Nikolaas Kende, Piano
born in Antwerp in 1981, studied at the Antwerp conservatory with his parents, Heidi Hendrickx and Levente Kende and at the Amsterdam conservatory with Jan Wijn. Eventually he started an intense cooperation with Elisso Virsaladze at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and at the Scuola di Musica Fiesole. In addition he was taught by people like Dmitri Bashkirov, Aldo Ciccolini, Murray Perahia, Dmitri Alexeev and Radu Lupu. Whilst training as a pianist he was given the 2013 “Oranjebeurs” and grants by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst in 2004 and 2005.
While still young Nikolaas Kende won several competitions: the Cantabile competition (Antwerp, 1998), the EPTA international competition for piano duos (1999), the Axion Classics competition (Brussels, 1999), the Stefaan de Jonghe competition (Aalst, 2000) and the Tenuto competition (Brussels, 2002).
In 2002 he was a laureate of the Belgian Foundation for Young Soloists, in 2004 he came second in the competition of the Young Pianist Foundation in The Hague, and in 2005 he won the PianistenParade in ’s-Hertogenbosch, in which he also obtained the prizes of the public and of the press. In the next year he was a laureate of the th music competition of the Ghent Rotary Club and he won the 57th competition organized by the Friends of the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In this competition he won on top the Prize given by the press and the AVRO Klassiek prize, the latter enabled him to record a CD.
In 2007 he reached the semi-finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and became a laureate of the Young Soloists Competition organized by the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe. Still young, he began his international career with invitations to France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria and Bulgaria. He made his American debut (California and Texas) in 2009 with lavish press reviews and an invitation for a another touring project in 2013.
He has performed on all the important Belgian concert stages. Recently, concerts have taken him to Spain, the Czech Republic, Romania, the Netherlands Antilles and the festivals of Montpellier, Menton and Vexin in France. He has played concertos by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Poulenc, Ravel, Rakhmaninov and Bartók, with orchestras such as the Brussels Philharmonic, the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic and the Flanders Symphony Orchestra conducted by Etienne Siebens, Koen Kessels, Ivo Venkov, Jurgen Küssmaul, Ernst van Tiel, Daniele Callegari, Dirk Vermeulen, Paul Goodwin, Stephen Heyde and David Angus among others.
Nikolaas Kende is also an avid chamber musician. Since 2003 he has formed a duo with violinist Jolente De Maeyer and was a co-founder of the Rubens Ensemble in 2007. He was associated with the Narziss und Goldmund Trio for the recording of Schubert’s Piano Trio (D. 929) for Phaedra Classics, the label he recorded also a cd with solo piano works by Johannes Brahms. He has made numerous recordings for radio (the Belgian classical channel Klara, RTBF, AVRO, Radio Romania, France Musique, WDR) and television.
In 2015, Nikolaas was appointed professor of piano at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp.
Future projects include recital tours, both solo and in duo with Jolente, in Canada, America, South-Africa and China.