Nikos Syropoulos is an award-winning pianist, composer, and teacher based in Portland, OR. A three-time recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award, Nikos has gained national recognition for his original music and has toured internationally. He is the leader of the jazz chamber ensemble, Rozalía, and has independently released three albums. Named in honor of his late Greek grandmother, Rozalía features Nikos’ original compositions written for piano and strings, drawing upon his main musical influences, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Keith Jarrett, and Egberto Gismonti.
Nature plays a large part in influencing Nikos’ music, and in 2017 he created a music video series entitled, Looking Up at Trees to explore this connection. Looking Up at Trees is an ever-growing collection of short, beautiful videos of trees, accompanied by original musical vignettes inspired by each individual species. He is currently working on the first Looking Up at Trees album to be released in late 2019.
Nikos thrives working collaboratively with other artists, including those from other media such as dance, theater, and film. In 2013 he composed and produced the music for the original dance performance, Gone, choreographed by and featuring tap dancer, Melinda Sullivan. The work saw its premiere in New York City at the Alvin Ailey Citi Group Theater. From 2015-2017 Nikos continued his collaboration with Ms. Sullivan, creating Portrait of Rhythm, a project featuring his music for Rozalía and tap dance, fusing chamber jazz with traditional South American and Spanish rhythms. Further, he is currently working on a duo album for cello and piano featuring cellist, Hillary Smith, to be released in 2020.
Nikos teaches the Taubman Approach to piano, a comprehensive study of alignment and movement at the instrument that provides for the overcoming of injury and technical limitations. He came to the approach following his own playing-related injuries in 2009 and began studying with his mentor, Robert Durso, a master Taubman teacher and co-founder/senior director of the Golandsky Institute (the leading authority on the Taubman Approach). Currently Nikos is enrolled in the Golandsky Institute's Professional Training Program to become a certified instructor. Nikos is also an alumnus of the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music where he received his bachelor’s degree in jazz piano performance and studied privately with Alan Pasqua, Russell Ferrante, John Clayton, and John Daversa.
Get to Know Nikos
What is your favorite part of teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is when a student feels empowered and has those wonderful aha! moments
If you could listen to only three pieces of music/songs on a deserted island, what would they be?
If you could listen to only three pieces of music on a deserted island what would they be? Keith Jarrett’s "The Köln Concert", Rachmaninoff’s "2nd Piano Concerto", and Oscar Peterson Trio + Stan Getz plays "Get Happy”
If you could speak another language, what would it be and why?
Well, I do speak Greek, and I wish I could speak it even better to communicate with my Dad’s side of the family in Greece!