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Virtuosic Music for the Left Hand Alone / Nicholas Ross

November 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Chaconne from Partita no. 2 in D minor J.S. Bach (1685-1750),
for solo violin, BWV 1016 (arr. 1877) Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Third Suite Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
I. Preludio
II. Air
III. Zingara
IV. Improvazione
V. Finale

Prélude op. 232,1 (“Asturias”) Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909)
Arr. Nicholas Ross

Piano Sonata No. 6 (Black Elk) Kent Holliday (b. 1940)
I. Wakinyan
II. Nanigukwa
III. Black Elk
IV. Crazy Horse

Concert Album (for the Left Hand Alone)  Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938)
I. Meditation
II. Impromptu
III. Capriccio Patetico
IV. Intermezzo Melanconico
V. Elegy
VI. Etude Macabre



Kent Holliday studied composition with Paul Fetler and Dominick Argento at the University of Minnesota, where he received his Ph.D. in music theory-composition in 1968. He subsequently did postgraduate work in Paris, France, and at Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. In 1969 he worked with Pietro Grossi on computer music in the Studio di Fonologia S2FM in Florence, Italy, and in 1988 studied composition on research-leave with Witold Szalonek of the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin, Germany.

Dr. Holliday was the winner of the Virginia Music Teachers Association Composition Competition in 1983, 1996, 1999, and 2008. His Four Evocations won first place in the New Music Delaware Composition Competition in 1996. He taught music composition, theory, history, piano, and selected courses in the humanities at Virginia Tech since 1974. His book, Reproducing Pianos Past and Present, was published by Mellen Press in1989. More recently, Dr. Holliday has also received the ASCAP PLUS award for the SCI recording of his work Tango Exótico.

In 2012 Holliday’s Incantations from the Popol Vuh won the Barto Prize, an international competition for a solo piano work with a literary reference. The piece is based on the Mayan Council Book, or Popol Vuh, a sacred Mayan text that was translated into Spanish in the sixteenth century. Pianist Tzimon Barto performed the work throughout Europe, the United States, and southeast Asia during the concert season 2012-2014.


Pianist Nick Ross is known for his piano concerts that feature virtuoso repertoire for the left hand. His repertoire includes music by early Twentieth Century composers such as Leopold Godowsky, Erwin Schulhoff, Ravel, Prokofiev and newly commissioned music for the left hand alone. Inspired by the resilience of left-handed pianist Paul Wittgenstein, Nick turned to this relatively unknown yet rich and rewarding genre after sustaining nerve injury in his right arm and hand. In 2018, he spent his sabbatical researching, studying, and performing music by Polish American virtuoso composer Leopold Godowsky. This sabbatical resulted in his latest recording, Leopold Godowsky: Apostle of the Left Hand (Centaur Records Inc., CRC 3754). The recording has received critical international praise for his playing and extensive notes: “The notes, by the pianist, are exceptional as is the playing. […] All is played with an abundance of expression and security of execution-no mean accomplishment considering the demands made on the pianist.” (American Record Guide) “[…] A very worthy addition to the Godowsky discography.” (Fanfare Magazine).

Other recent research areas include an examination of the racist Virginian composer John Powell and the golden ratio in the music of Mozart, Debussy, Bartók, and others. This research was recently featured in programs on BBC Radio 3 (“A Racist Music,” broadcast in November 2019) and Radio 4 (“A Mathematician’s Guide to Beauty,” broadcast February 2020). Music related to these topics can be found in his recordings, John Powell: Early Piano Music and A Golden Proportion Recital.  Additionally, Nick recorded and wrote program notes for two collaborative discs of Arthur Honegger’s music on the Centaur Records label, as a pianist of the Prospero Trio and in collaboration with baritone Sinan Vural and soprano Claudia Patacca. He has also recorded the piano music of composer Kent Holliday in collaboration with pianist Emily Yap Chua.

Nick has performed solo recitals, concertos, and chamber music concerts throughout the US, England, Ireland, and the Netherlands. He has performed recitals at such venues as St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, London, the Field Room in Dublin, de Engelse Kerk in Amsterdam, and many U.S. colleges and universities, including multiple solo recitals at Virginia Tech. He was also the pianist of the James Piano Quartet, who were Virginia touring artists and Artists-in-Residence at the Wintergreen Summer Festival and Sweet Briar College.

Nick is a Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, where he is the director of the keyboard studies program.  Previously he was an Associate Professor at Sweet Briar College, Virginia.  His primary piano professors were John Perry, John Bingham, Benno Pierweijer and Matthijs Verschoor.  In addition, he worked with Christine Croshaw and David Newbold on collaborative piano, and played in masterclasses and courses for Graham Johnson, Christopher Czaja Sager and Theodore Paraskivesko among others. He obtained piano performance degrees from ArtEz in the Netherlands, Trinity College of Music in London, and a DMA degree in piano performance from Rice University. Nick is a Yamaha Artist.


November 23
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm


PianoForte Studios
1335 South Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605 United States
+ Google Map
(312) 291-0000
View Venue Website


Thomas Zoells
(312) 291-0000