“The young American pianist Thomas Nickell is considered to be an extraordinary talent. Of course he plays a Steinway.” That is not the kind of praise that most American pianist composers see in print, let alone when they’re nineteen, let alone in an article in German in an Austrian magazine called Von. Young Steinway Artist Thomas Nickell will be performing at Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory with The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago on Saturday, April 14. The concert is at noon, part of the Conservatory’s beautiful Music Under Glass Series, and will feature Nickell with OSC in Liszt’s Totentanz. Nickell will also perform some of his original compositions for solo piano.
The concert is part of a Chicago swing leading up to performances in June, also with The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, at Carnegie Hall.
The concert is part of a Chicago swing leading up to performances in June, also with The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago, at Carnegie Hall. Besides the Music Under Glass concert at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Nickell and the Oistrakh Symphony will perform in concert and open rehearsal at Jones College Prep at 1pm on Friday, April 13.
We asked Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago Music Director Mina Zikri to tell us a little more about the concerts, and here’s what he told us:
Johnny Nevin: This is the first in a series of performances that Oistrakh is doing with Thomas Nickell. Can you tell us a little more about the program that the Garfield Park Conservatory audience will hear?
Mina Zikri: They will hear Thomas’ original compositions for solo piano, which are wonderful, and they will also hear the orchestra performing alone in the first movement of Beethoven’s Third Symphony, the Eroica. Then the Orchestra and Thomas will perform Liszt’s Totentanz. We played with Thomas when he was younger, in 2015, and now he’s returning to perform with us again. It’s remarkable to see how he has developed as a musician and a person. I’ve also worked with him several times over the past few months, which has given me an even better chance to see just how far he’s come.
The idea behind Music For All is that music is for everyone
Johnny: Everything that the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago does is part of your larger mission, which you call Music For All. What is the idea behind #MusicForAll?
Mina Zikri: The idea behind Music For All is that music is for everyone, music is for professional musicians, it’s for non-professional musicians, it’s for listeners, it’s for people who don’t know how to play an instrument. Music is for all ages, for everybody, and we’ll be revealing more of the elements of Music For All during our coming season.
The Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago will perform with pianist, composer and Young Steinway Artist Thomas Nickell at the Garfield Park Conservatory’s Music Under Glass concert at 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 14. The Garfield Park Conservatory is at