The English pianist, Nick van Bloss, began piano lessons at the age of 11. His musical training began as a chorister at Westminster Abbey and he entered the Royal College of Music at the age of 15 as a Junior, attending full time from the age of 17, studying with Yonty Solomon and winning prizes for his playing. Further studies were with Benjamin Kaplan. In 1987, on hearing him play, the great Russian virtuoso, Tatiana Nikolayeva, described van Bloss as the 'finished article of a pianist'.
In 1994, aged 26, Nick van Bloss played a televised recital in Poland at the Chopin Festival. This proved to be his last public appearance before he retired from playing completely for 15 years. During these years van Bloss rarely touched a piano, but he did write his autobiographical memoir ‘Busy Body’, which was published, to much acclaim, in 2006. The following year he was the subject of a BBC ‘Horizon’ documentary, inspired by his book, exploring his creativity. This documentary led to interest in his piano playing and, in 2008, he began a series of recordings with award-winning producer Michael Haas, beginning with J.S. Bach's monumental Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), and including a recording of J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra.Producer Michael Haas, says that “in polyphonic music, such as Bach, Nick offers a superhuman degree of precision and individuality with each voice, while never losing overall transparency,” and who feels that van Bloss’s Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninov are characterised by a “crystalline solidity” which enables him to build and shape works with total security and “achieve a near-perfect balance between vibrancy of keyboard playing and sweep of musical vision.”
In April 2009, van Bloss made a ‘comeback’ concert at London’s Cadogan Hall, playing a concerto by J.S. Bach and L.v. Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra. The concert, uniformly reviewed as a ‘Triumph’ by London’s critics, attracted massive media interest from all over the world.Nick van Bloss’s extraordinary talent as a pianist is inextricably bound up with the Tourette’s Syndrome he has suffered since the age of seven. The piano represents his sole release from the estimated 38,000 tics he undergoes each day as his muscles contort and contract involuntarily, usually in a strict motor rhythm. Renowned neurologist Dr Oliver Sacks, writing about van Bloss in his book Musicophilia, clearly infers a link between Tourette’s and Nick's prowess as a pianist. Highlighting the compulsion of Tourette’s sufferers to touch objects repeatedly in a strict motor rhythm, Sacks describes touch as “an essential form of exploration”, and music as “a heightening and intensification of emotion that is immediately translated into action”.
Recent performances have been in the USA and the UK, recitals and concertos, with van Bloss directing from the keyboard. His recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg' Variations (BWV 988) was released in January 2011. His recording of J.S. Bach's Keyboard Concertos, with the English Chamber Orchestra, will be released later in 2011.
“Fresh, but cogent and entirely unselfconscious... Sublime poetry, playfulness and, above all, a relish of what the modern piano can bring to this music in terms of dynamics, colour and articulation.” - Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times
“...precision is paramount, and Van Bloss employs it here to mesmerising effect...” - Andy Gill, The Independent
“The fluidity of line, the unforced lyricism – not always thought an allowable word with Bach, but just listen to this – and the clarity of structure and counterpoint make you sit up.” - Fiona Maddocks, The Observer