Recipient of the 2016-2018 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, cellist Nico Olarte-Hayes has given solo recitals at Lincoln Center and the Neue Galerie in New York City, in Memphis’ Artists Ascending Series and New York’s Young Musician’s Forum, and throughout the Netherlands and Japan. He has played on Live From Lincoln Center (PBS) and the Kennedy Center Honors (CBS) in tribute to violinist Itzhak Perlman, a longtime mentor, and has collaborated frequently with Perlman, most notably at the grand opening of the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater. Other collaborations include performances with mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves in Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, pianist Christopher O’Riley in Boston’s Jordan Hall, and violinist Ryu Goto in sold-out tours of Japan and the United States, broadcast on PBS, NPR, and Fuji TV, respectively.
Equally accomplished as a conductor, Nico was named winner of the Vincent C. LaGuardia Conducting Competition and served as Music Director of New York’s IconoClassic Opera and Harvard’s Dunster House Opera, leading fully staged productions of Massenet’s Werther and Britten’s Albert Herring. He has led the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic, Savaria Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Antonio Soler, and Salzburg Chamber Soloists as a conductor in numerous international workshops, including the Tanglewood Festival Conducting Seminar. He also led the New World Symphony in a workshop with Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and has served as cover conductor for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
Nico was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and began his musical studies with his mother at the age of three. He completed pre-college studies at The Juilliard School under cellists David Soyer and Harvey Shapiro, and studied for eight years at the Perlman Music Program under Ronald Leonard. Nico graduated with honors from the Harvard/NEC Joint Program, simultaneously earning an A.B. in Physics from Harvard College, where he studied music with Robert Levin, and his M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser.