Vassilis Christopoulos is one of Greece’s most renowned conductors, equally at home on the concert podium as in the opera pit.
He has conducted prestigious orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Mozarteumorchester, the NDR Radiophilharmonie, the Staatsphilharmonie Nürnberg, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Hessisches Staatsorchester Wiesbaden, the Bremer Philharmoniker, the Qatar Philharmonic, and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. Engagements in 2016-2017 include débuts with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra as well as reinvitations from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire in France, and the Mozarteumorchester.
His wide opera repertoire ranges from Baroque to the 21st century. Earlier this year he conducted a much acclaimed Elektra by Richard Strauss at the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden which led to an immediate reinvitation for Die Frau ohne Schatten in the autumn of 2016. His Greek première of Handel’s Serse in 2002 and the first performance of Giorgos Koumendakis’ The Murderess in 2014 were hailed by the audience, music critics, and arts editors as milestones in the history of the Greek National Opera.
As Artistic Director of the Athens State Orchestra from 2011 to 2014, he raised the standard of performance dramatically. Reviews became consistently enthusiastic, praising him as “great reformer”; ticket sales doubled despite the harsh financial crisis. Under his direction, the Orchestra supported young soloists and composers, commissioning and premièring 14 new compositions in three years; performed in virtually every corner of Greece including many remote islands; introduced a wide-ranging social and educational program; and won major national and European design awards for its new image.
From 2005 to 2015 he was Chief Conductor of the Southwest German Philharmonic Orchestra of Constance, again responsible for significant and unanimously recognized improvement in performance: under his artistic leadership, the number of subscribers exceeded the mark of 2.500 for the first time in the orchestra's history (from a small town population of app. 85.000); the Orchestra acquired new permanent posts, and toured with great success at renowned festivals and concert halls in Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Greece, France, Spain, China, Japan, as well as throughout Germany.
Born in Munich in 1975, he studied oboe and music theory at the Athens Conservatory and orchestral conducting at the “Hochschule für Musik” in Munich with Prof. Hermann Michael. From 1993 to 1995 he was an oboist with the Greek Radio Symphony Orchestra.
In 1999 he was named “Young Musician of the Year” by the Greek Music and Drama Critics’ Association. In 2000 he won the 1st Bad Homburg Conducting Competition in Germany and was a prize-winner of the Dimitri Mitropoulos International Conducting Competition in Athens.
His discography includes the first recording of Concertos by Nikos Skalkottas with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra which was released on BIS in 2008. His CD “Mozart Arias” featuring French Soprano Géraldine Casey and the Southwest German Philharmonic was awarded a golden Orpheus by the Académie internationale du disque lyrique in Paris for the best Mozart recording in 2009.
In 2013, Vassilis Christopoulos was awarded Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the French Republic.
He is fluent in Greek, French, German, English, Italian and has basic knowledge of Russian, Spanish, and Japanese.
Authoritative interpretations of over fifty concerti specifically those of Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky have brought Nikolai worldwide recognition and critical acclaim. His passionate, virtuosic performances and musical individuality marked him as one of the most extraordinary pianist of this century.
Nikolai has worked with many renowned conductors such as Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Charles Dutoit, Evgeny Svetlanov and Sir Andrew Davis. Orchestras with whom he collaborated include the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Ulster Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, KBS Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Simfónica de Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya, Orquesta Nacional de Espana, Orchestre National de France, Gavle Symfoniorkester and Danish National Symphony Orchestra.
In the season 2015/16 Demidenko is ‘Soloist-in-Residence’ with Queensland Symphony Orchestra. As a part of his residency he will perform the complete Beethoven Piano Concerti, a chamber music recital and conduct a masterclass.
Concerto highlights in recent and upcoming seasons include appearances across the globe, most notably with the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Silicon Valley, Bilbao Symphony Orchestra and Flanders Symphony Orchestra.
Devoted recitalist and chamber musician, Nikolai possesses a unique ability to take a homogenous view of a recital and to pair different contents without ignoring their style (CultureNorthernIreland). Current season sees Demidenko giving recitals across the world including Belgrade’s Kolarac Concert Hall, Alicante and Bilbao, Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory with Dmitri Alexeev, Berliner Klavierfestival at Konzerthaus Berlin, The Seed in Istanbul and several recitals across Australia. Nikolai is also a frequent guest of major London based venues including the Barbican, Wigmore Hall, where he will return in February 2017, Cadogan Hall and most recently St. John’s Smith Square.
Nikolai’s extensive discography consists of nearly 40 CDs. For Hyperion Records he recorded over 20 albums including his latest Prokofiev Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3 with London Philharmonic Orchestra released in March 2015, Gramophone Editor’s Choice award winning album of Medtner and Music for two Pianos (with Dmitri Alexeev), Rachmaninov CD awarded BBC Music Magazine Best of The Year and Diapason D’Or, and Scriabin & Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos which won BBC Music Magazine Best of The Year and Best Concerto Recording of The Year by Classis CD. Nikolai’s Chopin CD released in 2008 for Onyx Classics won the MIDEM 2010 Special Chopin Award for a new recording.
Russian born pianist Nikolai Demidenko studied at the Gnessins Music School with Anna Kantor before joining the Moscow Conservatory with Dmitri Bashkirov. He was one of the winners of the Montreal International Music Competition and the International Tchaikovsky Competition. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of Music and the University.
A picture postcard programme. Smetana draws a winding Moldau meandering through a rolling Bohemian landscape. With his 'Piano Concerto', Chopin writes a farewell note to his home country Poland. Sticking the stamp with his 'Seventh Symphony', Dvorák ultimately sends his superb Slavic sounds into the wide (and new) world.