Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher Charles Nichols is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the School of Performing Arts and a Faculty Affiliate of 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), Taukay Edizioni Musicali Contemporanea Festival, ClarinetFest, Poznan Music Spring International Festival, Australasian Computer Music Conference, Festa Europea Della Musica, Seoul International Computer Music Festival (SICMF), 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, Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference, College Music Society 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, Spain, and South Korea. His research, including motion capture for musical performance, data sonification, telematic musical performance, haptic musical instrument design, and wavelet audio analysis and resynthesis, 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, commissions from the Association for American Medical Colleges, Virginia Tech University, Drake University, University of Oregon, University of Montana, 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 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 taught computer music workshops for the University of Rome "Tor Vergata" in Italy, the Charlotte New Music Festival, Lewis and Clark College, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech, the Banff Centre, and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. He has conducted research as a visiting scholar at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, collaborated as a visiting composer with the Namaste Ensemble in Città di Castello and Rome, Italy, and composed as a resident artist at the Ucross and Brush Creek Artist Retreats in Wyoming. His recent premieres include Il Prete Rosso, for amplified violin, motion sensor, and computer, that controls audio effects with a wireless motion sensor on the bow hand of the violinist, Sound of Rivers: Stone Drum, a multimedia collaboration, with sonified data, electric violin, and computer music, accompanying narrated poetry, dance, animation, and processed video, based on scientific research into the sound of rivers, and Nicolo, Jimi, and John, a three movement concerto, for amplified viola, orchestra, and computer, inspired by the virtuosity of Paganini, Hendrix, and Coltrane.