Nicholas Ashton

Nicholas Ashton

Mr Nicholas Ashton M.Mus (Edin); PG.Dip, Adv.Mus (Manc); B.Mus Hons (RNCM), SFHEA

Senior Lecturer T&R


I was educated at Chetham’s School, RNCM, at the Conservatoire superièur de musique Geneva, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Frankfurt-am-Main and the University of Edinburgh. Following a successful early career as a solo pianist, I worked as an English teacher and translator in Germany and in artist management in London, before resuming performing after encouragement from Murray Perahia and Menahem Pressler.

A critically acclaimed debut at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall led to a commercial live disc of the recital in 1996 and increasing offers to play both in the UK and in Germany, where I have been a regular guest artistic director of the Hamburg Chamber Arts Association Society since 2000, performing over seventy separate solo and chamber recitals. I have also given many recitals and masterclasses in the USA, Finland, Italy and throughout Germany and the UK, including at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, Liverpool Hope, RNCM, RCS, RAM, Durham, London.

I have recorded many times for the BBC, (recently accompanying two soloists on Radio 3’s In Tune performing in Bellini’s Norma at the Edinburgh International Festival 2016), on West German NDR 2 and 4, Bayern 4, Radio Swisse Romande, Radio New Zealand and in the USA. My performing repertoire extends to some 25 concerti, solo repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the contemporary, a wide range of chamber music and Lied.

In 2008, a première recording, for Delphian Records, of the complete piano works and piano quintet by the distinguished Scottish composer Robert Crawford received international praise in the media. I have worked regularly with the Edinburgh Quartet, performing almost all of the core piano quintet repertoire.

I have worked with the Lithuanian pianist Lauryna Sableviciute, with whom I formed a duo entitled Re: Sono, with the intention of combining new work written for two pianos with less-well known repertoire. Lauryna and I have already received commissions and dedications from a number of composers and have premiered them.
I am also preparing a recording of the complete works for two pianos and piano duet by Mozart with the German pianist Franck-Thomas Link for 2019-20.

I am Senior Lecturer and Co-Programme Leader for the Classical Bachelor of Music with Honours Degree at Edinburgh Napier University, leading classes covering all aspects of performance as well as supervising all instrumental and vocal teaching. Our carefully nurtured students have been successful in developing their work as postgraduates at all the major British conservatoires. I have a strong interest in performance as research, with particular reference to the creation of an interpretational trace in the presentation of première performance. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am currently Specialist External Assessor for all undergraduate and postgraduate pianists at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and I was a member of the Board of Directors for the Scottish International Piano Competition in 2014. He is also in demand as an adjudicator, including at Eton College, St. Mary’s Music School, Edinburgh, High School of Dundee and at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Research Areas


Editorial Activity

  • Artistic Director of the Hamburg Stock Exchange Concert Series (2005, 2012)
  • Member of the Board of Directors, Scottish International Piano Competition 2014
  • Member of the Advisory Committee for Programming, Hamburg Chamber Arts Association Hamburg, BRD (2000-present)


External Examining/Validations

  • Specialist External Assessor, Postgraduate and Undergraduate Programmes . Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2010-present)
  • Ph.D External Examiner University of Salford (2015): Thesis Title: The Feminist Voice in Contemporary Vocal Performance


Invited Speaker

  • Northumbria University: Conference in the series The Web of Wellbeing” entitled “Music, Mind Brain and Way of Life”: Paper delivered:” “How do Audiences React/Interact to/with the Performance of Live Music?”


Media Activity

  • Solo Piano Recital: Wasserklavier, Halle 424, Hamburg
  • Solo Piano Recial: Wasserklavier Hamburg Chamber Arts Association
  • University of Glasgow Solo Performance
  • Solo Piano Rcital: Wasserklavier, Byre Theatre, St Andrews
  • Solo Recital: Wasserklavier, Reid Concert Series Edinburgh University
  • BBC Radio Scotland Janice Forsyth: The Culture Show: Discussion with James MacMillan and Paul Ferguson on LoLa project: Low Latency Transfer
  • Filming and Recording for forthcoming TV Documentary “Chopin’s Year in Scotland 1848” with the Screen Academy


Public Engagement Activity

  • Liverpool Hope University: Two Piano Recital and World Premiere Performances by Staff Composers