BIOGRAPHY
Nicolas Economou (11/8/1953 - 29/12/1993) was born in Nicosia, Cyprus. His first contact with classical music at the age of five was primarily because of his parents’ decision to give Nicolas a creative outlet.
Very soon Nicolas gave his teachers glimpses of what was to become an extraordinary talent by improvising on the piano and composing short pieces of music. The celebrated Cypriot composer Solon Michaelides (and a friend of the family) heard him play for the first time, and was very impressed. ”This child is a blessing to his parents, Cyprus and the World" he declared. On his advice, Nicolas's musical training was undertaken by George Arvanitakis. The turning-point in Nicolas's life came at the age of ten. A decision had to be made whether Nicolas would eventually take up music as a career.
Again Solon Michaelides, who was following Nicolas's progress, suggested that his musical education should be continued beyond the narrow boarders of Cyprus where Nicolas could have greater opportunities.
So, in September of 1964, following an audition, Nicolas was accepted at the Special School of Music of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, a preparatory school for youngsters intending to enter the Conservatory itself. In December of the same year, in Athens, Nicolas won the 1st prize at the ‘Keti Papaioannou Panhellenic Competition’ for young musicians up to seventeen years old.


The following year 1965 at the age of twelve, far away from his family and culture, Nicolas started his studies in Moscow. Three years later, his piano teacher suggested that Nicolas entered the internationally prestigious Tchaikovsky Competition. So, in 1969 after a year of preparation and at the age of sixteen, he participated in the competition, gaining favourable reviews from the Press, Radio and Television. A year later, he was admitted to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory itself. In 1972 Nicolas moved to Dusseldorf and then to Munich, Germany. From his new base he established himself throughout Europe as a concert pianist, composer (he studied composition with Vladislav Zolotorev and Wilhelm Killmeyer), arranger, conductor and organiser of music festivals.

Nicolas gave concerts in Europe, the USA and Canada as well as the USSR, Japan, and Israel. He performed both solo and with orchestras, and other famous musicians and composers like Martha Argerich, Rodion Shchedrin, Svijatoslav Richter, Michel Beroff, and Chick Corea. Two rare recordings were made: The first was Nicolas’ transcription of the ‘Nutcracker-Suite’ for two pianos which was performed with Martha Argerich and the second was with Chick Corea, entitled ‘On Two Pianos’. This was the result of a series of concerts in Germany in 1981/1982 during which the two musicians interacted by improvising in their own music style.

In addition to the records mentioned above, he had also released two other solo albums.
A legacy in the form of recordings that Nicolas had prepared shortly before passing away include works by Liszt, Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky which the Nicolas Economou Foundation in association with a small record label released in CD format in seven volumes.


Nicolas wrote music for piano, for small ensembles, symphonic music and film scores. Many of his compositions have themes and rhythms from Cyprus and the Mediterranean. Some of his compositions are: ‘Children Studies’, ‘Sonata for Chick’ (dedicated to Chick Corea) for piano, ‘Cyprus Pictures’ and ‘Cyprus Dances’ for an eight piece musical ensemble (octet), the soundtracks for twelve films including "Rosa Luxemburg" and "Die bleierne Zeit", both by Margarethe von Trotta. Apart from classical music, which was his main interest, he used to listen to other kinds of music including Jazz, Rock and Pop. He especially appreciated the music of the Beatles. Like many musicians with broad taste he always used to say, "There is good and there is bad music".
Nicolas also arranged Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker Suite" for two pianos. Performers and critics alike have praised this arrangement, since all the musical colours portrayed by the orchestra are very well conveyed by two pianos. He directed the distinguished Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra, Germany’s Youth Orchestra and the La Fenice Opera Orchestra of Venice.

In 1978, with the collaboration of the City of Munich, Nicolas organised a ‘Cyprus Week’ in Munich, with artists from Cyprus including actors, musicians, painters, sculptors and the late shadow performer, Paphios. He was also the founder of the ‘Solisten Ensemble’ in Munich with which he performed some of his compositions and those of other composers. He was the co-founder of the well-established "Munich Summer Piano Festival". In February 1992 he organised in Venice the first of a series of piano festivals he intended to establish in Europe with the title "Pianisti non Solo".


As an acknowledgement of his services and contribution to Culture and the Arts in general, Nicolas was honoured on various occasions by several bodies. The city of Munich honoured him in 1979 for his contribution to the Arts, as a composer and interpreter of classical and modern music, with the award for ‘Best Interpreter of the Year’. In 1983, the Bavarian TV produced an hour long television portrait of Nicolas, which reveals all facets of his creative life. The film, called ‘Kreisleriana’, was directed by Klaus Voswinkel. Since 1988, a seat bearing his name has stood in the Prinzregententheater of the City of Munich, next to seats of other prominent artists. Because of his outstanding contribution to music, in 1992 he was admitted into one of Europe’s most prominent societies, the ‘Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea’ (The European Academy of Sciences and Arts) members of which are Nobel Prize winners, politicians, artists, church dignitaries and others.
In his native Cyprus he was honoured with the ‘Tevkros Anthias and Theodosis Pierides’ Award.

Nicolas had many friends, not only musicians but also persons coming from a variety of cultural and intellectual backgrounds. Among them was the late philosopher and play writer Friedrich Durrenmatt, with whom he had a special bond. Others included Arthur Miller and his family, Rodion Shchedrin and the legendary Maja Plisestkaya, Maximilian and Maria Schell, Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta. In Greece he had close ties with the late Solon Michaelides and Manos Hadjidakis.

Even though he spent almost all of his life far away from the island of Cyprus, deep inside he remained a Cypriot with all the characteristics of the Mediterranean people. He never lost touch with the island and during his visits to Cyprus he greatly enjoyed discussing politics and would eagerly prompt discussions on life and philosophical issues. He was always frank and direct and had no inhibitions in expressing an opinion, and for this he was very much respected. He is not only missed by his friends and associates, but also by those people who knew him through his music or many TV and Radio appearances.

Nicolas expressed many of this thoughts and ideas in literary work both in poetry and prose. He regarded himself as a citizen of the World and refused to accept borders, either in the geographical sense, or in artistic expression and ideas.
It is expected that once his literary work has been classified and appraised, it will be published by the Nicolas Economou Foundation.

Today the Foundation is in the process of gathering all the recordings he had made in various countries for Radio or TV broadcasts.