Biography

Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher Charles Nichols explores the expressive potential of instrumental ensembles, computer music systems, and combinations of the two, for the concert stage, and collaborations with dance, video, and installation art. His research includes motion capture for musical performance, spatial audio, data sonification, telematic performance, and haptic musical instrument design. He teaches Composition and Creative Technologies at Virginia Tech, is a Faculty Fellow of the Institute for Creativity Arts and Technology, and previously taught at the University of Montana. 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. He was a Research Associate at the Center for Studies in Music Technology at Yale, and a Technical Director at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) at Stanford. He has worked as a visiting composer with the Namaste Ensemble in Città di Castello and Rome, Italy, conducted research as a visiting scholar at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast, taught computer music workshops at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Banff Centre, CCRMA, and the Charlotte New Music Festival, and composed as a resident at the Ucross and Brush Creek artist retreats. His recent premieres include Or Be Forever Fallen, three movements for heavily processed amplified string quartet, accompanying animated sci-fi video, What Bends, for electric violin and interactive computer music in 3D immersive audio, accompanying narrated poetry, motion capture dance, animation, and processed video in 360° projection, Beyond the Dark, ambient synthesized sound and sonified space weather data, accompanying installation art and 3D lighting, and Nicolo, Jimi, and John, a three movement concerto, for amplified viola, orchestra, and computer, celebrating the virtuosity of Paganini, Hendrix, and Coltrane. In the band Modality, he performs electric violin, bass guitar, and computer.