One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy releases debut album with Warner
McCarthy's debut album 'Solo' will be released on September 18, seeing him join the prestigious Yamaha official artist family.
Nicholas McCarthy, who at one point was told he would never have a career, is not your average artist. Born in 1989 without his right hand he only began to play the piano at the late age of 14 after seeing a friend play Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata but was determined to fulfil his dream of becoming a concert pianist. He has now signed a record deal with Warner Classics and will release his debut album in September. "I'm absolutely delighted to have been signed by Warner" says Nicholas, "and it's so exciting to be recording my first professional album with a label that shares my vision and passion for sharing my repertoire with a wide audience".
Nicholas McCarthy's career so far has been quite the rollercoaster journey. "They said I would never play piano well" he famously told BBC Breakfast early this year. As a teenager seeking a place at a school for young pianists, Nicholas McCarthy was refused an audition and told he would never succeed. "They told me having one hand would always hold me back and it was better not to waste my and other people's time". Nicholas didn't take no for an answer and his graduation from the prestigious Royal College of Music in London in July 2012 made history and drew press headlines world-wide. He is the only left-hand alone pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in its 130 year history. Nicholas then went on to perform alongside Coldplay at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in front of an audience of half a billion worldwide and has since then developed an international career as a concert pianist, speaker (TED, and ITV's 'Big Think') and patron and ambassador for several music education charities (Music For Youth). Now with a record deal under his belt Nicholas enters the next adventure in his young career bringing the voice of the piano to an ever-wider audience.
Patrick Lemanski, Head of Classics at Warner Music UK, says "When we saw Nicholas in concert for the first time we were blown away by his artistry and warm connection with the audience. He truly is a one-of-a-kind artist who gets people excited about classical music in a unique and modern way. We're delighted he's now part of the Warner family."
McCarthy's first album, entitled Solo, will feature 17 pieces. Accessible yet surprising at every turn, the programme ranges from Wittgenstein's arrangement for left hand of Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria to popular early 20th-century works such as 'O mio babbino caro' from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi (arranged by Frédéric Meinders) and 'Summertime' from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (arranged by McCarthy himself). It's a real gift to his fans who have been supporting Nicholas from the very start.
"My fan base has always been half core classical and half lighter classical," explains McCarthy. "I didn't want to alienate anyone by putting longer pieces on my first commercial release, but I hope this album will offer a snapshot of the range of repertoire that exists for left hand. My selection also offers a portrait of me as an artist, including three of my own arrangements." The disc's final track is a new commission by the British composer Nigel Hess - a Nocturne for left hand, written specially for Nicholas. "It has a really simple, beautiful theme and I love the way Nigel uses harmony. He does some unexpected things that I really like."
Nicholas McCarthy is widely featured throughout national and international press and regularly gives live performances and interviews on television and radio including shows for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC ONE, Channel 4 and ITV. Nicholas has been featured on the BBC, presented two BBC Proms and featured in a documentary by Channel 4. Nicholas's television appearances have been responsible for drawing a cross-section of new audiences to his imaginative recitals, many of whom had never been to a piano recital.
Nicholas McCarthy has also just become the latest internationally acclaimed pianist to join the ever growing and prestigious Yamaha 'official' artist roster. For his debut recording on Warner Classics, Nicholas McCarthy selected a Yamaha CFX piano, a revolutionary new concert grand representing the culmination of over 19 years of collaborative research and development with some of the world's greatest musicians. The instrument produces outstanding expressiveness coupled with exceptional tonal presence.
Nicholas is one of many new generation players who have been drawn to the unique qualities of Yamaha's flagship CFX concert grand piano, selecting it for both recital and recording projects.
"I am thrilled to become a Yamaha artist" says Nicholas, "Yamaha has always been my piano of choice and it is a status I am very proud of . Performing on a CFX is always a memorable experience , only with the CFX do I find a complete affinity between myself and the instrument. Its colour, range and depth of sound expresses the full feeling that I'm looking to convey to the audience."
Nicholas is Patron of Carers Gloucestershire, Patron of Create and Patron of The Towersey Foundation and has recently been appointed ambassador of The One Handed Musicians Trust (OHMI) and keenly works alongside a number of other charities including The Tadworth Children's Trust and Scope all of which are very close to Nicholas's heart.
Nicholas McCarthy performs at the Elgar Room (Royal Albert Hall) on October 11. More dates to be announced soon.