DEPARTMENT: Music Dept
POSITION: Private Lessons - Clarinet
LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | n/a
“A sound like liquid gold…” (Eleanor Hood – Cameo Concerts) aptly describes the performances of clarinetist Leslie Nicholas. He has appeared around the globe in opera, orchestra, chamber music and solo roles at venues including Alice Tully Hall of New York’s Lincoln Center and Wash-ington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Nicholas has been principal clarinetist with the West Virginia Symphony, New York’s Classic Chamber Orchestra, ProMusica Columbus, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and with the New York Harlem Opera throughout Europe. He has played under world famous conductors Daniel Barenboim, Claudio Abbado and Sir Georg Solti, and has performed with Washington’s National Chamber Players, with the Aspen, Round Top, Grand Teton and Coronado Music Festivals, and with the AIMS Fes-tival in Austria and Italy. Also featured at the Garth Newel Music Center, he was principal with the Wintergreen Festival, as well as Director of its Festival Performance Academy. With both the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival and the American Prize winning Lancaster Festival, Nicholas has appeared in principal and solo roles for over two decades. He has been a featured artist with the International Clarinet Association, the University of Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, and with the U.S. Naval Academy Band Quartet. Additionally, Les Nicholas may be heard in solo roles supporting international recording artist, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, on his CD, “Ragomania!”
Mr. Nicholas is strongly committed to presenting the very finest chamber music, performing with distinguished collaborating artists Jon Kimura Parker, Yolanda Kondonassis, Anton Kuerti, Wil-liam Preucil, Susan Starr, David Shifrin, Christopher O’Riley, Cary Lewis, the Veronika Quartet of Moscow, Jeremy Wall, and others. Also a champion of contemporary music, Nicholas reminds us “All music was once new!” and his recent premieres include commissions by Gwyneth Walker and Nickitas Demos. With his trio d’anches, WindRose, Nicholas pursues the virtuosic wind rep-ertoire of the twentieth-century. Their appearances include the International Conference of The College Music Society in Vienna, and Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Les Nicholas has rec-orded and toured internationally with Musica Harmonia, and performs regularly with the Allegheny Trio. He has also toured as a member of the Pastiche, the Montpellier and the Blair Woodwind Quintets. In early 2013 he returned from a semester abroad, performing with colleagues at the University of Otago, New Zealand’s oldest university. That year also brought an invitation to join the Boston Chamber Players as a last-minute replacement for concerts in Jakarta, Indonesia.
His early faculty appointment to Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music has led to many years of help-ing talented young musicians. A nurturing teacher, Mr. Nicholas has taught at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Capital University, Kenyon College, Radford University, James Madi-son University, for the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, and as Woodwind Area Coordinator and Lecturer in Clarinet at Georgia State University. In 2003 Nicholas joined the summer faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, and in 2005 he was named Artist-in-Residence with The Bijou Orchestra, designing and presenting imaginative music enrichment curriculum for Michigan public schools. In 2014 he was invited to join a select Community Advi-sory Team for the Kennedy Center’s national education initiative, “Ensuring the Arts for Any Giv-en Child.”
Mr. Nicholas’ principal teachers have been members of the San Antonio, Dallas, Cincinnati, Chi-cago and Cleveland Orchestras; among them Stephen Girko, Ronald deKant, Carmine Campi-one, Clark Brody, Larry Combs – and most notably the legendary Robert Marcellus, his mentor for many years. He holds performance degrees cum laude from the University of Texas and Northwestern University, with early graduate study at Southern Methodist University and post-graduate (DMA) study at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.
Les Nicholas is presently Lecturer in Music at Washington & Lee University, Teaching Artist at the Durham Arts Council School, and on faculty at Eastern Mennonite University. His current projects include new recordings, acoustical improvements to the clarinet, and a unique new curriculum for the youngest clarinet stars of tomorrow – “Clarinet Super Kids”. When not performing or teaching, Les can usually be found cycling about the North Carolina countryside. ~ www.lesnicholas.com