“Nico is extraordinarily conscientious, meticulous in his preparation. He works very thoroughly with singers, and has a fine knowledge of languages and pronunciation. I have witnessed him coach singers, and am impressed with his understanding of the singing process, as well as his ability to communicate important concepts to the singer.”
Barbara Bonney, Lyric Soprano
“He is a brilliant coach with a particular gift for coaching languages. He understands how to break down text to make it accessible and easily understood. One of his greatest skills is the understanding of the voice and is sensitive to the students as they learn how to ‘play’ their elusive instrument.”
Rosa Mannion, Royal College of Music, London
"I have worked with Nico de Villiers for over two years as accompanist for the classes I give for singers exploring operatic characters. Nico has an innate sense for the drama in the music, so we work more as a team rather than me as director and him as accompanist. This led Nico to work with me as my Assistant Director on a production of DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE that I directed last year at the Royal Academy of Music. Once again,the job of Assistant Director came completely naturally to him. He is another pair of ears - and eyes - for me."
Andrew Sinclair, Opera Director
“Through his comprehensive knowledge in the vocal area, his enthusiasm and teaching skills, he immediately won the students’ confidence. He identified the problems of each student and was able to find solutions to them. I would highly recommend Nico de Villiers to work as a vocal coach at the highest level.”
Eva Larsson-Myrsten, Royal College of Music, Stockholm
"Nico de Villiers is an excellent coach. I have only been working with him for a short while, but his understanding of lyric diction and vocal function is exceptional. He is easily able to identify technical issues and his corrections are straightforward and highly effective. His enthusiasm and encouragement also make him a delight to work with. I can’t recommend him enough."
Bronwyn Douglass, Soprano, Opera Australia
"Nico is an exceptional coach with extraordinarily deep insight and a huge wealth of knowledge! My weekly sessions with him bring me the most satisfying musical exploration, and the fine-detailed work we do helps to create a feeling of direct connection with both the composer and poet. His down to earth manner allows for experimentation and maximises potential for artistic development. Each lesson I feel inspired, and I frequently come away with some exciting new vision or angle to explore."
Jessica Wise, Soprano
“Nico de Villiers has been a valued member of the Lieder Coaching staff at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz. His consummate playing, his excellent musicianship and his instruction of young singers and pianists is a joy to behold. As Artistic Director of AIMS, I am most pleased to recommend him highly.”
Dr. Thomas King, AIMS Artistic Director Emeritus
“After working with Nico for six weeks, I felt genuinely changed for the better. His enthusiasm and knowledge of music allows him to easily communicate concepts to student singers. Nico facilitated improvement in my musicality when approaching pieces, as well as helping to further my acting and diction skills. Having him as a coach was a vital part of my development as a singer, and I hope to continue to use his insightful instruction to further my growth as a performer. Nico de Villiers is truly an outstanding coach and musician.”
Alison Crane, AIMS Participant, 2011