18-Year-Old Prodigy Thomas Nickell Is About to Do Something Major

The piano prodigy is gearing up to make his solo debut at Carnegie Hall.

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Name: Thomas Nickell

Age: 18

Cool Occupation: Pianist

Why He Matters: Nickell's solo debut is at Carnegie Hall in New York City this Sunday, February 26. He'll be accompanied by a full orchestra as he plays his favorite pieces, including some of his own compositions.

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Nickell performs Henry Cowell's "Aeolian Harp" while wearing Snapchat Spectacles.

Age When He Got Into Music: 5 years old

How He Combats Nerves: "I look at it like I'm playing for a group of friends or just playing at home. There's really not a big difference—you're still making music and still playing your instrument."

Number of Practice Hours: Five to six on a good day, but he tells us he's always thinking about the music, even when he's not actually playing

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Nickell reveals his favorite composer—and why he thinks he's underrated.

First Song He Learned on Piano: The fourth movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"

Dream Piece to Play: Leonard Bernstein's "Symphony No. 2: The Age of Anxiety"

Why We Should Love Classical Music: "It seems like a foreign thing—going to a concert hall and dressing up—But [classical music] is all of our roots, really. I think we should be embracing it with our culture."

Finally, His Spirit Emoji:

Learn more about Nickell (and hear more of his work!) at thomasnickell.com.

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