Name: Thomas Nickell
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.
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
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.