Nicolas Horvath

Nicolas Horvath

Piano

• Born 1977

Biography

Pianist Nicolas Horvath specializes in contemporary music and especially in the large works and cycles of Philip Glass and Erik Satie. Horvath has frequently commissioned new music and is responsible for the creation of some 200 works.

Horvath was born on August 11, 1977, in Monaco. At age ten, he was chosen for a program founded by Monaco's Princess Grace for musically gifted children. Soon, Horvath had won the Academie de Musique Prince Rainier III Prize, with unanimous support from the jury. While competing in that event, he was noticed by conductor Lawrence Foster, who arranged for him to travel to the Aspen Music Festival for three summers, where he studied with Gabriel Chodos. Horvath began studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris in 1998, entering classes with Bruno Leonardo Gelber and Germaine Deveze in 2002. They instructed Horvath not to concertize or enter competitions during his studies. Horvath left the Ecole Normale de Musique in 2004, beginning composition studies with Gino Favotti and later Christine Groult. In 2008, Horvath returned to the competition circuit and won major events, including the Luigi Nono and Alexander Scriabin Competitions as well as several Japanese contests. He rounded off his education with studies under Oxana Yabloskaya and Leslie Howard.

Horvath has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, the Palm Beach Symphony Orchestra, and the Kiev Virtuoso Soloists, among other ensembles. He has commissioned works from leading composers, including Valentin Silvestrov, Terry Riley, and Alvin Lucier. More than 100 new works have been dedicated to him. Horvath has continued to compose himself, mostly in electroacoustic genres, but he has been perhaps best known for his solo piano recitals, many of them involving large works that are physically demanding to perform in full. Beginning at noon on December 12, 2012, at the Palais de Tokyo Museum in Paris, he gave a performance of Satie's 35-hour-long Vexations at a single sitting. In 2014, Horvath organized a Philip Glass tribute in Paris, inviting composers from 120 countries to write a work for the occasion. He premiered the 20 Etudes of Philip Glass at Carnegie Hall in 2015, and the following year, he gave an 11-hour concert of Glass's music. It was greeted with a one-hour ovation and followed by nine encores. Horvath has also championed the music of composer Jaan Rääts, and he has often performed the music of neglected composers from before the modern era, including Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, and Friedrich Kalkbrenner. He also performs the music of homeless avant-garde composer Moondog.

Horvath has mostly recorded for the Grand Piano label, issuing large cycles of music by Glass and Satie. In 2020, he issued The Unknown Debussy: Rare Piano Music, following it up with Alvin Lucier: Music for Piano XL a year later.

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