Thomas Nicholson

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Thomas Nicholson finds continual inspiration in practices from a wide range of fields, periods, and contexts, including mathematics, graphic design, Renaissance artwork, computational logic, and conversation. He studied composition with Christopher Butterfield and piano with Arthur Rowe at the University of Victoria (BMus 2017). He relocated to Berlin, Germany in 2017 to study at the Universität der Künste (MMus 2021) with Marc Sabat, whom he assisted in teaching intonation theory. He is a member of the Harmonic Space Orchestra, a Berlin-based ensemble of 13 performer-composers specialising in just intonation music. Under the influence of microtonal extended just intonation, his compositions since 2014 have engaged with the often mysterious interaction between perceptual independence and dependence: contrapuntal lines and harmonic fields (the spectrum between melodies and harmonies). In particular, he has been exploring the musical consequences of isolating various miniscule, yet remarkably expressive enharmonic connections inherent to extended just intonation. He enjoys composing the most for smaller settings consisting of two to four musicians and occasionally collaborate on film and installation projects. He is actively researching as well as developing tools and methods for navigating the practical challenges of realizing microtonal music on acoustic instruments — especially strings.