top of page
CPF Holiday gala 2019 Facebook_.jpg
snow 3.png



DECEMBER 12, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

Piazza at Portofino

67 Paraggi Court, Clayton, NC 27527

Nikoleta Rallis, Soprano; Aza Sydykov, Pianist; Michael Rallis, TenorJonathan Levin, Pianist

Tickets: Tickets: $15 Adults; $5 Children 18 and under.  








Husband and wife, Nikoleta Rallis, soprano, and Aza Sydykov, pianist, make up a dynamic duo performance team whose combined experience crosses many different genres, musical traditions, and countries. A graduate of Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Aza now  serves as President of the Kyrgyz American Foundation in New York City, which facilitates various cultural exchange and educational activities between international artists. Nikoleta is the founding director of Wilmington Music Festival, which presents concerts and provides educational opportunities from extraordinarily gifted emerging musicians and seasoned artists from around the world to the town of Wilmington, NC.  In Clayton Piano Festival’s 2019 Holiday Gala, they will be joined by CPF’s own Artistic Director, Jonathan Levin and Nikoleta’s father, Michael Rallis, tenor for an eclectic mix of classical, broadway, opera and holiday favorites.  Join us for this fun concert for whole family in the elegant Piazza at Portofino!


Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 7.12.38 PM.png
Praised by critics for his “precision and technical brilliance” and “the power and clarity of execution in his performances”, concert pianist Aza Sydykov is also noted worldwide as a conductor, accompanist and vocal coach. 
A graduate of Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory and New York’s Mannes School of Music, Sydykov also serves as President of the Kyrgyz American Foundation in New York City, which sponsors the Eurasia Festival as well as various cultural exchange and educational activities. In North Carolina he is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Wilmington Music Festival. 
Born into a musical family in the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Sydykov grew up in Moscow where he was taught and mentored by Russian piano legend, Nikolai Arnoldovich Petrov. 
He made his professional debut as a piano soloist at age 17 at Moscow’s International House of Music with the National Philharmonic of Russia. He has since performed all over the world - in Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, Finland, Ukraine and China.  In the United States he has appeared as solo pianist at Carnegie Hall and in various other prestigious concert venues across the country.  
Sydykov has been the recipient of numerous awards, including First Prize and the Grand Prize of Italy’s Euterpe International Piano and Chamber Music Competition. He is a Fellow of the Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation, the New Names Foundation, and the Nikolai Petrov International Philanthropic Foundation.
In 2011, Sydykov immigrated to the U.S. and continued musical studies at the Mannes School of Music at The New School with Professor Pavlina Dokovska, where he was awarded the New School University’s Presidential Scholarship and a Schoenberg Piano Stipend to pursue a Master of Music degree and a Professional Studies Diploma.
Mr. Sydykov presently lives in New York City where he maintains a private piano studio and a Russian opera training program. He is married to American soprano Nikoleta Rallis Sydykov.
Nikoleta Rallis.jpeg

Hailed for her “voice of steel and dazzling presence” (Koini Gnomi) and her “warm and beautiful voice” (Bachtrack), soprano Nikoleta Rallis opens the 2018-19 season with a solo recital “A Love Story in Music” with long-time collaborator and pianist, Aza Sydykov at Beckwith Recital Hall at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  The recital is part of the week-long Wilmington Music Festival, where Nikoleta also performs in the closing night Bernstein Centennial Gala at the south’s famed Thalian Hall Center of the Performing Arts.  During the 2018-19 season Nikoleta joins the Eurasia Festival for the Eurasian Opera Gala performing operatic selections and arts songs from Russia, Greece and Kyrgyzstan at Marc A. Scorca Hall.  She joins the Greek American Opera Company in a celebration of the Independence of Greece performing selections from Pavlos Karrer’s 19th century opera, Markos Botsaris.  She will spend the summer at the Eurasia Festival, where she will perform on their Opening Night Gala at Merkin Concert Hall and cover Tatiana in Eugene Onegin.


Last season Nikoleta joined The John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in concert where she performed American and Kyrgyz popular music; the concert was broadcasted worldwide Live from Millenium Stage! She also returned to Carnegie Hall where she joined legendary Greek singer, Maria Farantouri in a concert tribute to the music of Mikis Theodorakis at Stern Auditorium.   Nikoleta joined The Orchestra Now (TON) at Bard College performing the role of Sophia in Pavlos Karrer’s Markos Botsaris marking the U.S. Premiere of the work.  She also joined the Wilmington Music Festival for their Kickoff Gala at Thalian Hall.


In the 2016-17 season Nikoleta returned to Carnegie Hall as the soprano soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Handel’s Coronation Anthems with The New England Symphonic Ensemble at Stern Auditorium. She joined the Kyrgyz American Foundationin in concert at Nichols Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, Merkin Concert Hall at The Kaufmann Music Center and at the Glass Box Theatre at the Mannes School of Music.  Nikoleta joined her father, praised tenor Michael Rallis in a joint gala concert at Thalian Hall.  She also gave a Vocal Masterclass at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

IMG_8800 2.JPG
Michael Rallis began his vocal studies with Dr. Calvin Dash while in medical school at George Washington University.  Study with John Gilmore of the Metropolitan Opera led to his transition from baritone to tenor.  He has studied with Ken Smith for the past 15 years. 
He has performed operatic arias with the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra on many occasions over the past two decades.  He appeared as tenor soloist in Beethoven's Ninth with the Raleigh Symphony and the Verdi Requiem with the NC Symphony in Southern Pines.  In 2014 he appeared as Danillo in Opera Wilmington's debut production of Lèhar’s The Merry Widow.  He has also performed in the Opera Gala at the Weymouth Music Festival in Southern Pines with the Winston-Salem Symphony. 
He has shared the concert stage with soprano Christine Weidinger of the Metropolitan Opera on many occasions, both in the United States and Italy.  His operatic stage debut was in the role of Canio in Pagliacci with the Triangle Opera Studio. 
He is the chanter at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Wilmington, nc and is one of the few in this country to be accomplished in the theory and performance of Byzantine Ecclesiastical Chant.  Rallis most recently played the role of the Duke of Mantua in Opera Wilmington's production of Verdi’s Rigolettto.  
bottom of page