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Nicholas Vines : Represented Artist

My compositional approach is firmly rooted in the technical resources of the Western classical canon, while embracing sounds and ideas from an array of popular, experimental, Australian and non-Western traditions. This combination of rigour and pluralism gives rise to music at once vectored and kaleidoscopic.

Random Audio Sample: Rustling the Deities : for B flat clarinet and pianoforte by Nicholas Vines, from the CD Chi's cakewalk

Photo of Nicholas Vines


Described as "exquisite" (Gramophone), "riveting" (The New York Times), "arresting" (The Boston Globe), "compellingly original" (Boston Phoenix), "full, extravagant and wild" (Sydney Morning Herald), and "edgy, bright and entertaining as hell" (NewMusicBox), the works of Nicholas Vines (b. 1976, Sydney) have been performed in Australia, North America, the UK, Europe and Japan.

Interpreters of Vines's work cover the full professional and amateur gamut, including Alarm Will Sound, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Radius Ensemble, Ensemble Offspring, the Australian Voices, the Schola Cantorum Gedanesis Chamber Choir, the BT Scottish Ensemble, Eliot Gattegno, Liwei Qin, and students and ensembles of Sydney Grammar School, Santa Sabina College and MLC School Burwood.

He has been commissioned by organisations and performers around the world, such as Callithumpian Consort, Firebird Ensemble, Guerilla Opera, counter)induction, ChamberMade Opera, the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australia Piano Quartet, Acacia Quartet, Clemens Leske, Abbotsleigh School, Ensemble Apex, 2MBS FM Radio (Sydney), Ars Musica Australis, the Australia Council, Duo Young Music, mmm…, Faber Music and the Tait Memorial Trust. A festival of Australian music centred on his work for chorus and orchestra, An Essayist's Prayer, was held at Abbotsleigh School in October 2017.

Recognition for Vines's work includes APRA AMCOS Art Music, Helpmann and Green Room Awards (2011/2012, 2007, 2006), runner-up in the 2010 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, an honourable mention in the 2006 Salvatore Martirano Competition (USA), and 2nd Prize in the 'Musica Sacra 2005' Competition (Poland). Published by Wirripang, Faber Music, the Australian Composers Online Project and Alexander Street Press, many of his works are available through the Australian Music Centre.

A number of albums featuring Vines's compositions are available on the US label Navona Records. These are Torrid Nature Scenes (2013), a series of chamber works performed by Callithumpian Consort; Guerilla Opera's studio recording of Loose, Wet, Perforated (2017); and Hipster Zombies from Mars, an anthology of piano music realised by Ryan MacEvoy McCullough (2018).

Graduating in 2007 with a PhD from Harvard University, Vines taught theory and composition there and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before taking up a position at Sydney Grammar School. He is also a composition tutor at the University of New South Wales, and mentor for the annual Artology Fanfare Competition, which in 2016 won the APRA AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence in Music Education.

Nicholas Vines — current to July 2018

Studied with

Anne Boyd (1995)

Ross Edwards (1995)

Peter Sculthorpe (1995)

Elliott Gyger (2001)


Mentored by

Richard Gill


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
sync_for_me (1): Gothick Yarns, Motley Ridotto & Sweet, Sweet Syllabub : for faux court orchestra (2018) Commissioned for and by Sam Weller & Ensemble Apex
DubStop UnderDrive : for tenor trombone and pipe organ (2017) Commissioned by the Bowral Autumn Music Festival
The Law of the Tongue : for string quartet (2016) Commissioned by Acacia Quartet & the Limelight Australian Composition Seminar 2015
In Defence of Toads (treble voice with chamber ensemble) (2016) Commissioned by Callithumpian Consort.
A King's Manifesto : for soprano, percussion and violoncello (2014) Commissioned by Halcyon.
Dysart's Changelings : piano quartet (2014) Commissioned by Australia Piano Quartet.