Photo: © Henk Van Rensbergen
‘Poet in every inch of his fingers’ Le Progres
Nikolaas Kende has been praised for his poetic playing and honest, passionate musicality. Critics have honored his sensitive and visionary musicianship and his flawless skills always serving the music. Both as soloist and chamber musician he is a highly demanded pianist on international concert stages.
A winner of several competitions, including the Cantabile, EPTA, Vriendenkrans Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Tenuto competitions, Nikolaas started performing in all major halls in Belgium and the Netherlands. Highlights included the performances of the piano concertos by Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Bartok with Brussels Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, National Radio Orchestra Romania, among others.
After a concert at the Festival de Dansa y Musica Granada in 2019 'Ideal' wrote: 'This promising pianist caresses the keyboard, expressive with colors and tender with the melody and all the degrees of affection that typify the romantic soul'.
Besides being a regular guest at the Festival of Flanders, he has also performed at festivals in Italy (Ravello, Rome, Bari), France (Menton, Montpellier, Vexin), Portugal (Coimbra), Germany (Görlitz, Munich, Bad Berleburg) , Austria (Salzburg), Ireland (Westport), UK (Cotswolds), Czech Republic (Prague), Spain (Zaragoza, Madrid).
Nikolaas made his debut in America in 2009 with the 1st piano concerto of Brahms. This debut was well received in the press, “One could almost imagine a young Brahms at the keyboard doing precisely the same thing: more intent on communicating his piece than dazzling listeners with his performance.” Since then he has returned to America annually and has toured in Texas (Houston, Austin, San Antonio), California (San Francisco, Fresno, LA) and Vermont, Florida, California, Texas, Washington DC and New York. In 2019 amongst others his debut for the 'Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts' in Chicago. He also performed in the Netherlands Antilles, Canada and South Africa, where several tours followed.
In 2018 he made his debut in China with recitals in Bejijng, Harbin, Chongqing and Chengdu. Concerts in Shanghai, Xi'An, Yangzhou and Guangzhou followed in 2019. Also for the next seasons, concerts are planned in North America, Canada, South Africa and China.
As a chamber music partner he was a member of the Narziss und Goldmund trio and the Rubens Ensemble. His duo with violinist Jolente De Maeyer, which iexists for almost 20 years, is often praised in the press for its exceptional synergy and harmony. The duo's debut CD 'Kreutzer Sonata' was released by Warner and won a Golden Label from Klassiek Centraal for best chamber music album of 2016. De Standaard wrote about this: 'You want to listen to this captivating recital album again immediately after the last track'. In 2020 their next CD 'Remains' was released by Evil Penguin Records.
Nikolaas studied in Antwerp with his parents, Heidi Hendrickx and Levente Kende, in Amsterdam with Jan Wijn and in Munich and Fiesole with Elisso Virsaladze. In addition he studied with such artists as Murray Perahia, Aldo Ciccolini and Radu Lupu.
In 2015, Nikolaas was appointed professor of piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. He has given masterclasses in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Texas, California and China.
Levente Kende, assistant