Nicholas Kennedy. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Nicholas Kennedy was a finalist in The Sydney Eisteddfod John Allison & Kawai Piano Scholarship (16-25 years) for 2018 and shortly after attended a summer masterclass for piano in Germany with world- renowned pianist Professor Bernd Glemser at the end of July.
For Nicholas, this opportunity was a dream come true. “Bernd Glemser is one of the world’s top concert pianists, and I’ve long admired the elegant finish of his playing,” he said. Not only did Glemser become Germany's youngest piano professor in the late 80s, but he offers a mixture of German and Russian ideas about piano playing, which is what drew Nicholas to learning from him. Having previously gleaned insider secrets into the world of piano from artists Inge Rosar, Sa Chen, Natasha Vlassenko and Wolfgang-Emanuel Schmidt, Nicholas is very aware of the benefits of mentors.
“What you get from working with a performer as active as Glemser is the inside info, the tricks of the trade: what fingerings are most reliable, how to most efficiently test an acoustic, where the horns tend to come in late… Plus there’s the personal aspect of connecting with a renowned professor and other students from across the world,” he said.
As an evolving pianist, Nicholas reflected on the changes that have taken place for him over time, having played piano in his first paid performance at the age of seven. “Growing up, you eventually move beyond the button-pushing and enter the realm of interpretation: what the music means to you, and how you can communicate that to the audience.”
Sydney Eisteddfod scholarships provide musicians and dancers with the chance to test their skills and confidence, and are often a stepping stone to additional opportunities globally. For Nicholas the future certainly looks promising with plans to complete his honours degree at the Sydney Conservatorium followed by a Masters. Despite the busyness of additionally preparing for the upcoming audition season, this path is clearly the right fit. “It’s busy, but – so long as we find enough time for friends and family – that’s the beauty of this crazy career path. I can’t think of anything more engrossing,” Nicholas explained.