TERRY LEE NICHOLS
You sometimes read the phrase “he/she was born to it” when describing how a person came by their particular calling. Such seems to be the case with Terry Lee Nichols. While playing popular tunes on his grandmother’s piano, by the age of four, Terry had already decided that composing and performing music was his true life’s goal.
In grade school, he also picked began playing guitar and banjo. He added the trombone in junior high, which he played in the school band. He also began taking formal lessons on the tenor sax.
In high school he arranged popular tunes for the school’s marching band and composed music for school stage shows. In addition to composing and arranging music, he came to enjoy analyzing musical structures as well as performing.
All these musical skills and talents came easily to him. The diversity of Terry’s music portfolio grew to include performing in rock bands, church brass choirs, supper clubs – performing on piano – and assorted high school bands, both jazz and classical, culminating in him playing trombone in the University of Miami All-Star High School jazz ensemble under legendary musician Gerry Mulligan.
It was while he was attending Florida State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition and Theory, that he began an interest in electronic music via the school’s lab. He also played piano in the Florida State jazz ensemble, which afforded him to the opportunity to tour with the band throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Terry moved on to studies at the California Institute of Arts under Stephen “Lucky” Mosko and electronic music pioneer Morton Subotnick. This is where he earned an MFA degree. It was here he also became exposed to world music, in particular, gamelan and South Indian Sarali.
As at Florida State, his attention also gravitated to the CalArts electronic music lab, and he grew more interested in computers and information technology in general. While he was attending college in Los Angeles, he performed in clubs, was a church organist, composed music for commercials and began an internship in scoring for both films and TV under Randy Van Horne and Nathan Scott.
Terry’s training in classical composing led him to pursue a doctorate degree at Brandeis University, but it was his interest in both music and technology that led him down a pathway which was to prove quite lucrative, as he was courted by several software firms who recognized his aptitude for designing large-scale systems.
He eventually formed his own IT company, which proved so successful that he ended up selling it to a leading vendor in his field. Due to this success in IT and software, his music was then relegated to the back burner, but he is gravitating back to his first, and true, love, composing and performing music.
When asked how he views himself as an artist, Terry states “I sense the world through sound. I communicate best through sound, compositions, and performances. Sound and music are the most powerful emotional forces in my life. I will work to be the best I can be at communicating my thoughts and opinions through music. Success, failure, or anything in between, this is my legacy.”
Terry new release is, “Metamorphosis.” Piano performances on the album include solos, duets, a septet, and multi-part ensembles employing standard and extended performance techniques. Extended techniques performed on the piano strings include strumming,
muting, plucking, scraping, picking, bowing, dragging, and rubbing.
Studio effects include delay, reverb, equalization, and spatial imaging.
Be sure to head over to Terry’s website to listen/buy, “Metamorphosis.”
Official artist website: https://www.terryleenichols.com/