R E V I E W S
As The Catharsis Composer, Natalie Nicolas creates music as a vehicle for emotional release. Natalie is passionate and motivated about breaking down the barriers between the everyday and classical worlds and to propel society from superficial to profound connections, to 'place', ourselves, and each other. Her fascination with why we feel so strongly when we listen to music, drives her to promote a wholehearted awareness through music of the privilege of living.
Sydney composer, researcher and educator Dr Natalie Nicolas completed her PhD and Master of Music (Composition) degrees under scholarship at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Nicolas’ music is emotionally driven, and she often strives to evoke calm and/or catharsis through her writing, in line with her doctoral studies.
Nicolas is a tutor and lecturer at Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Composer in Residence at Loreto Normanhurst, a professional singer, and owns/runs a piano tuition school. She has written for artists such as the Australian String Quartet, Claire Edwardes, the Goldner String Quartet, the Muses Trio, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, The Song Company, Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and others.
In 2013, Nicolas wrote for the ASQ under the guidance of Andrew Ford, as a winner of the National Composers Forum. She was also selected for the inaugural National Women Composer's Development Program in 2016-2018.
Nicolas won the prestigious Flinders Quartet Composition Competition in 2017 and 2019, and went on to receive the Flinders String Quartet ‘All That We Are’ residency. In 2017-18, Nicolas was commissioned by the Hush Foundation, and wrote for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, premiering her piece in City Recital Hall, Sydney, and further at the Melbourne Recital Centre. “We Won’t Let You Down” was ARIA nominated in 2019 for Best Independent Classical Album.
In 2018, Nicolas wrote for Gondwana voices and the Song Company. That same year, the Muses Trio premiered her piece ‘Afflatus’ in an Australian tour for International Women’s Day. ABC Classic also interviewed Natalie and featured her in November 2018’s ‘AusMusic Month’ and in their November imaging.
In 2020, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra commissioned Nicolas, and she won the prestigious Harold and Gwenneth Harris Endowment for Medical Humanities Harris Award 2019/20 for her doctoral work with music and healthcare. In February 2020 and again in 2023, she found herself featured on ABC Classic FM's 'Best of Australian Classical Music, and on the International Women’s Day ‘Women of Note’ vol. 2 album, also released by ABC Classic FM.
In February 2021, the Southern Cross Soloists and Slava Grigoryan commissioned and premiered a new work of Nicolas’ at QPAC, to their largest audience in 26 years. Other projects for 2020/21 included a collaboration with the Australian Ballet with Orchestra Victoria, and an album “The Shift” with award-winning guitarist Matt Withers thanks to a generous commission by the ABC. Nicolas was also a selected composer at the prestigious Connecticut Summerfest, and attended their festival in June 2021.
Nicolas was a winner of the MSO Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers’ Program 2021, and “Union” was premiered in early 2022 at Hamer Hall. In Nov’ ’22 she was again a featured artist on ABC Classic’s Aus Music Month where she appeared on several interviews with Russell Torrance. She will also be releasing a new album with the Hush Foundation in 2022/23 for guitar and piano, focused on her doctoral research around calm and catharsis. Also in 2022, Nicolas was commissioned by the Charles Perkins Centre and produced an audience-immersive and highly acclaimed string orchestra performance with Ensemble Apex, for the research facility’s 10th birthday. “Something from Nothing”’s performance was the inaugural project of the new node she is co-leading at the CPC titled “Health and Creativity”. In 2023, Nicolas was commissioned by the Omega Ensemble for their CoLAB program. She will have her new work premiered by the ensemble on November 9th at the Sydney Opera House.
(current as of July 2023)