He's Bound for Carnegie Hall

Graduate Center D.M.A. student Nicolas Namoradze 

Graduate Center D.M.A. student Nicolas Namoradze started playing the piano late in life: at 7 years old. It may seem early, but most children typically start playing between the ages of 3 and 4. “I’m glad I started when I did,” he says. “I think it was the right time.”
Now he has nearly 20 years of experience under his fingers, and he used that experience to win the prestigious Honens International Piano Competition in 2018. The award came with an impressive payout, but more importantly, it will prepare Namoradze for a career in music. He’ll spend the next three years recording for known labels and touring around the world. First up, a performance at famed Carnegie Hall on February 10.
Graduate Center: You’re set to perform at Carnegie Hall, but also at Wigmore Hall in London and the Konzerthaus Berlin. What most excites you about working with the Honens group over the next three years, and in these different spaces specifically?
Namoradze: First of all, I’m really excited to perform in these remarkable venues, often with some amazing orchestras, such as the London Philharmonic. Another thing I look forward to is traveling to these places. One place I’m especially excited to go to is Japan — it’s a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Then there are the recording projects: In a few weeks, Honens will be releasing some performances from the competition on their label. At the beginning of March, I’m recording an album with Steinway, and later on in July, I’m recording for the wonderful British label Hyperion. This is a big part of what I’m doing, and something I’m very much looking forward to.
GC: What does the accolade mean to you? 
Namoradze: It means the world to me. It was really a lengthy process – I had to go through several rounds of the competition. We first had an international pre-selection round with hundreds of applicants. They whittled it down to 50 quarterfinalists who took part in the international quarterfinal rounds in Berlin and New York, then 10 semifinalists were selected to go to Calgary for the final two rounds, after which three finalists were selected. We had two final rounds, and then the one winner was announced. 
GC: That sounds grueling.
Namoradze: It was indeed a long journey. For the rounds in Calgary, we had to prepare more than four hours of music. It was a lot of work, but such a special experience. In the semifinal and final rounds, I got to collaborate with a lot of extraordinary musicians playing chamber music, and also performed with the fantastic Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Those collaborations were really such a highlight, and something I will never forget.
GC: How do you seek ways to challenge yourself as a player?
Namoradze: I’m a real-risk taker. One way I challenge myself is playing very difficult pieces. Another way is simply the amount of music that I play. I have several different recital programs in my hands right now, so I’m juggling many hours of music.
GC: What’s been the most challenging composition you’ve performed so far?
Namoradze: If I had to pick one, it would be the encore I played at my solo semifinal round at Honens, the arrangement of a Chopin Étude by the composer Leopold Godowsky. He was famous for arranging Chopin’s Études in a way that made them many times harder— and the originals were already extremely difficult — so these pieces are considered prohibitive. It’s really a kind of technical and physical feat, a stunt. This particular arrangement is of one of the most challenging Chopin Études, the “Double Thirds,” Étude Op. 25 No. 6, where the right hand has this really difficult passagework. Godowsky puts all of this in the left hand, and then adds some other gnarly stuff in the right hand! It’s just a finger breaker. In that round, I really wanted to end with a bang. I took this risk playing this piece, and, well, it worked out evidently.
Namoradze performs Étude Op. 25 No. 6 “Double Thirds.”

Namoradze will play his degree recital at The Graduate Center on April 18 at 7:30pm at Elebash Hall.

Submitted on: FEB 5, 2019

Category: General GC News | Music Ph.D. - D.M.A | Student News