IN the entire 130-year history of the Royal College of Music (RCM), there has only been one single-handed pianist to graduate. That person is the exceptionally talented Nicholas McCarthy, whose name now resonates throughout the frequently haughty world of classical music, as not just a one-handed wonder, but a musical talent of considerable standing.

Since his graduation from RCM in 2012, Nicholas has wowed audiences around the world with his mesmerising performances in top class venues ranging from The Royal Albert Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields to The Kennedy Centre, Washington DC and South Korea.

So it is with not a little excitement that Concerts in the West’s founder and director, Catherine Hodgson is welcoming Nicholas McCarthy to the west country as the opening act for the 2016 Concerts in the West season.

“It is incredibly difficult to play the piano left handed,” explains Catherine Hodgson, “Nicholas is an inspiration, because he has taken it to a new level. I have immense respect for him not only because of his dedication, but also for his refusal to take the easier option of the classical pop star route, in order to capitalise on his lack of a right hand. His refusal to compromise and his determination to realise his ambition has paid off and he deserves to be widely recognised.

“To play a 50-minute recital with one arm requires tremendous stamina and you have to remember that the music he plays is written for the left hand alone with nothing changed, which shows how good he is.”

Nicholas performed with the British Paraorchestra at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic games and has recently been appointed ambassador of The One Handed Musicians Trust (OHMI).

In September 2015, Nicholas released his first album, Solo, which received outstanding reviews and reached a top ten chart position.

Friday, February 19 at 8pm. Ilminster Arts Centre at The Meeting House, East Street.