Nika Shirocorad: Gornostaeva 'Open Piano' Series 2015-2016: Concert No. 4: Chopin
This is the fourth in a series of 10 monthly concerts with short talks in Russian, to introduce - or re-introduce - London audiences to the classical piano repertoire, dedicated to the memory of the Russian pianist and teacher Vera Gornostaeva (1929-2015), Professor and Head of the Keyboard Department of the Moscow Conservatoire.
Nika Shirocorad was born in St. Petersburg into a family of well-known graphic artists and painters. Preoccupied with both art and music from a very early age, she took part in the First International Art Exhibition for Children in Moscow at the age of 5, and at the age of 6 received the Diploma for Children’s Musical Compositions awarded by the Moldova Union of Composers. At the age of 16 she won the Yevgeny Koku International Piano Competition in Chişinau, Moldova and the Soleartinsky International Piano Competition in Minsk, Belarus. In 1997, Nika gained second place in the Ukraine International Piano Competition, Kiev. From 1997 she continued her musical studies, first in piano and later in composition, at the National Conservatoire in Russia, graduating in 2002, and simultaneously studied graphics at the Surikov Institute in Moscow. Her final two years of study (2000-2002) were as an exchange student at the Chopin Conservatoire in Poland, as a pupil of Eva Bukoemska and Krzysztof Penderecki.
Following her UK recital debut in 2003, Nika was invited to become Scholar in Residence at the University of Huddersfield for 2004–5, during which time she studied piano with Jacques Rouvier in Paris. In 2005 she received the Myra Hess Trust Award, the Lord Snowdon Award, the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Award and RNCM Main Entrance Award to enter the RNCM in Manchester where she completed her postgraduate Diploma (with Peter Lawson and Norma Fisher) in July 2006. In February 2006 she won the Chevillion-Bonnaud Prize at the Orléans International Piano Competition, for the performance of her own composition Shadows (2006), and in April 2006 gave a debut recital tour in Tokyo, Japan. She received a commission for a new work for piano and CD from the Académie de Villecroze, premiered at the Salle Cortot, Paris in March 2007.
Nika has studied with Michel Beroff, Jacques Rouvier, Ian Fountain, Hamish Milne, Joanna MacGregor and Rolf Hind. She has performed as a soloist at numerous international festivals and has played concertos with professional orchestras in Eastern and Western Europe. Recent engagements have included the Cannes Film Festival, a second Japan tour, performances at Sweden’s National Concert Hall, the Kiev Philharmonic Hall and the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. In 2010 she received the Janet Duff Greet Prize awarded by the Royal Academy of Music.
Since 2009 she has been the pianist in the international trio Con Tempo and in the chamber group Northern Lights (Sweden-UK). She also has considerable experience as a piano teacher, giving open master-classes in Europe, teaching privately and in schools, covering a wide range of classical and contemporary piano repertoire.
Nika is also active as an artist, specializing in batik and ceramics, her work featuring in public exhibitions and in private collections. As a unique artistic project, she presents personal exhibitions combined with piano recitals, in Europe and Japan.