Biography

Den Sweeney

Praised for his passionate and poetic performances, internationally-acclaimed violinist Nikki Chooi has established himself as an artist of rare versatility. Described as “expressive, enchanting, and transcendent,” Nikki is a recipient of prizes at the Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky Competitions, and was awarded 1st Prize Winner of the Montreal Symphony's ManuLife Competition, the Klein International Strings Competition, and the Michael Hill International Violin Competition.

In 2022, Nikki made significant debuts at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium as soloist with the Buffalo Phiharmonic and at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall with Orchestra NOW. He was also featured soloist with the Vancouver Symphony, Puerto Rico Symphony, National Taiwan Symphony Festival Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. In past seasons, he has appeared as soloist with orchestras across Canada and internationally including the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Wallonie, National Orchestra of Belgium, Auckland Philharmonia, Malaysian Philharmonic, and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Nikki has been featured at many international festivals with performances at the Marlboro Festival, Ravinia Festival, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, La Jolla Summerfest, Brevard Music Center, Vancouver Recital Series, Moritzburg Festival, Kammermusik Utrecht, Dresden Music Festival, Chamber Music New Zealand, and Fundación Beethoven in Chile. Previously a member of the multi-genre ensemble, Time for Three, the group collaborated with From the Top and Universal Music releasing an arrangement of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” to record-breaking views on YouTube.

Nikki is currently Concertmaster of the Grammy-award winning Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra under Music Director JoAnn Falletta. He has appeared as guest concertmaster with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Houston Symphony, Sydney Symphony. Previously Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Nikki worked closely with singers and conductors including Renee Fleming, Susanna Phillips, Elīna Garanča, Eric Owens, Fabio Luisi, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. His solos can be heard through The Met: Live in HD broadcasts in productions of Verdi’s La Traviata, Janacek’s Jenufa, and the Grammy-nominated recording of Strauss’ Rosenkavalier released on the Decca Label. 

A passionate educator, Nikki is currently on the violin faculty at SUNY Fredonia and University of Ottawa. He has presented masterclasses at the San Francisco Conservatory, Morningside Music Program at the New England Conservatory, Orchestra of the Americas Academy, Sphinx Academy at the Curtis Institute of Music, Hong Kong Cultural Center, and the University of Auckland.

Nikki began his studies at the Victoria Conservatory, Mount Royal Conservatory, Morningside Music Bridge, and at the National Arts Centre Young Artist Programme. He completed his formal studies at the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School under the mentorship of Joseph Silverstein, Ida Kavafian, and Donald Weilerstein

He has recorded for Naxos, Beau Fleuve, and Decca labels.