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BIOGRAPHY

Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Nafis Umerkulova began playing the piano at the age of five inspired by her mother who was a pianist. She started performing from the age of seven and soon became a laureate of the “Sog’lom Avlod Uchun” National Piano Competition in Tashkent, the International Balys Dvarionas and the Nikolai Rubinstein Piano Competition.

In 2004, Nafis was invited to continue her musical education at the Purcell School, Royal Academy of Music (2006) and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (2010). During these years, she studied with professors William Fong, Tatiana Sarkissova and Aaron Shorr and was the first pianist from Uzbekistan awarded a full scholarship at every place of study.

Nafis has received mentorship from artists such as Pascal Devoyon, Pascal Rogé, Steven Osborne, Steven Kovacevich, Robert Levin and many others. She was also among a select few granted a scholarship and chosen to participate at the Tel-Hai International Masterclasses under the tutelage of Dmitri Bashkirov.

 

Passionate both as a soloist and a chamber musician, Nafis regularly performs in the UK and abroad. In the Uk she performed at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, St Martin-in-the-Fields, St. John's Smith Square, Glasgow City Halls, Manchester Bridgewater Hall, Birmingham Symphony & Town Halls among many other venues. International performances include recitals at the Tashkent State Conservatoire, Philharmonic Hall in Ljubljana, Casa della Musica in Arezzo, Florence Lyceum Club, Centro Caprense Ignazio Cerio in Capri, La Casa de los Pianistas in Seville, Salle Colonne in Paris.

 

After completing her formal studies, Nafis chose to undertake further advanced study at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire with Professor Deniz Gelenbe and at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with Professors John Thwaites and Margaret Fingerhut. Nafis is a recipient of numerous awards and prizes, which include the prestigious Myra Hess Award by Help Musicians UK, and 3rd prize at the International BRANT Piano Competition. Her performances have been broadcast on BBC, national radio & television in Slovenia and Uzbekistan. In 2019 Nafis released her debut album “Darkness illuminated” featuring the music of Alexander Scriabin and Alexei Stanchinsky.

 

In addition to her performing career, Nafis is highly enthusiastic about teaching and regularly dedicates time to sharing her experience with younger students. She is currently a member of the piano department at the Purcell School, Rachmaninov Music Academy and the annual Philomel Music Academy.

 

Nafis is deeply grateful to the Fagus Anstruther Memorial Fund, the Matthiesen Foundation and Help Musicians UK for their continued interest and support in her career.

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