Composer, violinist, and computer music researcher, Charles Nichols is an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Technology at the School of Performing Arts and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, at Virginia Tech University. He has earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Yale University, and Stanford University, where he studied composition with Samuel Adler, Martin Bresnick, Jacob Druckman, and Jonathan Harvey, and computer music with Jonathan Berger, Chris Chafe, Max Mathews, and Jean-Claude Risset. At Yale, he worked as a Research Associate at the Center for Studies in Music Technology (CSMT) and as a Research Assistant at Haskins Laboratories. At Stanford, he served as the Interim and Associate Technical Director of the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). While on faculty at the School of Music of the University of Montana, he taught acoustic and electroacoustic composition, directed the Mountain Electroacoustic Laptop Ensemble (MELEe) and Pierrot Ensemble, organized the Mountain Computer Music Festival and Composers’ Showcase, and managed the Mountain Computer Music Collective and Recording Service.
His compositions, including acoustic and electroacoustic music, for large and chamber ensembles, and fixed media, accompanying dance and animation, have been presented at conferences and festivals, such as the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC), Poznanska Wiosna Muzyczna, Australasian Computer Music Conference, Festa Europea Della Musica, Seoul International Computer Music Festival, Música Viva Festival, Re:New Digital Arts Festival, Musicacoustica Mix, Pan Music Festival, Festival Internacional de Musica Electroacustica, Society of Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS) National Conference, Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, Big Sky Alive Festival, Charlotte New Music Festival, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, Bellingham Electronic Arts Festival, Bang on a Can Institute, and June in Buffalo, in the US, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Cuba, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Northern Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and South Korea. His research, including data sonification, telematic musical performance over Internet2, and haptic musical human-computer interface design, has been presented at conferences, such as ICMC, the Korean ElectroAcoustic Music Society Conference, the International Conference for High Performance Computing (SC Global), Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH), International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Digital Audio Effects Conference (DAFx), International Symposium on Music Acoustics (ISMA), Forum IRCAM, and SEAMUS, in the US, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, and Sweden.
He has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and National Science Foundation, for commissions from the Montana Institute on Ecosystems, the Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts, and the Headwaters Dance Company, and recognition from the National Academy of Music, La Fundación Destellos, Institut International de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges, Renée B. Fisher Composer Awards, New Music USA, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the Montana Arts Council. He has been a visiting scholar, researching haptic musical interface design, at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, N. Ireland, a visiting composer, working with the Namaste Ensemble in Città di Castello and Rome, Italy, and a resident, at the Ucross and Brush Creek artist retreats, near Sheridan and Saratoga, Wyoming. His recent premieres include Nicolo, Jimi, and John, a concerto, for amplified viola, interactive computer processing, and orchestra, three movements, based on the virtuosity of Paganini, Hendrix, and Coltrane, performed by Brett Deubner, and the Missoula Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Darko Butorac, and Sound of Rivers: Stone Drum, a multimedia collaboration, with sonified data, electric violin, and computer-processed sound, accompanying narrated poetry, dance, animation, and computer-processed video, based on scientific research into how stoneflies navigate throughout their lifecycles, by the sound of rivers.
Ronald Keith Parks, born in Waynesville, North Carolina, USA, is an active composer of acoustic, electroacoustic and hybrid acoustic/electroacoustic music. His diverse output ranges from orchestral music to chamber works to interactive computer music. Recent commissions include Reflections and Lore for the 2015 Charlotte Composers Forum, 9 Dreams of Flying for the 2013 Charlotte New Music Festival, /// Elements for the Blue Ridge Chamber Players, Alhambra Tiles and Things Get Out of Hand… for the Out of Bounds Ensemble, Simple Things for the Charlotte Symphony’s Composer on Campus Project, A Matter of Perspective for Duo XXI, Off on a Tangent… for the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, Torque, Wavelength and Afterimage 8 for the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, Afterimage 7 for the NeXT Ens, and …drift… for the Force of Nature artist exchange program.
Parks has written for numerous prominent performers and ensembles including the Blue Ridge Chamber Players, Out of Bounds Ensemble, Duo XXI, Red Clay Saxophone Quartet, the Charlotte Civic Orchestra, the NeXT Ens, the North Carolina School of the Arts Orchestra, the International Music Program Chamber Ensemble, the North Carolina School of the Arts String Orchestra, The Georgia Contemporary Ensemble, the Sally Fouse Flute Quartet, the Winthrop Guitar Ensemble, pianist Tomoko Deguchi, the Bradner-Deguchi piano duo, the Winthrop Wind Symphony, guitarist L.H. Dickert, flutist Jill O’Neil, and many others.
His compositions and papers have been selected for inclusion at numerous national and international festivals and conferences including the Malgrat del Mar International Music Festival, Society of Composers’ national and regional conferences, the Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States conference, the International Computer Music Conference, the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, the Spark Festival, the National Flute Association conference, the New West Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Australian Flute Festival, the The Two-Sided Triangle concert series in Essen Germany, the NextWave~ festival in Melbourne Australia, the Earfest and Computer Music at SUNY Stony Brook series, the Unbalanced Connection concerts at the University of Florida, the Timara Faculty and Guests Concert series at Oberlin Conservatory, Southeastern Composers’ League concerts, the College Music Society composers’ concerts and numerous performers’ and composers’ concert recitals around the world.
Dr. Parks’ research into granular sampling, granular synthesis methods, and FFT-based spectral filtering is included in the Amsterdam Catalogue of Csound Computer Instruments and has been featured at ICMC, SEAMUS, SCI, and various other conferences and professional venues and has been published in various conference proceedings.
His honors and awards include the Aaron Copland Award, the Outstanding Junior Professor Award at Winthrop University, the South Carolina Music Teacher’s Association Commission, Honorable Mentions in the Truman State/MACRO Composition Contest, the Minnesota Composers Forum, and the Shepard Composer of the Year Award, two Giannini Scholarships for Music Composition plus the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and three Graeffe Memorial Scholarships for Composition and the Presidential Recognition Award at the University of Florida. His flute quartet “Counterparts” was selected as the set piece for the 11th annual Australian Flute Festival quartet competition. He was commissioned by the North Carolina School of the Arts’ International Music Program to write a work for their European tour and was awarded a grant from the Semans Creative Arts Foundation for the composition of an orchestral work that was premiered by the North Carolina School of the Arts Orchestra. He has received a Meet the Composer grant and in was nominated and elected to the Gamma Zeta Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, a national honor society for musicians, and is an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha.
Ron’s music is available a variety of labels. Torque, for orchestra was released as part of Spellbound: Captivating Works for Orchestra and Large Ensemble on Navona Records. Fractures, for digital media was included on the 2007 International Computer Music Conference proceedings CD, Residual, for digital media was included on the FEMF 10 year retrospective CD released on the Electronic Music Foundation label (CD 031), Non Divisi and Sul C, both for digital media were included on the 2005 and 2006 60X60 CDs released by Vox Novus, A Matter of Perspective,for violin and cello was released as part of Duo XXI’s release Quest: New Music for Violin and Cello (Albany Records ASIN: B0049HBFSG), and VoiceWall was included on the Society of Composers, Inc. Student Chapter CD Volume 1 from the University of Florida.
Dr. Parks earned the Bachelor of Music in composition from the North Carolina School of the Arts, an Masters of Music in composition from the University of Florida, and a Ph.D. in composition from the University at Buffalo. He is currently Professor of Composition, Music Technology, and Theory and is the Director of the Winthrop Computer Music Labs at Winthrop University.