Charles Nichols

Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher Charles Nichols is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the University of Montana. While studying at the Eastman School of Music, Yale University, and Stanford University, his principal composition teachers were Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, Brian Ferneyhough, and Jonathan Harvey. At Yale, he worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Studies in Music Technology and as a Research Assistant at Haskins Laboratories, and at Stanford, he served as the Interim and Associate Technical Director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

His compositions have been performed at such festivals as Musicacoustica Mix in Beijing, the Pan Music Festival in Seoul, the Festival Internacional de Musica Electroacustica in Havana, the Bang on a Can Institute, June in Buffalo, the Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference in Eugene, and the International Computer Music Conference in New Orleans. His piece, Posture, for quadraphonic computer-generated sound, was awarded a Mention in the 31e Concours International de Musique et d’Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges, and his Montana Suite: Boulder Batholith, a ten-movement piece for computer-processed sound, soprano, and clarinet, violin, and piano trio, commissioned by the Headwaters Dance Company, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, was selected by the 33e Bourges. His piece, Strata 2, for flute and interactive computer processing was published in the Society of Composers, Inc. Journal of Music Scores, while his Strata 3: Guqin, for electric violin and interactive computer processing was released on an Innova CD. His recent commission for the Association for American Medical Colleges, Medical Records, was premiered by the Sapphire Trio, at the AAMC Annual Meeting in Seattle.


His computer music research, including the development of the vBow, a haptic virtual violin bow computer music interface, has been presented at such conferences as the International Computer Music Conferences in Göteborg, Berlin, and Aarhus, the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression in Dublin, the Conference on Digital Audio Effects in Limerick, the International Symposium of Musical Acoustics in Perugia, Forum IRCAM in Paris, and the SEAMUS National Conference in Baton Rouge. His papers have been published in the academic journals Organised Sound, Journal of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, and Leonardo Music Journal, and articles about his research have appeared in the popular publications Electronic Musician, Scientific American, Strad, CPU, New Scientist, and La Macchina del Tempo.

He performs interactive computer music on electric and MIDI violins, as well as contemporary music for soprano and violin with his wife, Beryl Lee Heuermann, in their duo, Painted Carp. In addition to performing his own compositions, he has performed works written for his duo, at such festivals as the College Music Society Workshop on Women and Music Technology in Atlanta, the International New Music Festival in San Diego, and the Mixed Messages Festival in New York. He recently performed four of his compositions in an interactive videoconferenced multimedia collaboration with artists and technicians at five other universities, entitled Loose Minds in the Box, that included acting, motion-capture dancing, performance art, animation, virtual reality, and computer-music performance, streamed between six performance spaces over Internet2 using the Access Grid, for the International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) in Los Angeles, and the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking and Storage (SCGlobal) in Seattle.

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