The violinist Nilla Pierrou gained a standing for herself as a brilliant violinist during 40 years, as a soloist and as a chamber musician in Europe and in the USA, with concert tours, recordings and radio performances. For 28 years she formed a duo with the Belgian pianist Eugène De Canck, and for three years she was a member of the new Gertler Quartet, founded in1980. She was appointed professor in 1977 at the Music Conservatory of Maastricht, where she was a teacher for 24 years. Many of her students are now soloists and concertmasters in Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada or Italy.
Many have received awards at national and international violin competitions. Here can be mentioned competitions such as Oscar Back (1st prize) in Amsterdam, Lipizer in Gorizia and Szymanowski in Brussels. Her students came not only from Europe but also from Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Iran and South Korea. She has given master classes in Budapest and Szombathely (H) as Gertler’s assistant in Bartók seminars, Goslar and Hamm (D), in Dworp, Malle and Spa (B), in Amsterdam and Rotterdam (NL), in Daegu in South Korea, in Limoges (F) and in Rättvik and Västervik (S).
Nilla Pierrou came to Brussels in 1970 to continue her studies. The examination took place in 1972 with “de Grootste onderscheiding” when the jury of the Brussels Conservatory awarded her their highest distinction: diploma+congratulations! She has participated with great success in competitions like the Nordic Association String Competition 1969, ARD in Munich 1972, Szigeti Budapest 1973, Bach Leipzig 1976, Unesco Tiji Bratislava 1977 – all resulting in a first prize – and very honourably in another handful. In 1973 she was awarded the Ysaÿe medal for her interpretation of his works.
She has performed in 21 countries and with the Symphony Orchestras in Alabama, New Hampshire, Vienna, Berlin, Cluj, Limburg, Gothenburg, Malmö and Naples, with Gewandhaus in Leipzig, with the Festival Strings in Luzern, with the Washington Chamber Orchestra, with the Junge Deutsche Philhar- monie, with the Bavarian, Belgian, Finnish, Swiss, and Hungarian Radio Orchestras, as well as another handful of radio orchestras, with the Philharmonic Orchestras in Dresden, Oslo, Stockholm, Lisbon, Bergen, Budapest and Karl-Marx-Stadt and of course with other orchestras all over Sweden.
In 1998 Nilla founded her private school in Brussels, the André Gertler Violin Academy. In 2005 she moved back to Sweden after almost 40 years abroad. She now lives in Floda, Gothenburg, where she can receive students for individual lessons. She continues to teach according to the world famous Gertler method. “Only in a relaxed body is it possible to think and make music freely” (without problems such as bow- arm shakes, intonation problems, tensions and stiff articulations).
In this box she is playing either the Stradivarius 1723 called ‘Ex Joachim’ after one of all its former possessors (at the time lent to her by Erik Järnåker) or her own Januarius Gagliano 1748.
Nilla Pierrou gives everything in her play, it is exuberant and generous, it blazes with passion, it sparkles, it glimmers in filtered light, it is meditative
Le Soir, Bruxelles 1984
After a concert in Dalarna I was happy as critic to be able to write:
The performance of Brahms’ Violin Sonata in A major will remain in my memory. Moderate tempi, wonderfully long-spun bridges, deepest insight in a performance of highest international class – an exceptional experience of grace (Falu Kuriren 18/9 2007).
Christer Eklund (translation: Maggie Eklund)