With a repertoire spanning from J.S. Bach to Jimi Hendrix, Michael Nicolella is recognized as one of America’s most innovative classical guitar virtuosos. Known for his creative programming, Nicolella has introduced electric guitar into his “classical” programs and extended the repertoire and audience of his instrument not only with his own compositions and transcriptions, but also by premiering and commissioning works by some of today’s most exciting emerging composers.
Following a recent performance the Washington Post stated: “Since the passing of Andres Segovia the guitar world has needed an advocate… perhaps Michael Nicolella is that person.” As a concert artist, Nicolella has performed throughout North America and Europe as solo recitalist, chamber musician and soloist with orchestra including performances with the Seattle Symphony, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Seattle Creative Orchestra, odeonquartet, Charanga Danzon, and the Northwest Symphony Orchestra. Nicolella has released four CD recordings to critical acclaim. His latest release Shard features his own composition for classical guitar and orchestra, along with the music of Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Jacob ter Veldhuis, Christopher DeLaurenti, and Joshua Kohl. Classical Guitar magazine described the disc as “an endlessly rewarding release from one of the contemporary guitar’s most gifted stars.” As a performer and composer, Michael has received awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, 4Culture, Wisconsin Arts Board, Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Arts Commission, and was first prize winner of both the Portland and Northwest solo classical guitar competitions. Nicolella received his undergraduate degree from Berklee College of Music, where he studied improvisation with Gary Burton and Billy Pierce, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University where he studied guitar with Benjamin Verdery and composition with Martin Bresnick and Jonathan Berger.