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Thomas Nicholson (*1995 in Fredericton, Canada) is a composer, keyboardist and violinist. After studying composition with Christopher Butterfield at the University of Victoria (Canada), he moved to Berlin in 2017 to work closely with Marc Sabat at the University of the Arts. He is driven by (artistic) practices from many times and fields ranging from cosmology to painting to interdisciplinary experiments. Since 2014, his compositions have focused on the fragile interaction between counterpoint and the distinctive harmonic ‘fusing’ evoked through microtonal just intonation (‘pure tuning’). Composing primarily for chamber settings, he is actively researching and developing the practical means of realising microtonal music on acoustic instruments. His recent awards and honours include prizes from the SOCAN Foundation for compositions MOTTE and ABOUT (2017) as well as SOCAN’s John Weinzweig Grand Prize (2017), the DAAD Prize from the Berlin University of the Arts (2018), and a feature in CBC Music’s ‘30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30’ (2018).

Photo: Christina Marx (2019)

BERCER (2019)  
for cello : 11’

JUST [chords, melodies] (2019)    
for piano in Sabat II just well-temperament : 13’

HARMONIC TRACES (2018)  
for piano in equal temperament : 13’

(BE)NEATH (2016)  
for piano in 13-limit just intonation : 10’

L’art de toucher... (2015)  
for piano in equal temperament : 6’

in memoriam (2014)
for piano in any tuning : [n/a]’

Water (2013)
for mezzo-soprano and objects : 4’

Clandestine (2012)
for piano in equal temperament : 7’

STILL (2018)    
for violin and viola : 6’

AT LEAST (2016)  
for violin and piano in equal temperament : 10’

ATLAS, 2012 (2015)
for electric guitar and alto saxophone : 14’    
for acoustic guitar and viola (2019) : 14’  

Intérieurs (2013)  
for violin and piano in equal temperament : 5’

ANSTATT (2019)  
for clarinet, accordion, violin and cello : 10’

DRIFT (2018)    
for four instruments : 3’

ROUND (2018)  
for any odd number of musicians : 30’

BRANCH [Plainsound Trio] (2018)    
for any three sustaining instruments (or voices) : 8’

MOTTE (2017)    
for flute, alto saxophone, bassoon, horn, bells, violin, viola and piano in 13-limit just intonation : 40’

ALONG, AROUND (2014/2016)  
for thirteen stringed instruments and percussion toys : 10’

number seven (2015)
for any four stringed instruments : 24’

for Margaret Lingas (2015)    
for ten voices and harmonium : 6’

number three (2014)    
for mandolin, viola and piano in equal temperament : 9’

D’esquisses [fragment] (2014)  
for string quartet : 2’

Apparitions (2014)
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano in equal temperament : 10’

Litanies (2014)
for string quartet : 8’

Per (2018-)
3.3.3.3/4.3.3.1/1.harp/strings : 15’

THAT, WHICH (2016)  
2.2.2.2/4.2.2.1/bells/strings : 5’

ABOUT (2016)    
3.2.3.3/4.3.3.1/3.harp.organ/strings : 17’

number five (2015)
3.2.2.2/4.2.3.1/timpani.2/strings : 11’

Tombeau de souvenirs (2014)
2.2.2.2/2.2.0.0/timpani/strings : 6’

Trois pièces d’après Kandinsky (2012)
2.2.2.2/4.3.3.1/timpani.piano/strings : 10’

CONE (2019)
samples and sine tones [mono] : 12’

GRAM (2018)  
for alto recorder, viola and keyboard with video installation : 15’

Schwer Abschied nehmen wenn ich Taschentuch sehe (2018) with Luise Rüster et al.   (excerpts)
for three female dancers, violin and keyboard with video installation + Bühnenbild : 45’

WALD | AUSSEN/INNEN (2018) with Hamdy/Januchoswski/Rüster  
for video, sound and object installation in Sauen, Brandenburg : 9’

servicemaster (2016/2017) with Kimberley Farris-Manning    
video installation : 55’

Helmholtz-Ellis 31-Limit Harmonic Space Calculator   link↪
for just intonation composition and research
with Johnston Notation to HE Converter and 23-Limit Enharmonic Search function
(version 2.1 - 28.11.2018)

Farey Sequences Map Playable Nodes on a String (2019)
mathematical model of harmonic nodes; musical applications
with Marc Sabat

Nodal positions along a string for harmonics 1° through 19° (2019)  
121 positions to play any harmonic < 19°
notated along the double bass’ D string (with distances in mm)

Irreducible divisions of a string (2019)  
nodal positions for partials 1° through 36° as mediants between nodes of lower harmonics (Farey tree)
with corresponding stopped pitches defining a 31-limit harmonic space

Fundamental Principles of Just Intonation and Microtonal Composition (2018)  
with Marc Sabat

Contact me at nicholson (dot) thomas (at) outlook (dot) com
[English/French/German]
Biography & CV  
Catalogue of work  

Photo: Rafal Rawicki (2018)