We are delighted to welcome Robert Nicholls as our Music Director in 2020.
Robert Nicholls was born in Cambridge, England to a British farmer and American mother from Carmi, Illinois, and grew up in rural Cambridgeshire. At the age of eight he joined the Choir of Westminster Abbey in London under the direction of Simon Preston. He graduated from Oundle School and Cambridge University. Robert sang tenor in the choirs of Gonville and Caius and St. John’s Colleges in Cambridge. He was appointed Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church in Evansville, Indiana, in 1996. The RSCM Program at First Pres was established in 1993, by Dr. Darryl Roland.
Robert has served as Housemaster and Organist for summer residential courses and is in demand nationwide to lead choral festivals as a guest clinician. As a member of the Evansville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, he has served as Dean, and chaired a number of special events including the 2009 Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced, the 2015 Bolcom Commission of Fantasia for Organ and Brass Quintet premiered in Evansville with Dr. Douglas Reed and the American Brass Quintet, and the restoration of the historic Edmund Giesecke organ made in Evansville in 1889.
Robert’s compositions for both organ and choir have been performed and broadcast in both the US and Europe, and at RSCM America summer residential courses. He also enjoys accompanying silent films and won first place at the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2012.
Robert was an adjunct lecturer in Music at the IU Jacobs School of Music from 2015-2017 teaching keyboard skills, graduate improvising courses and supervising the Sacred Music Practicum. He is currently adjunct Professor of organ and harpsichord at the University of Evansville and serves on the RSCM America National Board.
Robert is married to Emma Nicholls, PhD, a pediatric Clinical Psychologist whom he met next door in Evansville. They are proud parents of Elena (15) and William (12).
Nicholas is the Assistant Organist at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City. Prior to this appointment, Nick was at St. Paul’s Parish K Street, Washington D.C., where was an Organ Scholar assisting in playing, conducting, and chorister training for weekly services. In addition to duties at St. Paul’s, he was a part-time organist at Washington National Cathedral. He has held similar posts at Yale Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel, Trinity Church on-the-Green, New Haven, CT, and Trinity Church, Indianapolis. He earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. His principal teachers included Janette Fishell and Martin Jean (organ), Elisabeth Wright and Arthur Haas (harpsichord), and Jeffrey Brillhart (improvisation).
Nicholas has garnered top prizes in competitions around the country, winning first prize at the 2014 Albert Schweitzer Organ Competition in Wethersfield, Connecticut. In 2013, he took first prize in the American Guild of Organists Regional Competition for Young Organists. As a solo recitalist, he has performed throughout the Eastern United States, including appearances at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Kennedy Center, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. His solo performances have been broadcast on public radio’s Harmonia Early Music and Pipedreams. He was the featured organist in the 2018 German documentary The Unanswered Ives, which is to be broadcast on French and German television. He has appeared with the Cathedral Choral Society, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the Washington Master Chorale.