Niel Immelman is a South African classical pianist.
He studied with Cyril Smith, Ilona Kabos and Maria Curcio. He was still a student at the Royal College of Music (where he now teaches) when Bernard Haitink invited him to play Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. This successful début was followed by further appearances with the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic and other major orchestras at the Royal Festival Hall, the Royal Albert Hall and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and it marked the beginning of a concert career that has taken him to every continent.
His commercial recordings have received outstanding critical acclaim and have featured in Classic CD magazine's 'Pick of the Year'; his survey of the complete piano works of Josef Suk on the Meridian label is a first in recorded history. James Leonard, in Allmusic, reviewing the first volume of Immelman's Suk set, opened by noting how important a composer Suk was ("the Bohemian equal of Mahler, Suk is one of the most lyrical, the most dramatic, and the most tragic composer of the fin de siècle"), so as to indicate the importance of Immelman's project here, and then Leonard praised Immelman's playing as "passionate," "immensely emotional," "fervent," and he said that, "Immelman's performances deserve to be heard by anyone."
Immelman's style is understated, emphasizing the poetic aspects of the music, the aspects that are evocative of images and emotions reflective of the composer's intentions and culture. For this reason, Immelman's recorded performances of the Suk piano music have been considered by some to constitute a landmark of the recorded classical music literature.
Niel Immelman has given masterclasses and he regularly serves on juries of international competitions.
Niel's CDs are available from www.meridian-records.co.uk