Nikolaos laaris studied piano at the Royal College of Music (MMus), and has been awarded a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the Manhattan School of Music (DMA), where he served as a professor; he also taught at the Columbia University and the University of Macedonia. He is the recipient of the Ballantine’s Gold Seal sponsorship, as well as of the RCM and MSM, the Alexander Onassis, J.F. Costopoulos and Lilian Voudouri Foundations scholarships.
He has appeared in Europe (South Bank Centre - London, Gärtnerplatz Τheater - Munich) and the USA (Carnegie Hall – Νew York), and has been featured as a soloist with Armonia Atenea Orchestra and the State Orchestras of Athens and Thessaloniki. In his London debut he was singled out by Stephen Pettit of the Times as “a fine artist, incapable of making an ugly sound”; for his collaboration with the Munich Ballet Theater in Goldberg Variationen, Dance Europe magazine hailed him as “the star of the evening”.
He presents programs of all eras: Baroque: Bach - Goldberg Variations, Classical: Haydn - The Seven Last Words, with the late Pulitzer-Prize winner photographer Yiannis Behrakis (Athens Concert Hall), Romantic - Wagner & Liszt tributes, and Modern: John Cage: the keyboards (Onassis Cultural Center), Leonard Bernstein: an anniversary (ACH), Sir John Tavener: Prayer of the Heart (National Opera).
He also studied conducting at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (BMus), and collaborates with Armonia Atenea. He has conducted Philip Glass’ opera In the Penal Colony (OCC), musicals such as Bernstein’s West Side Story, Porter’s Kiss me Kate and Sakellaridis’ operetta The Godson (ACH), and new works: Kipourgos’ Peace (National Theater), and Papadimitriou’s St Francis; recently he conducted Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.
His future plans include the world-premiere of Through the looking Glass, a new audio-visual work based on Philip Glass' Piano Etudes - I, with animation of G. Cherouvim (Summer Nostos Festival), and the Greek premiere of Moises Kaufman’s theatrical play 33 Variations, in his own translation (ACH).