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Nicholas Brown
Ussher Assistant Professor, Music


Nicholas Brown is an artist-composer, performer and writer, who creates musical works using a variety of time-based media and writes about theoretical issues in contemporary music practice. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford (BA Hons, 1996; DPhil, 2006) and Manhattan School of Music, New York (MM, 1998), where he studied composition with American composer, Ned Rorem. Nicholas's recent work includes a lecture-performance project, On the Generation of Sounds that premiered at the 2015 Cambridge Festival of Ideas, based on the writings of thirteenth-century English philosopher, Robert Grosseteste. He has also written an extensive body of concert and film music, including two scores for silent films, which have been commercially released on DVD by the British Film Institute (Lady Windermere's Fan [dir. F. Paul, 1918] and After Death [dir. E. Bauer, 1915]). Nicholas's music has featured in international festivals such as Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the BBC Promenade Concerts, Haarlem Koorbiennale (NL), the Three Choirs Festival and the UK-with-NY festival in New York. Nicholas is frequently active as a performer, having conducted his music at venues including Lincoln Center, New York, The National Gallery, Washington D.C. & London's Barbican Centre and performed as a pianist at venues including Wigmore Hall and Kings Place in London. As a writer, he has published articles on the philosophy of music, particularly theories of music & embodiment, and given talks and lectures on the value of artistic expression in the context of daily life. Nicholas has previously held lectureships in music at St Catherine's College, Oxford; Trinity Laban, London; the University of East Anglia, Norwich and has most recently served as Director of Performance Studies and Senior Lecturer in Music at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Composition Pedagogy in an Age of Electronic Media in, editor(s)Jonathan Impett , Composition as Critical Technical Practice, Leuven, Leuven University Press (Orpheus Institute Series), 2018, [Nicholas Brown] Book Chapter, 2018

Electroacoustic Composition and Silent Film in, editor(s)Barton, R. and Tresize, S. , Music and Sound in Silent Film: From the Nickelodeon to the Artist, London, Routledge, 2018, [Nicholas Brown] Book Chapter, 2018

Nicholas Brown, 'Chit-chat', Science Gallery Summer Show, 2018, 'SOUND CHECK', Dublin, Science Gallery, Dublin, 2017, - Music Production, 2017

Nicholas Brown, Composition Pedagogy in an Age of Electronic Media, Composition as Critical Technical Practice, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium, 22 November 2016, 2016 Conference Paper, 2016

Nicholas Brown, From the Temporality of Pulse to the Generation of Sounds, The Making of Musical Time, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, 25-26 February 2015, 2015 Conference Paper, 2015

Nicholas Brown, The Composer's Art in an Age of Digital Mediation, Composition in the 21st Century, Trinity College Dublin, 5-7 March 2014, 2014 Conference Paper, 2014

Composing as a Way of Doing Philosophy in, editor(s)Darla Crispin & Bob Gilmore , Artistic Research in Music: A Sourcebook, Leuven, Leuven University Press, 2014, pp225 - 230, [Nicholas G Brown] Book Chapter, 2014

Nicholas Brown, Being Among the Living: On the Inter-relationships Between Performers, Witnesses & Environment in 'As I Have Now Memoyre', Organised Sound, 16, (2), 2011, p176 - 183 Journal Article, 2011

Nicholas Brown, Composing the Performer: On the relationship between the work of making a work of music and the idiosyncrasies of a performer's practice, Artistic Experimentation in Music, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, 27-8 April 2011, 2011 Conference Paper, 2011

Nicholas Brown, 'Lady Windermere's Fan', The Fan, London, British Film Institute, 2009, - Music Production, 2009

Nicholas Brown, The Flux Between Sounding and Sound: Towards a Relational Understanding of Music as Embodied Action., Contemporary Music Review, 25, (1-2), 2006, p36 - 45 Journal Article, 2006 URL

Nicholas Brown, 'After Death', Mad Love, London, British Film Institute, 2002, - Music Production, 2002

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Nicholas Brown, 'Vanishing Points', Dublin, Composer, 2017, - Musical Score, 2017

Nicholas Brown, 'Starfish', 2016, - Musical Score, 2016

Nicholas Brown, The Impact of Digital Technology on the Standard Model of Musical Performance, Research Exchange Lunchtime Session, Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin, 6 December, 2016, Long Room Hub Invited Talk, 2016

Nicholas Brown, 'On the Production of True Consonance', Helmore Building, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, 2016, - Music Production, 2016

Nicholas Brown, 'On the Generation of Sounds', Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, UK, 2015, - Music Production, 2015

Nicholas Brown, Presentation-demonstration of physical computing and sensor technology in the context of my compositional practice, Dorkbot #2, Makespace, Cambridge, UK, 21 April, 2015, Dorkbot Invited Talk, 2015

Nicholas Brown, 'Point | Line | Plane', Mumford Theatre, Cambridge, UK, Anglia Ruskin University Lunchtime Concert Series, 2015, - Music Production, 2015

Nicholas Brown, Presentation for sixth-form students on my professional practice as a composer working in film, Study day for sixth-form students, Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, 5 February, 2015, Cambridgeshire Film Consortium Invited Talk, 2015

Nicholas Brown, Presentation on my creative work based on Robert Grosseteste's De Generatione Sonorum & De Operationibus Solis, Ordered Universe Symposium, Norman Chapel, Durham University, 26 November, 2015, The Ordered Universe Project Invited Talk, 2015

Nicholas Brown, 'From Birdsong to Light', St Peter Hungate, Norwich, UK, Hungate Medieval Art, 2013, - Music Production, 2013

Nicholas Brown, Practising Every Day: Musical Acts in our Daily Lives, Lunchtime Talk given as part of the exhibition, 'The Artist's Studio', Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK, 20 May, 2010, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Invited Talk, 2010

Nicholas Brown, Guest speaker on the subject of collaborations between composers and performers, London Symphony Orchestra 'Discovery' series, LSO St Luke's, London, April, 2008, LSO / SPNM Invited Talk, 2008

Research Expertise


Composition and Algorithmic composition, spectral music; computer-aided music pedagogy; Electroacoustic composition; Installation & sound art; Music in medieval thought; Notation and performance; Performance with digital technologies; Philosophy & aesthetics of music


Awards and Honours

Apgar Scholarship, Magdalen College, Oxford University 1999

Foundation for Sports and the Arts Scholarship 1997

Performing Rights Society Foundation, Composer Bursary Award 2003

PRS/NFMS, UK 'Adopt a Composer' scheme 2001

Instrumental Scholarship, Magdalen College, Oxford University 1994


Associate Researcher, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium. Member, research cluster, 'Music, Thought & Technology'. 2016 – present

Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK. 2013 – present

Writer-member, Performing Rights Society, UK 2001 – present

Writer-member, Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, UK 2000 – present