Department of Music

Charles Nichols: composition, music technology

Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher, Charles Nichols ( is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the Department of Music and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, at Virginia Tech University. He has earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Yale University, and Stanford University, where he studied composition with Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, and Jonathan Harvey, and computer music with Jonathan Berger, Chris Chafe, Max Mathews, and Jean-Claude Risset. At Yale, he worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Studies in Music Technology (CSMT) and as a Research Assistant at Haskins Laboratories. At Stanford, he served as the Interim and Associate Technical Director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). While on faculty at the School of Music of the University of Montana, he taught acoustic and electroacoustic composition, directed the Mountain Electroacoustic Laptop Ensemble (MELEe) and Pierrot Ensemble, and organized the Mountain Computer Music Festival and Composers' Showcase.

His compositions, including acoustic and electroacoustic music, for large and chamber ensembles, and fixed media, accompanying dance and animation, have been presented at conferences and festivals, such as the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Seoul International Computer Music Festival (SICMF), Música Viva Festival, Re:New Digital Arts Festival, Musicacoustica Mix, Pan Music Festival, Festival Internacional de Música Electroacústica, Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference, Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival, Bang on a Can Institute, and June in Buffalo, in the US, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and South Korea. His research, including telematic musical performance over Internet2, haptic musical human-computer interface design, and wavelet audio analysis and resynthesis, has been presented at conferences, such as ICMC, the International Conference for High Performance Computing (SC Global), Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH), International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Digital Audio Effects Conference (DAFx), International Symposium on Music Acoustics (ISMA), Forum IRCAM, and SEAMUS, in the US, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Sweden.

He has received support from the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts, for commissions from the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, the Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts, and the Headwaters Dance Company, commissions from the Association for American Medical Colleges, the Cybersounds Festival at Temple University, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, and the Montana State Music Teachers Association, and recognition from the National Academy of Music, La Fundación Destellos, Institut International de Musique Électroacoustique de Bourges, Renée B. Fisher Composer Awards, New Music USA, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the Montana Arts Council. Recently he was a visiting scholar, researching haptic musical interface design, at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast, N. Ireland, a visiting composer, working with the Namaste Ensemble in Città di Castello and Rome, Italy, and a resident, at the Ucross and Brush Creek artist retreats, near Sheridan and Saratoga, Wyoming.


November 9-10, 2013: composition Nicolo, Jimi, and John, a concerto for amplified viola, interactive computer-processing, and orchestra, to be premiered by violist Brett Deubner and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, director Darko Butorac, Dennison Theatre, Missoula, MT

October 28, 2013: installation This Edge I Have To Jump, a collaboration with media artist Joan Grossman and composer Eric Lyon, to be premiered at the Center for the Arts, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

October 26, 2013: composition Playground, for computer-processed sound and computer-generated video, a collaboration with media artists Amber Bushnell and Charles Raffety, to be presented at Electronic Music Midwest, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Kansas City, KS

September 20, 2013: composition Posture, for computer-processed sound accompanying dance, presented at EMUfest Praeludium, Conservatorio di Roma "Santa Cecilia", Rome, Italy

September, 2013: compositions Pendulum, for clarinet and interactive computer-processing, performed by Arianna Tieghi, and Så Vadå, for alto saxophone and bass clarinet, performed by Michele Bianchini and Guido Arbonelli, released on the CD, The Namaste Ensemble: No Borders Quartet, "In Memoriam Dinu Ghezzo", released by International Arts Educators Forum and International Composers Interactive Artists

Charles Nichols