24-year-old Nicholas Kennedy was a Finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod Kawai Piano Scholarship for two years running, in 2018 and 2019. In addition, he has placed in many piano events with Sydney Eisteddfod over the years.
Most notably, Nicholas took part in a e-competition last year where he received an offer and 75% sponsorship to record Beethoven’s last three piano sonatas on the multinational Orpheus Classical label.
'I received the offer in mid-2020 (it was originally meant to coincide with Beethoven’s 250th anniversary) and am planning to make the actual recordings this coming March. However, I guess you could say I’ve been preparing for years without realising, as I first started learning Op. 110 in 2015!
Recording these sonatas is extraordinarily humbling and slightly terrifying! Beethoven’s final takes on the piano sonata are widely regarded as among the greatest music ever penned.
At the same time, though, Beethoven writes arguably the most human music of all, so you always feel that he “gets” your struggles and is in your corner, cheering you on.
It’s my absolute honour to join the ranks of Beethoven’s illustrious conduits with this new recording, and I’m extremely grateful to Orpheus Classical for giving me the opportunity to do so'.
Nicholas told Sydney Eisteddfod that whilst there are no live concerts currently coinciding with his music recording, he urges everyone to watch this space. He is planning (covid permitting) to put on a recital or two in the coming months that will possibly include these two iconic sonatas.
Photo: Headshot of Nicholas Kennedy.
In addition to this wonderful news, Nicholas also recently won the Guildhall School’s major academic prize, the Rose Lawrence Award, for the academic year 2019-2020.
Nicholas gave us a short rundown on what the prize represented for him.
'Selection for this prize is based primarily on a music research dissertation which students spend two terms preparing, so it comes as the culmination of a fairly lengthy period of work and thought.
The award was especially heartwarming for me since my project focussed on Chopin’s Barcarolle, Op. 60, one of my all-time favourite pieces. The final dissertation included musical examples I’d recorded myself at home during lockdown: a nice synthesis of my performing and research interests, and a souvenir of extraordinary times!'
Sydney Eisteddfod congratulates Nicholas on all he has achieved recently, which is thanks to his hard work and dedication to music. It is particularly commendable during the uneasy times in which the arts community has been facing over this past year.
Sydney Eisteddfod scholarships provide musicians and dancers with the chance to test their skills and confidence, and it is often a stepping stone to additional opportunities later on.