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2018 Honens Competition winner returns to Calgary

WATCH: Honens Piano Competition winner Nicolas Namoradze is back in Calgary after his big win. Deb Matejicka talks to the Honens laureate to find out what has brought him back to town and what has happened since his big win last year.

Nicolas Namoradze was only seven years old when he discovered his life’s passion.

“As a child I was always obsessed with music… and I knew I wanted to play the piano for some reason,” he said.

“Just a few months into starting playing the piano, it became very clear that this was probably going to be my life.”

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Namoradze is now 27 and he has been living his dream life. After taking a short break from the competition circuit, he decided to return for just one event: the Honens International Piano Competition.

“Honens is everything to do with piano on the most international possible scale,” Honens Artistic Director Jon Kimura Parker explained. “So we are very well known internationally as one of the premiere piano competitions in the world for classical piano and that competition happens in the fall every three years.”

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The competition is world renown and offers one of the largest competition prizes in classical music.

“It has a $100,000 cash prize for the laureate as well as a three-year artist development program valued at a half million dollars so it’s really the ideal way to begin one’s career,” said Namoradze.

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Namoradze, who is also a composer, decided he needed to up his game for last year’s competition. He started reading books on sports psychology to understand how elite athletes prepare mentally before a big competition.

“I developed some meditations, some breathing techniques, things that athletes use to get into the zone to achieve this kind of flow state on stage,” said Namoradze, adding he wanted to be able to reach an optimal state to let “things kind of flow naturally.”

If Namoradze were an athlete, then Honens was his Olympics and he brought home the gold.

“He is, pianistically, on another level,” said Parker.

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Since his big win, Namoradze has been performing all across the world, selling out Carnegie Hall for his debut solo recital.

“It’s just been really amazing.”

Namoradze grew up in Hungary but has called New York home since attending Juilliard and is now back in Calgary.

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The internationally famed Honens Festival is taking place across Calgary until Sunday.