Nicholas Santangelo Schwartz

by Francesco Comito

Nicholas Santangelo Schwartz

Nicholas Santangelo Schwartz is one of the only active cellists / double bassists in the world who plays on an artistic level on both instruments. Although having only started 1.5 years ago, he has already performed on cello in The Netherlands, Spain, Australia, with top artists such as Daniel Rowland, Anna Fedorova, Linus Roth, Benedict Kloeckner and more. He’s appeared on cello at the International Chamber music festival, Ede, and on Radio and TV broadcasts in the Netherlands.  Upcoming performances include duo with Anna Fedorova (piano) in Norway and trio with Dana Zemtsov (viola) and Anna Fedorova in the USA. Nicholas decided to pick up the cello to expand musical possibilities and enjoys very much diving into the cello repertoire.

 As a double bassist, Nicholas has long distinguished himself as one of the best of his generation. He is a laureate of multiple international competitions, including being the youngest winner ever of the International Society of Bassists Solo Competition and commission prize. He was also the first double bassist to win (in a unanimous vote) the Stulberg International String Competition and its Bach Festival Society Award in its 43 year history. Since then he has won the USA International Music Competition and has appeared as special artist for the International Society of Bassists Convention in San Francisco, the Texas Double Bass symposium and “Bass 2014” Amsterdam. Radio broadcasts include multiple appearances on “Radio 4” in the Netherlands, National Public Radio in America, and in the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago, a live recital broadcast on WFMT, the largest classical music station in the USA.

    In 2013, Nicholas became a tenured bassist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, widely known as one of the greatest orchestras in the world. He formerly played with the Berlin Philharmonic as a student of the Karajan Akademie, and in the USA with the Boston Symphony and Pops orchestras. In addition to being a long time member of the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, he was guest artist at multiple international chamber music festivals in Holland, Germany, Norway, Belarus, Italy and Brasil, with such artists as Kirill Troussov, Anna Fedorova, Maximilian Hornung, Linus Roth, Eldbjørg Hemsing, Benedict Kloekner, Janusz Wawrowski, Alexei Ogrintchouk, and Olivier Patey. With world famous pianist, Anna Fedorova he has formed the “Oyster Duo” performing across Europe, Ukraine and the US to promote the double bass as a solo instrument. 

    In addition to his numerous concert performances, Nicholas enjoys teaching privately and giving master classes. He is a mentor in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra’s Academy program, working one-on-one both on stage and off. He has coached student orchestras of Spain, Greece, Holland, Brasil and the USA and was bass teacher at the Marc O’Connor fiddle camp at Berklee College of Music. He has teacher certification in the O’Connor violin method, adapted to the double bass.

    In other musical genres, Nicholas feels equally at home on the band stand. As a jazz bassist he won his first international competition at Carnegie Hall at the age of 15 with the “Midday Jazz Quartet”, receiving the Grand Prize in the Chamber Music Foundation of New England International Chamber Music Competition. He shared the stage with distinguished artists such as Mark O’Connor and Russell Malone and Clark Terry.

    Originally from Brookline, Massachusetts (USA) Nicholas resides in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In his younger years, Nicholas was a dedicated and competitive skateboarder, having been twice the 15 and under champion of Boston. He then completed a Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts at Boston University, where he received the Zulalian Foundation Award. His teachers include Edwin Barker (Boston Symphony principal double bassist) and Matthew Mcdonald (solo bassist of the Berlin Philharmonic) as Karajan Akademist in 2012-13.

Nicholas plays a cello by Amati Mangenot (1930, Bordeaux) and a double bass by Gaetano Antoniazzi (1872, Milan). He is a sponsored artist of Pirastro strings.

photos: Marco Borggreve