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Nicholas Ashton

   Professional Membership Status
Nicholas Ashton was educated at Chetham’s School, RNCM and on postgraduate scholarships at the Conservatoire de Musique, Geneva and the Musikhochschule Frankfurt-am-Main. His principal teachers were Renna Kellaway and Joachim Volkmann and he received coaching from Vlado Perlemuter, Jorge Bolet, and Joaquin Achucarro. Following a successful formal debut at the 1980 Manchester International Festival, he proceeded to perform widely throughout Europe for ten years, as a concerto soloist and recitalist.

After three years working as a teacher and translator in Frankfurt and one year in London as an opera agent at Anglo-Swiss, he resumed performing as a result of encouragement from Murray Perahia (at the Centre for Advanced Studies, Snape) and Menahem Pressler (at the Centre for Music and Arts, Banff, Canada). His first public recital in Scotland in 1995 was highly praised and resulted in regular offers to play. A live recording of a subsequent recital at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh was brought out on CD in 1996. Since then he has given seven solo recitals at the venue and has performed to critical acclaim in concerts throughout the UK and in Germany. He has also contributed regularly as a performer and in interview on BBC Radio Scotland.

From 2000 to 2022, Nicholas performed over 80 separate solo and chamber programmes at the Stock Exchange Hamburg and the Hamburg Chamber Music Society (of which he was Artistic Director in 2002). He has performed regularly in the Glasgow and Edinburgh University Recital series, at RNCM (2002 and 2003). In 2005 he was invited to give recitals and masterclasses at Central Washington University as part of the ISEP international exchange programme, in 2009 to Pirkenmaa University for the Applied Arts, Tampere, Finland, in 2009 the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, in 2010 again to Tampere.

A CD recording of the complete works for piano and the piano quintet by the distinguished Scottish composer Robert Crawford, released on the Delphian Records label in February 2008, attracted widespread praise in the media, including International Record Review, The Scotsman and The Gramophone.

Recordings of contemporary two piano repertoire with the distinguished Lithuanian pianist Lauryna Sableviciute, wth whom he formed the duo Re:Sono, are in preparation, with recent performances and radio broadcasts made in Kaunas and Vilnius in April 2023.

Nicholas was a regular chamber music partner with the Edinburgh Quartet, working with them on a substantial part of the core piano quintet and quartet repertoire (Shostakovich, Schnittke, Dvorak A major, Crawford, Schumann, Elgar, Dohnanyi (2nd), Fauré (1st) Mozart G minor and Eb major Quartets). Performances of the Elgar, Fauré (1st) and Dohnanyi (2nd) quintets and the song cycles On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan Williams)and La Bonne Chanson (Fauré) were warmly received by both the public and press.

From 1991-2020, Nicholas maintained a full time career as Senior Lecturer and Director of Quality for the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University. He has been a Prinicpal Study Tutor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) since 2020. His carefully nurtured students have regularly successful in competition and as postgraduates at RNCM, RSAMD/RCS, RCM, Guildhall, RWCMD and RAM. Since 2010 he has been Specialist External Assessor for Keyboard at RCS. He is also in demand as an adjudicator.

Nicholas is currently undertaking research in the field of performance and reception theory. In addition, he has a keen interest in theories of film, particularly feminist film history and theory.
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