Born to musician parents (from whom he inherited his lifelong love of Brahms) in Cincinnati in 1970, Steinway Artist Nicholas Angelich (1970-2022) received his first piano lessons from his mother and made his concerto debut aged just seven before enrolling at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in his early teens; a pupil of Yvonne Loriod, Aldo Ciccolini and Leon Fleisher, he was also much admired by Martha Argerich, and was a regular guest at her Lugano Festival between 2005 and 2016.
Angelich’s early career successes included prizes at the Robert Casadesus International Piano Competition, Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition and International Klavierfestival Ruhr, where he was presented with the Young Talent Award by Fleisher in 2003. His debut recording of Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux (released on Harmonia Mundi in 1995) was praised in BBC Music Magazine for the ‘limpid introspection and fantasy’ of his interpretations, and a set of Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage on Mirare a few years later was similarly warmly received, with Gramophone applauding his ability to marry ‘serious musicianship with a punishing technical command’.
From the mid-2000s onwards, Angelich recorded primarily for Virgin Classics/Erato, where his discography included Brahms’s Klavierstücke Opp. 116-119 (a Record Review Disc of the Year in 2007) and Piano Concerto No. 1, JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives and Romeo & Juliet (which turned out to be his final solo recording). A keen and sympathetic chamber-musician, he also collaborated regularly in the studio (and on the concert-platform) with his friends and fellow CNSM alumni Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, with whom he recorded Brahms’s complete Piano Trios and Piano Quartets; a superb live recording of the same composer’s St Antony Variations with Argerich from Lugano in 2012 also testifies to his remarkable gifts as a collaborative pianist.
Although core Classical and Romantic repertoire dominated his discography, Angelich was also a noted interpreter of Bartók, Messiaen, Tanguy, Stockhausen and Boulez (for whom he performed whilst still in his teens); in 2000 he gave the world premiere of Pierre Henry’s Concerto sans orchestra, inspired by Liszt and Dante and scored for solo piano and recorded sounds, which was dedicated to him.