people and performing for many organisations such as UNHCR, the International Rescue Committee, the Arab British Centre, Said and Asfari Foundation. 

Syria’s leading young pianist …A fine account of Debussy’s Images Book I …Jean Francaix work delivered with Gallic Charm, and some superb Messiaen.’ International Piano

‘A wonderful blend of intelligence and technical mastery with its huge range of colours and rhythms, deftly negotiated by Riyad with great virtuosity’. Salisbury Journal


Riyad’s website