Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher, Charles Nichols is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the School of Performing Arts 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, organized the Mountain Computer Music Festival and Composers’ Showcase, and managed the Mountain Computer Music Collective and Recording Service.
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), Poznanska Wiosna Muzyczna, Australasian Computer Music Conference, Festa Europea Della Musica, Seoul International Computer Music Festival, Música Viva Festival, Re:New Digital Arts Festival, Musicacoustica Mix, Pan Music Festival, Festival Internacional de Musica Electroacustica, Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference, Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, Big Sky Alive Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, 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, Greece, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and South Korea. His research, including data sonification, telematic musical performance over Internet2, and haptic musical human-computer interface design, has been presented at conferences, such as ICMC, the Korean ElectroAcoustic Music Society Conference, 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, South Korea, and Sweden.
He has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and National Science Foundation, for commissions from the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, the Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts, and the Headwaters Dance Company, and recognition from the National Academy of Music, La Fundación Destellos, Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, Renée B. Fisher Composer Awards, New Music USA, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the Montana Arts Council. He has been 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. His recent premieres include Nicolo, Jimi, and John, a concerto, for amplified viola, interactive computer processing, and orchestra, three movements, based on the virtuosity of Paganini, Hendrix, and Coltrane, performed by Brett Deubner, and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Darko Butorac, and Sound of Rivers: Stone Drum, a multimedia collaboration, with sonified data, electric violin, and computer-processed sound, accompanying narrated poetry, dance, animation, and computer-processed video, based on scientific research into how stoneflies navigate throughout their lifecycles, by the sound of rivers.