Home Official News Releases Keys to Excellence series showcases Drake pianist Nicholas Roth

Keys to Excellence series showcases Drake pianist Nicholas Roth

Concert features Russian works including the Nutcracker Suite, which is performed as a duet with Drake senior Pablo Valladares

Nicholas Roth, professor of piano at Drake University

Nicholas Roth, professor of piano at Drake University, will present the next concert of Drake University’s Keys to Excellence Piano Series. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27 in Sheslow Auditorium, 2507 University Avenue.

The program features several short works by Russian mystic Alexander Scriabin, and two substantial pieces by Nikolay Miaskovsky. Miaskovsky, a close friend of Sergei Prokofiev, was known as the “musical conscience of Moscow” during his tenure on the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory, and his work is virtually unknown in the United States. The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker Suite (arranged for piano duet) performed with Pablo Valladares, a Drake senior majoring in piano performance. The complete program is as follows:

Keys to Excellence Piano Series 2017-18

NOVEMBER 27: Nicholas Roth – Drake University

FEBRUARY 5, 2018: Asaf Zohar – Tel Aviv University

MARCH 26, 2018: Marina Horak –  Academy of Music in Ljubljana

APRIL 23, 2018: Peter Miyamoto – University of Missouri (Columbia)


SEPTEMBER 25: Steven Spooner – University of Kansas

NOVEMBER 6: Arthur Greene – University of Michigan

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

Two Poèmes, Op. 32
Nocturne for the Left Hand, Op. 9, No. 9
Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915)

Song and Rhapsody, Op. 58 (1942)
Second Sonata, Op. 13 (1912, rev. 1948)
Nikolai Miaskovsky (1881-1950)

Nutcracker Suite for Piano Four Hands*

  • No. 1 – Ouverture
  • No. 2 – Marche
  • No. 3 – Danse de la Fée-Dragée
  • No. 4 – Danse russe (Trepak)
  • No. 5 – Danse arabe
  • No. 6 – Danse chinoise
  • No. 7 – Danse des mirlitons
  • No. 8 – Valse des fleurs

Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
* performed with Pablo Valladares, piano

Nicholas Roth began formal studies at age twelve, receiving critical acclaim for his appearances by the age of eighteen. He appeared as soloist with the St. Louis Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony under Raymond Leppard, among others. Roth is featured as a performer and teacher throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. He is a Yamaha Artist, a Beethoven Fellow of the American Pianists Association, earned prizes in the chamber music competitions of Tortona and Pietra Ligure, Italy, and received a DAAD grant to further his studies in Germany. Roth holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University, Artist Diplomas in solo piano performance and art song collaboration from the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, and MM and BM degrees from Indiana University, where he was the recipient of the School of Music’s highest honors. He studied with Ralph Votapek, Elisso Virsaladze, Helmut Deutsch, Edward Auer, Emilio del Rosario, and Michel Block.

Roth has taught masterclasses at Indiana University, SoundSCAPE Festival in Italy, Isidor Bajić School of Music in Serbia, Conservatorio Superior Nacional de Musica in Quito, Ecuador, International Beethoven Festival in Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Chicago and many other schools in the USA. He was a presenter for the European Piano Teachers Association World Piano Conference in Serbia and is an Accreditation Examiner with distinction (Diploma of Excellence) for the World Piano Teachers Association. A Nationally Certified Teacher of the Music Teachers National Association, he is a frequent presenter, adjudicator and administrator for MTNA events. Roth was honored by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana for his “contribution to the performing arts, his accomplishments as a concert pianist, and his inspiration to young musicians.”

In 2016 and 2017, Roth joined Drake colleagues and students at Minzu University in Beijing to present masterclasses and performances. He has also performed and taught at Pusan National University in South Korea. In July 2017, Roth served on the faculty of the First Ono Zone International Music Festival in Quito, Ecuador.

Other recent highlights include serving on the faculty of the Edward Auer Summer Piano Workshop at the Jacobs School of Music of Indiana University and the Classical Music Festival Piano Seminar in Eisenstadt (Austria), appearing as a featured performer on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor, and collaborating with Robert Spano in a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Roth is professor of piano at Drake University. Previous appointments include University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and Alma College. He has recorded for the Blue Griffin, Naxos, MSR Classics & Innova recording labels. His recordings with Blue Griffin have garnered exceptional reviews from International Record Review, Gramophone, Fanfare, and American Record Guide. Roth is the founder of the Drake University Keys to Excellence Piano Series, now in its fifth season, featuring renowned artists from all over the world.

The Keys to Excellence Piano Series was created to raise awareness of Drake’s fundraising efforts for the purpose of 70 brand new Yamaha pianos for the music department. It brings internationally acclaimed artists to perform on the Yamaha CFX concert grand at Drake University.

The series is supported by Yamaha, West Music, Civic Music Association, and Drake University. For more information, contact Nicholas Roth at 515-321-5947 or nicholas.roth@drake.edu.