South African-born pianist Nico de Villiers is an accompanist, teacher and coach, based in London. He holds degrees from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the University of Michigan, as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he is currently undertaking his doctoral study.
In his formative years in South Africa Nico studied with Johan Cromhout and was a prize winner at various national music competitions. In 1999 he made his debut with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. The following year he performed with the Odeion Sinfonietta and the Odeion String Quartet, both ensembles resident at the University of the Free State, South Africa.
After winning an International Undergraduate Scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Nico graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) Degree in Piano Performance. Following a personal invitation to study with Martin Katz Nico graduated as Master of Music in piano performance (accompaniment and chamber music) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA in 2007. During his master study he was a Scholarship holder and Graduate Student Staff Assistant at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Nico furthered his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London where he focused his research and performance on the complete published keyboard chamber music of Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnányi in 2008. The following year he became a Junior Fellow and Guildhall Artist at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Nico has been the recipient of various awards including international scholarships from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, the Mary Paton Memorial Trust, Ernst Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, University of Michigan and the Guildhall School of Music. Nico has won various awards as an accompanist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow as well as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He was awarded the Accompanist Prize at the Thelma King Award in Bath in March 2010.
Nico has worked with various ensembles as accompanist the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Pro Cantione Antiqua Choral Festival, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra Norwegian Music Academy, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus as well as at the Pro Cantione Antiqua International Choral Festival in Provence, France. He made his Kennedy Center (Terrace Theatre) debut in Washington DC in 2007, which was followed by performances at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Barbican in London and the Mozarteum Grosser Saal in Salzburg. Important festival performances include appearances at the Salzburg Festival and Edinburgh Festival. Nico founded the De Villiers Ensemble with previous fellow students from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and perform chamber music recitals annually across Sweden with them.
Nico is increasingly in demand as a coach for singers and ensembles since he was an assistant faculty member at the International Music Academy in Pilsen, Czech Republic in 2006 and 2008. He was a coach at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz, Austria since 2008-2012. Nico is a senior lecturer in piano at the Leeds College of Music as well as the Junior Department of Trinity College of Music in London.