Nicholas McCarthy (pianist)

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Nicholas McCarthy
Nicholas McCarthy Pianist.png
Background information
Origin Tadworth, Surrey, England
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Pianist
Instruments Piano
Years active 2011–present
Associated acts British Paraorchestra

Nicholas McCarthy is a British pianist. Born without a right hand, he was the first left-hand-only pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in London in its 130-year history.[1]

McCarthy was raised in Tadworth, Surrey.[2] He began his piano studies at 14, and by 17 was accepted into the Junior department at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won the annual piano prize, on the proviso that he focus on repertoire written specifically for the left hand.[1][3] He then enrolled in the keyboard department at the Royal College of Music, becoming its first left-hand-only graduate in 2012.

McCarthy was an original member of the British Paraorchestra, an ensemble founded by conductor Charles Hazlewood in 2011, which performed alongside Coldplay during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London in September 2012. He left the British Paraorchestra shortly after to pursue several international solo tours.[4]

On 23 September 2013 McCarthy spoke of his experiences at a TED conference held at the Royal Albert Hall.[5] In 2014 he featured as a guest presenter for the BBC Proms televised broadcast.[6]

On 4 November 2015, McCarthy appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme, during which he discussed the recording of his debut album Solo, which had recently reached Number 4 in the classical music charts.[7]


  1. ^ a b Donna Bowater (2012-08-28). "One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy graduates from Royal College of Music". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  2. ^ Jackson, Peter (15 August 2012). "One-handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy 'an inspiration'". Surrey: BBC News. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  3. ^ Everett, Lucinda (11 July 2014). "Concert pianist Nicholas McCarthy on music education and the Paralympics". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  4. ^ Brown, Maggie (1 September 2012). "Coldplay join the paraorchestra of disabled musicians for closing ceremony". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  5. ^ "TEDx Albertopolis". TED. 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  6. ^ "BBC Proms 2014 Broadcast Festival: new presenters, new ways to watch and listen". BBC. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  7. ^ "Front Row: Nicholas McCarthy, Backstage at the theatre, Burnt review, Dominic Sandbrook". BBC. Retrieved 4 November 2015.

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