Nicholas Vines

(1976 - )


Nicholas Vines (b.1976, Sydney) is a young Australian composer based in the US. His works have been performed in Australia, the US, the UK, Europe and Japan by such interpreters as Alarm Will Sound, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Ensemble Offspring, the Schola Cantorum Gedanesis Chamber Choir, the BT Scottish Ensemble, the Australian Voices, Eliot Gattegno and Liwei Qin. He has received commissions from established organisations around the world, such as Faber Music, the Callithumpian Consort, Firebird Ensemble, Guerilla Opera, Primary Duo, Duo Young Music, ChamberMade Opera, the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, 2MBS FM Radio (Sydney), Ars Musica Australis, the Tait Memorial Trust and the Australia Council.
Recognition for Vines’ work includes the 1996 Bernard Shore Composition Award (UK) for The Underside Revealed (viola and strings), the 1998 Australian Voices Young Composer Award for the choral work The Lion's Country, 2nd Prize in the ‘Musica Sacra 2005’ International Composers Competition (Poland) for Ave Generosa (for SSAATTBB choir), and an Honourable Mention in the 2006 Salvatore Martirano Memorial International Composition Competition (USA) for Dolmen of New Albion (for ten players). More recently, he was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Opera Vista Competition (Houston), which involved a performance of excerpts from The Sepulchre of Love. This summer, he was a Fellow in Composition at the Tanglewood Music Center.
One work of his, Firestick, is published by Faber Music (London), several other pieces have been selected for the Australian Composers Online Project, and the remainder are available through the Australian Music Centre. A CD of his compositions, featuring The Butcher of Brisbane, Firestick and Torrid Nature Scene, is in development with Callithumpian Consort and Mode Records. The AMC selected Vines’ works as official submissions to the ISCM World Music Days for two years (2006, 2007), and he has been the New Works Program Coördinator for New England Conservatory’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice since 2007.
The inaugural season of Vines’s opera, The Hive, which explores the life and death of the Bloomsbury poet, Rupert Brooke, was produced by ChamberMade Opera (Melbourne) during late August, early September of 2006. It consequently won Best Opera Production in the 2006 Green Room Awards, having received five nominations, and a 2007 Helpmann Award for Best Opera Direction. Recent performances of Vines’ work include Dies Irae by the Sydney Philharmonia Choir and Orchestra in the Sydney Opera House, Three Scenes from Suburbia by the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, Torrid Nature Scene by Firebird Ensemble (NYC/Boston), Halcyon (Sydney) and Callithumpian Consort (Boston), Economy of Wax in celebration of several Darwin related anniversaries (Harvard, Stanford, Halifax, Canberra, Sydney), Firestick by Callithumpian Consort, and Golden Callistemon by Duo Young Music (Munich). Loose, Wet, Perforated for Guerilla Opera (May 2011) and a new work for Victorian Opera (2013) are among his upcoming projects.
Vines studied at the University of Sydney with Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards and Anne Boyd, receiving a BMus with 1st Class Honours and the University Medal, and an MMus with High Distinction. During the latter, he was supported by the A.E. and F.A.Q. Stephens Scholarship, bestowed by the University on only one student for the duration of postgraduate study. He completed the AM/PhD programme in composition at Harvard University in 2007, having been awarded the Sir Robert Gordon Menzies Scholarship for 2001-2002, as well as various Harvard fellowships, including a GSAS Dissertation Completion Grant (2006).
During his time there, he worked with Bernard Rands, Mario Davidovsky, Lee Hyla, Judith Weir, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Magnus Lindberg, Julian Anderson and Michael Finnissy. Recently a Lecturer on Music at Harvard University and an Adjunct Professor in music theory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vines has also worked in various capacities at Wellesley College, the University of Sydney and the Australian International Conservatorium. He is regularly involved in operas, choirs and choral productions as a bass-baritone and countertenor.

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