Renowned for premiering the virtuosic works of Ukrainian composer Nikolai Kapustin, Helen Nicholas is an exciting and versatile pianist. As a recitalist, she has performed at some of the UK’s most prestigious concert venues, including the Crush Room at the Royal Opera House, St Martin-in-the-Fields, The Bridgewater Hall and Cheltenham Town Hall. She has also appeared as a soloist with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and has worked as a freelance accompanist for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme since 2013.
Her interpretation of Ravel’s music has been praised by Ingpen & Williams Director, David Sigall, who described her award-winning performance of Gaspard de la nuit as ‘technically flawless’ and ‘wonderfully descriptive’. Her solo album – The Debut (2014) – features this iconic work, plus works by Beethoven, Scarlatti, Chopin and Debussy.
Helen first discovered the music of Nikolai Kapustin in 2010 and since then his solo and chamber works have featured in many of her recital programmes. In 2012 she gave a world premiere of Six Little Pieces OP. 133 and now performs and records his latest unpublished works at the composer’s request.
‘Apart from being a remarkable pianist Helen Nicholas has a unique quality: when I hear her playing my pieces, I cannot shake off the feeling that it is me playing. Interestingly, this applies even to works which I have never performed or recorded.’ – Nikolai Kapustin, 2014
Aside from her solo career, Helen is in huge demand as a chamber musician, performing regularly with musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as part of ‘Trio Asana’ and singers from the Royal Opera House, touring Israel last year with British tenor, David Butt Philip. She has recently formed an exciting duo with contemporary flautist, Holly Cook, performing extensively throughout the UK. As an orchestral pianist, she freelances with the Southbank Sinfonia and has had the privilege of working with British conductors John Wilson and David Syrus.
Helen’s association with the Royal Opera House began in 2012, when she was selected to be the first ever ballet pianist on the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. In 2013 she was featured in the Royal Opera House’s magazine, describing her experiences with the Royal Ballet and what it takes to become a ballet pianist.
Originally from Dorset, Helen started performing from an early age and since the age of 18 she has performed concerti by Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Schumann, Mozart and Gershwin. Helen graduated with First Class Honours from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and was awarded a Distinction for her Masters at the Royal Academy of Music. She had the privilege of studying with the late Yonty Solomon, Hilary Coates and Carole Presland. During her studies, she was awarded many prizes, including the Nancy Thomas Prize for the hugest achieving undergraduate pianist, the Greta Parkinson Prize for outstanding achievements and the Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music. Helen also represented Trinity Laban in the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe’s Senior Intercollegiate Piano Competition in 2010.