I had the privilege of studying music privately with the Greek-American concert pianist Nicholas Constantinidis. I studied with Nick from the age of twenty until his death in 2016, when I was 37.
When Nick died, I played a Memorial Service service for him in my hometown of Kent, Ohio.
Nick was the most amazing self-actualized person I’d ever met. He was a lineage holder in the European tradition of concert pianists: Nicholas Constantinidis -> Ignaz Tiegerman -> Theodor Leschetizky -> Carl Czerny -> Ludwig Van Beethoven.
Nick was blind since early childhood, and came from a poor family, yet successfully managed to emigrate to the United States. He subsequently concertized world-wide, and is noted for performing concertos with many of the world’s most famous orchestras.
Nick was my teacher, my best friend, and my mentor. He taught me music, ambidexterity, working with higher consciousness, and self-actualization.
One thing Nick did that was very inspiring to me was to play concerts in the public schools in the area through-out his life, and one of my ambitions in life is to follow in his footsteps by playing in the schools as well.
You can hear Nick perform Chopin in the video below. It was recorded at a faculty recital in the mid 80’s while Nick was teaching at the University of Akron.
About Nicolas Constantinidis
The talented Greek-American pianist, Nicolas Constantinidis, is a remarkable study in determination and courage. Driven by the intensity of his passion for music, he refused to allow the loss of his sight at the age of six to hinder him from the realization of his goal: to communicate through music with people the world over.
Phenomenal success sprang from his dedication to that goal! He was a winner of Poland’s International Youth Festival of Music which earned him the privilege of presenting a Chopin recital in Chopin’s home in Zelazowa Wola, Poland, and an Honorary Diploma from the Conservatory of Warsaw. This event launched a radiant career, taking him to the continents of North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
His impressive list of public appearances includes performances in Town Hall, New York; Wigmore Hall, London; Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Severance Hall, Cleveland; Victoria Concert Hall, Singapore; Sejong Cultural Center, Seoul; Schubertsaal, Vienna; Konzertsaal Bundesallee, Berlin; Tonhalle, Zurich; Cleveland Museum of Art; E.J. Thomas Hall, Akron; Henry M. Flagler Museum, Palm Beach; and the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Mr. Constantinidis has also given a great number of performances with major orchestras the world over. He has appeared with distinguished conductors such as Armin Jordan, Maurice Abravanel, Louis Lane, Stanley Pope, Alan Balter, Jose Serebrier, Choo Hoey, and Kenneth Schermerhorn.
His career is further highlighted by radio and television appearances on BBC, Voice of America, RIAS (Radio Berlin), Vienna Radio, PBS (Public Broadcasting System), ORTF (Paris), and the Suisse Ramande Radio and Television Service in performance with their orchestra in Geneva.
Nicolas Constantinidis tells of overcoming the apprehensions conductors have when performing with a blind artists. With a smile he says: “There are a few critical measures when I should be looking at the conductor. So, I always ask if it would be too difficult, instead, for him to look at me. We never never had a problem!”
In addition, he has made the premier recording of three 20th Century Greek piano works on the Musical Heritage Society and Constant Classics labels. The release was met with enthusiastic praise from the well-known publications The Stereo Review and Clavier.
His educational background is eclectic: a Licentiate with Distinction from London’s Royal Academy of Music, a Bachelor of Music degree, cum laude, on a full scholarship from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
He is also the recipient of the highly esteemed Master Teacher Certificate from Music Teachers National Association and the Achievement in the Arts Award from the Music & Arts Center for the Handicapped (Bridgeport, Connecticut). As is evident, Nicolas Constantinidis has a series of triumphs that far exceed those of many sighted artists. A poetic virtuoso with an engaging personality, he readily captivates audiences of all ages and cultural backgrounds.