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Yorkshire Concert Artists Agency

Supporting classical musicians of the highest quality in Yorkshire and beyond

Riyad Nicolas


Riyad Nicolas is one of the most exciting musicians to emerge from the Middle East.

He is a sensational young pianist who won 1st Prize at the 2008 Jean Françaix International Piano Competition in Paris.

Curriculum Vitae

Riyad Nicolas was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1989. He started playing the piano at the age of six studying with Joumana Ilias. Having displayed remarkable progress, Riyad joined the Arab Institute of Music in Aleppo in 1997. Under the supervision of Michael Kotcharov, he won the Best Piano Student Prize of the Syrian Arab Republic for two consecutive years (1998-1999).

From 1999, Riyad continued his studies in Syria with Vladimir Kasatkin and gave several concerto performances with the chamber orchestras in Aleppo and Damascus as well as solo recitals. During a visit by the musical team of the Apple Hill Centre (New Hampshire, USA), Riyad was chosen as the most promising pianist and invited to visit the US for one month. In addition, he had several invitations to perform in the Lebanon and the Gulf states. Having won the top prize in the 1st Syria National Piano Competition 2004, he subsequently performed with the Syrian Philharmonic Orchestra at the opening of the new Opera House in Damascus.

In 2005, Riyad was selected to take part in the London International Piano Competition where he won an Educational Award. The same year he was accepted at The Purcell School, where he was awarded a two-year scholarship to study with Sulamita Aronovsky. He continued working with her at the Royal Academy of Music and graduated in 2011.

During his settlement in the UK, Riyad performed at numerous venues such St.Martin-in the Fields, St.Jame’s Picadilly, Leighton House Museum and Many others in UK. He won 2nd Prize in the Seiler International Piano Competition, Greece in 2006. His performance in June 2007 of the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.3 with the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra at St. John’s, Smith Square, London prompted critics to comment on the exceptional brilliance of the young artist. His successes included 1st Prize (with a CD recording offer) at the 2008 Jean Françaix International Piano Competition in Paris and in 2009 he was a prizewinner in the Ciutat de Carlet International Piano Competition, Spain. His performance of Chopin Concerto No.1 with the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra in Dubai in April 2010 was received with great acclaim.

Riyad Nicolas is one of the most exciting musicians to emerge from the Middle East.

Press Clippings

‘…this paragon of pianistic prestidigitation…setting a new gold standard’, ‘…he had given a prodigious recital which rose head and shoulders above everything else we have heard this year ’,‘…every aspect of his performance…melding all together into an indissoluble unity of conception. ' Beethoven Piano Society of Europe

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


You can see Riyad perform on youtube by following the links below:

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