Music

Music and Sound

I am a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire in B.Mus (hons) Music, specialising particularly in composition. I have experience in writing for many and varied combinations of ensembles including, but not exclusively by any means, orchestral, brass band, windband, choral and voice, piano, trumpet, and so on.

I compose electronic based and electro-acoustic music and also have studio experience both as performer and engineer (recording, production, editing) and infact have designed and delivered training courses for sound engineers, both live and recording. On top of this, I also play piano/keyboard, bass trombone, bass, some guitar, and even sing.

Again any list on this page is by no means exhaustive as I have forgotten so much more than I seem to remember!

Compositions by Peter J. Nicholls

Newstead Abbey

March for Brass Band.

A commission from the City of Nottingham Transport Band for their CD recording ‘Music from the City of Legends’. Available on all online music streaming and purchasing services, including Amazon Digital Music, iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, and more.

Midsummer’s Dawn (1999)

For chamber orchestra. Inspired by the thought of an upcoming composer’s concert at the Conservatoire on Midsummer’s Day in 1999, I set out at to write, rehearse and perform this orchestral work at that very concert – all in the space of two weeks. It took 80 hours over 7 days to write and rehearsals were carried out just 6 hours after the last note was written. This is the result:

Tudor Grange

Programmatic music for windband. 

This was a commission written for Lyndhurst Windband, Solihull. The composer and arranger Guy Wolfenden was so impressed with the work that he featured it in an RNLI LIfeboat concert at the Conservatoire. Not many people write for windbands it would seem! And I am also proud to say that the work is boxed and available for performance in the Birmingham Conservatoire library. Just let MCPS and PRS know if you plan to perform any of my work.

Other Instrumental Works

Unfortunately those are the only live work for which I have any video or recordings of at present, but as I discover more, I will make them available both here and via SoundCloud links. Any list is just what I can remember!

Lost recordings

These pieces are somewhere on a DAT tape in the archives of the Birmingham Conservatoire library, if they haven’t been erased or reused. If only we had digital recording/servers back in the 90s….

  • Finale – for solo trumpet (Composers’ concert?)
  • Grinlow’s Tower – sonata for oboe and piano in three parts (Composers’ concert?)
  • Tudor Grange  – windband (RNLI charity concert, performed by Conservatoire Wind Orchestra conducted by Guy Woolfenden, Adrian Boult Hall, circa. Nov 1999)

Electro-Acoustic Works

  • Dragon Dance – composition for opening of 2nd act of ‘Aladdin’ panto (Robert Warner Productions) at Stafford Gatehouse Theater (1999-2000 season).
  • Flash Dance (What a feelings) – arrangement for opening of ‘Aladdin’ panto (as above).
  • Concord (a 20th anniversary celebration) – composition that includes synthesisers, guitars, bass, drums, brass and piano. [Yes, the aeroplane!]
  • Oh come oh come Emmanuel – reworking of traditional carol.
  • Memorial (Grandma’s Theme) – original work written as a memorial to my late Grandma.
  • Noël – reworking of the traditional carol.

And so many more I am yet to digitise, as they are all on TDK-MA90 cassette tapes!

Arrangements

I am often asked ot make arrangements of various pieces for all maner and variety of instruments.

  • The Acrobat – feature for trombone in a brass quintet.
  • Thine be the Glory – original arrangement for full orchestra.

And so, so many more including various hymns and carols for orchestra and choir, with ‘band’ as well, to original arrangements.

Experience

  • Musical Director and Worship Leader at Birmingham Christian Centre under Pastor Mark Pugh for five years. With over 70 members, I lead a very strong musician and vocal team at a City Centre Pentecostal Church of over 1000. I recorded a sample CD of a song written by Mark Pugh, as well as writng a couple of worship songs myself. (Consider Him).
  • Musical Director for a Robert Warner Productions ‘Aladdin’ panto at Stafford Gatehouse Theater for five weeks over the 1999-2000 Christmas period. This included all arrangements and cast rehearsals.
  • Recorded two albums with ‘Thingies Band’ (worship team for West Midlands Alliance of Baptist Youth). I arranged, sequenced, played piano, trombone and sang some backing vocals.
  • I have and continue to edit and arrange music for various muti media based projects, including student and community radio at Staffordshire University. (Please see Radio pages for more details.)
  • I have developed and delivered various training courses for sound engineers, having being a live sound engineer for over 15 years.
  • Coaching of bands, orchestral ensembles and other groups of musicians.
  • I have PGCE in teaching music (primary, secondary and further education level) and with further experience am a fully qualified teacher of KS 2 through 5.
  • As a primary school teacher at Pheasey Park Farm Primary school, I put on a performance of Andrew Lloyd-Webbers ‘Joseph’ with year 4.

Odd and Interesting Facts

My first composition was at the age of 11 for full orchestra. I rehearsed and conducted it with the Great Barr School orchestra, and had to stand on a chair for the performance so I could be seen by them all!

I once sang in a choir for five nights at the NEC Arena.

I learnt trombone while at the Birmingham Conservatoire under the teaching of Reg Reid (who played trombone in the original Archers recording among many of his claims to fame), and took my grade 6 within in 5 months, passing with distinction.

I had lunch with an elder gentleman once at the Conservatoire and we chatted about all things under the sun. Only afterwards when my friends commented on my ‘hob-nobbing’ did I realise that I’d just spent 45 minutes with the film composer Richard Rodney-Bennett. I did something similar with the pianist Peter Donahue not long after too…

My SoundCloud Profile for more audio

Leave a Reply