Georgian Pianist Nicolas Namoradze Wins 2018 Honens International Piano Competition

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CALGARY, Canada, September 7, 2018 — Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze (age 26) has been named Prize Laureate of the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition. He wins the world’s largest prize for piano $100,000 (CAD) and an Artist Development Program valued at a half-million dollars.  Finalists Han Chen (Taiwan / age 26) and Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner (United States / age 21) each received Raeburn Prizes of $10,000 (CAD), and for the first time in Honens’ history an Audience Award of $5,000 (CAD) was presented to Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner.

“What a wonderful thing for Honens … what a wonderful thing for Nicolas Namoradze!” says Neil Edwards, Honens’ President & CEO. “The journey that began with receipt of his application and ended tonight is merely the first leg of an exciting multi-year trek and we look forward.”

The Competition’s Jury included Alessio Bax (Italy / USA), Ingrid Fliter (Argentina / Italy), Wu Han (Taiwan / USA), Annette Josef (Germany), André Laplante (Canada), Asadour Santourian (USA), and Minsoo Sohn (Korea).

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“Over the past two weeks, our jury and devoted audiences have experienced world-class pianism of the highest possible level,” adds Jon Kimura Parker, Honens’ Artistic Director. “The Honens International Piano Competition has brought artistry, emotion, virtuosity, and creativity to Calgary and to the world. We offer our warmest congratulations to all of the pianists and special congratulations to the 2018 HonensPrize Laureate, Nicolas Namoradze.”

In addition to the $100,000 (CAD) prize, the Honens Prize Laureate is awarded a comprehensive three-year Artist Development Program, which includes debut recitals in some of the world’s leading concert houses, concert opportunities with leading orchestras, professional management, residencies, and recordings.

Archived video recordings of the entire 2018 Honens International Piano Competition can be viewed at

The 2018 Honens International Piano Competition is presented by TD Bank Group. The 2018 Honens Festival is presented by Nexen Energy, a CNOOC Limited Company. Supporting Partners are the RBC Emerging Artists Project, the Azrieli Foundation, and Sir Jack Lyons Charitable Trust.



The performances of pianist and composer Nicolas Namoradze have been hailed by critics as “sparkling … sensitive and coloristic” (New York Times) and “simply gorgeous” (Wall Street Journal). He has given recitals at prestigious venues in several countries around the world and has appeared as a soloist with renowned orchestras and conductors in Europe and the United States. His performances in Hungary, Georgia, Spain, and the US have been broadcast on radio and television and his compositions have been commissioned and performed by leading artists and festivals in the US.

Highlights of his current season include appearances at the Chelsea Music Festival (New York) as a featured composer and pianist, recitals in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut as Artist-in-Residence at The Drozdoff Society, as well as commissions for ensembles such as the Barkada and Verona Quartets and a series of concerts with violinist Rolf Schulte.

Namoradze was recently awarded the Fidelio Fortissimo Prize for young composers (Budapest). During the past season he also composed and produced the soundtracks for Walking Painting, a film by Fabienne Verdier, and Nuit d’opéra à Aix, a short film made in association with the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

After completing his undergraduate studies in Budapest, Vienna, and Florence, Namoradze moved to New York to receive his master’s degree at The Juilliard School. He is now pursuing his Doctorate at the CUNY Graduate Center (New York), holding the Graduate Center Fellowship, studying piano with Emanuel Ax and Yoheved Kaplinsky, and composition with John Corigliano. Nicolas serves on the faculty of Queens College, CUNY (New York).


Honens discovers, nurtures, and presents Complete Artists—21st century pianists for 21st century audiences. The Honens International Piano Competition takes place every three years and is considered one of the world’s most prestigious events of its kind. Honens prepares its Laureates for the rigours and realities of professional careers in music and creates opportunities for growth and exposure. The annual Honens Festival is one of Canada’s premier classical music events, intended to share Mrs. Honens’ love of world renowned music with Albertans every year.

Esther Honens created a legacy of musical excellence to be enjoyed for generations. In 1991, Mrs. Honens gave $5 million to endow an international piano competition in her hometown of Calgary, Canada. Her generosity, vision, and love of music continue to touch the lives of musicians and music-lovers at home and around the world. Legacy Partners follow in Esther Honens’ footsteps by securing Honens’ future and ensuring its continued ability to offer a broad scope of programming and community outreach projects.


The Competition’s mission is to identify talent that is unusual, imaginative, and informed—an artist not limited to displays of virtuosity but one who is capable of thoughtful, expressive music-making, and is ready for a professional career. Honenssees the Complete Artist as a consummate communicator and collaborator, a risk-taking explorer, a dreamer. Through performance and programming choices, he / she expresses and interprets ideas from a wide cultural context with keen imagination, informed and seasoned by a fascination for life outside the practice studio. The Complete Artist inspires the heart and engages the intellect.

The Complete Artist’s interpretations are founded upon the intellectual and emotional understanding of musical text and upon his / her ability to synthesize and express such understanding so as to challenge and stir both the intellect and the emotions of the listener. This creative awareness stems not only from knowledge of a particular composition itself but, equally importantly, from a wide knowledge of related music, of musical literature as a whole, and of the other arts, including, but not limited to, the visual and literary. If the resulting interpretation appears unusual and unconventional, it does so freshly and naturally.

Pianists taking part in the Honens Competition must also express—through their stage deportment, program design, and interviews with arts journalists—sensitivity to contemporary culture and a willingness and ability to communicate effectively with audiences of today.


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