The first of the Honiton Festival’s Winter series of Lunchtime concerts takes place Friday, October 19, in St Paul’s Church, Honiton, at 1pm.

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The exciting and talented Syrian pianist Riyad Nicolas will be performing works by Beethoven and Chopin.

Tickets in advance from Honiton TIC or at the door. Lunch is available in the church from noon.

Riyad Nicolas was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1989.

He started playing the piano at the age of six studying with Joumana Ilias.

Having displayed remarkable progress, Riyad joined the Arab Institute of Music in Aleppo in 1997.

Under the supervision of Michael Kotcharov, he won the Best Piano Student Prize of the Syrian Arab Republic for two consecutive years (1998-1999).

During his studies in the UK, Riyad won second prize in the Seiler International Piano Competition, Greece in 2006.

Other successes include first prize at the 2008 Jean Françaix International Piano Competition in Paris and in 2009 he was a prize winner in the Ciutat de Carlet International Piano Competition, Spain.

This year, Riyad won first prize in the Christopher Duke Piano Recital Competition. It is understandable that he is regarded as one of the most exciting musicians to emerge from the Middle East and is supported by the Tillett Trust Young Artists Platform.

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