Jazzpiano, Cello, Composition
The Austrian-American multi-instrumentalist Nikolaus Leopold can be considered one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. Similar to tumbleweed, his curiosity constantly propels him into new realms, adding yet another part to the spectrum of becoming a complete musician.
Nikolaus was born 1985 in Vienna. His interest in music began at a very early age. He studied classical cello with Tobias Kühne, Kerstin Feltz and Reinhard Latzko at the University of Music and the Performing Arts Vienna and at the University of Arts Graz.
As a soloist and chamber musician Nikolaus has won several prizes, among others: 1st prize – International Cello Competition Liezen, Austria. Silver medal – Stulberg International String Competition Kalamazoo, Michigan USA. 1st prize – Prima la Musica, Musica Juventutis. He has also participated in the Master Classes of: Heinrich Schiff, Walter Despalj, Anner Bylsma, Gustav Rivinius, György Kurtag (chamber music) and Jörg Widmann (composition). Nikolaus receives additional impulses and insights from Christiane Karajeva, Rudi Wilfer and Matthias Rüegg.
He has performed throughout Europe, the USA, and Asia.
Nikolaus is regularly invited to prominent festivals such as: Salzburger Festspiele, Styriarte Graz, IMS Prussia Cove, Kronberg Cello Academy, Musical Summer Ostfriesland and the Bregenz Jazz Festival. Recently he has joined the renowned Ensemble 013, which annually accompanies Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s famous play „Jedermann“ at the Salzburg Festival.
At the „Strings Only“ festival 2004 in Zadar, Croatia, Nikolaus was awarded a special prize for his original composition, which he subsequently performed in Zagreb and in the Vienna Konzerthaus with national radio broadcast. As a task for a school project Nikolaus built his own cello over a time period of 3 months, which he then performed on for many years. Today he is the proud owner of a modern instrument by the prestigious, Rhineland-Palatinate Violinmaker Urs Mächler.
Nikolaus discovered his talent for piano during his studies with the famous Austrian Jazz pianist Reinhard Micko. From the fall of 2007 he has studied with Rob van Bavel and Karel Boehlee at the Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Amsterdam, where he graduated in 2011.
Nikolaus wrote miscellaneous compositions and arrangements. His main focus is merging the structural and emotional aspects of classical music with the rhythmic and improvisational elements of jazz. In addition to Russian composers, the folklore traditions of Spain, Eastern Europe, and the Balkan regions have been a major influence on Nikolaus’ writing style.
Seen as important successes are his Melodrama for speaking Voice and Orchestra (2012), his „Wahlverwandtschaften“ for String Ensemble (2013), his Suite for 8 Celli (2016) and the title track for the virtual reality film production „Ballavita“ (Amilux Film 2017).
Since his return from Holland, Nikolaus has been living as a freelance artist in Vienna.