An active and ever-growing repertoire that encompasses such composers as Beethoven, Berg, Brahms, Debussy, Schubert and Stravinsky reinforces pianist Nicolas Hodges’ superior prowess in contemporary music. As Tempo magazine has written: “Hodges is a refreshing artist; he plays the classics as if they were written yesterday, and what was written yesterday as if it were already a classic.”
Born in London and now based in Germany, where he is a professor at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart, Hodges approaches the works of Classical, Romantic, 20th century and contemporary composers with the same questing spirit, leading the Guardian to comment: “Hodges’ recitals always boldly go where few other pianists dare… with an energy that sometimes defies belief.”
Nicolas Hodges’ virtuosity and innate musicianship give him an assured command over the most strenuous technical complexities, making him a firm favourite among many of today’s most prestigious contemporary composers. Collaborating closely with such contrasting figures as John Adams, Helmut Lachenmann and the late Karlheinz Stockhausen is central to Hodges’ career, and many of the world’s most revered composers have dedicated works to him, including Thomas Adès, Gerald Barry, Elliott Carter, James Clarke, Francisco Coll, Hugues Dufourt, Pascal Dusapin, Beat Furrer, Isabel Mundry, Brice Pauset, Wolfgang Rihm and Miroslav Srnka. Hodges enjoys a particularly close relationship with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, who recently described him as “becoming like my Peter Pears.” In September 2018, it was announced that the eminent composer, and long-term collaborator of Nicolas Hodges, Rebecca Saunders, had been selected by Roche Commissions as the 10th recipient in their commissioning series. The new commission, a piano concerto for Hodges, will be premiered at the Lucerne Festival, by Hodges and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, in late August 2020, and will subsequently be toured in Europe.
Recent performance highlights for Nicolas Hodges have included the premiere of Simon Steen-Andersen’s award-winning Piano Concerto, performed with Francois-Xavier Roth and the SWR Symphony Orchestra Freiburg Baden-Baden as part of the Donaueschingen Festival in 2014, as well as the world premiere of Variations from the Golden Mountains by Sir Harrison Birtwistle at London’s Wigmore Hall. Hodges also recently gave the world premiere of Gerald Barry’s Piano Concerto, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Peter Rundel, and the UK premiere with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Adès in Birmingham, followed by a repeat performance at the Aldeburgh Festival. He also gave the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ own piano concerto In Seven Days with the London Sinfonietta, followed by further performances of the work with orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Further performance highlights for Hodges have included the world premiere performance of Elliott Carter’s Dialogues for piano and orchestra, with the London Sinfonietta and Oliver Knussen, as well as the US and Berlin premieres of the work, with the Chicago Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic orchestras respectively – both conducted by Daniel Barenboim – and the New York premiere, at Carnegie Hall, with the MET Orchestra.
Hodges’s has established successful relationships with many of today’s leading orchestras and ensembles, and engagements include regular performances with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony, Boston Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Melbourne Symphony, MET Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg, Philharmonia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, St Louis Symphony, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich and WDR Sinfonieorchester Cologne, and ensembles such as ASKO/Schoenberg, Amsterdam, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Contrechamps Geneva, International Contemporary Ensemble New York and the Remix Ensemble, Porto.
Among the distinguished conductors with whom Nicolas Hodges regularly collaborates are Thomas Adès, Daniel Barenboim, George Benjamin, Martyn Brabbins, Sylvain Cambreling, James Levine, Susanna Mälkki, Cornelius Meister, Jonathan Nott, Emilio Pomarico, David Robertson, Pascal Rophé, François- Xavier Roth, Peter Rundel, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Pierre-André Valade, Ilan Volkov and Ryan Wigglesworth.
Also an avid chamber musician, Hodges has performed in Berlin (Musikfest), Brussels (Ars Musica), Hamburg (Ostertoene), Helsinki (Musica Nova), London (Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and the BBC Proms), Lucerne (Festival), Madrid (INAEM), Melbourne International Arts Festival, New York (Carnegie Hall and Mostly Mozart), Paris (IRCAM and Festival d’ Automne), Rome (IUC), Salzburg (Festival and Biennale), Strasbourg (Musica), Stuttgart (Eclat), Tanglewood (Festival), Tokyo, Vienna (Wien Modern) and Zurich (Tage für Neue Musik). He also collaborates regularly with the Arditti Quartet, Adrian Brendel, Colin Currie, Ilya Gringolts, Anssi Karttunen, Michael Wendeberg, Carolin Widmann and has been a member of Trio Accanto since 2013.
Nicolas Hodges’ varied discography includes Thomas Adès’ piano concerto In Seven Days, with the London Sinfonietta and Thomas Adès (Signum Classics); two discs of works by Harrison Birtwistle; and a live recording of Luca Francesconi’s piano concerto with the Orquestra Sinfónica Casa da Musica. On the Wergo label, Hodges has recorded “Voces Abandonadas”, comprising works by Walter Zimmermann; a disc of works by Brice Pauset entitled “Canons for solo piano”; and “Songs and Poems”, which includes repertoire by Hans Thomalla, Walter Zimmermann and Wolfgang Rihm with Trio Accanto.