Works performed by Earplay:

Flutter, Pulse, and Flight

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 for collaborations with dance, video, and installation art. His research includes spatial audio, data sonification, motion capture for musical performance, telematic performance, and haptic musical instrument design.

Nichols 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 for the International Summer Arts Institute in Città di Castello and Rome, 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, the Banff Centre, CCRMA, and the Charlotte New Music Festival, and composed as a resident at the Ucross and Brush Creek artist retreats.

Recent premieres include Or Be Forever Fallen, three movements for heavily processed amplified string quartet accompanying animated sci-fi video, with the Beo String Quartet and video artist Zach Duer; Beyond the Dark, ambient synthesized sound and sonified space weather data accompanying installation art and 3D lighting, with architect Paola Zellner Bassett; Wunderkammer, four movements for woodwind trio and computer music, with the PEN Trio; Shakespeare's Garden, for processed environmental sounds played in 134.2-channel immersive spatial audio, recited poetry played through directional spotlight speakers, graphic design projected on multiple scrims, and dramatic lighting, with directors Amanda Nelson and Natasha Staley, graphic designer Meaghan Dee, lighting designer John Ambrosone, and media engineer Tanner Upthegrove; and Nicolo, Jimi, and John, a three movement concerto, for amplified viola, orchestra, and computer, celebrating the virtuosity of Paganini, Hendrix, and Coltrane, with violist Brett Deubner, director Darko Butorac, and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra.

See Nichols' website and YouTube for further information.

[from program for February 11, 2019 concert]