Nicholas DeMaison is a New York-based conductor and composer whose performances, including dozens of premieres of new instrumental, operatic, and choral works, have been described as “consistently invigorating” (New York Times), “spine tingling” (Feast of Music), and “enchanted” (Seen and Heard International). Currently the Music Director of the Rensselaer Orchestra and Concert Choir at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, his recent and upcoming conducting engagements have included appearances at the Beijing Modern Music Festival (NCPA,Beijing), Handan Grand Theater (Handan, China), Monday Evening Concert Series (Zipper Hall, Los Angeles), The Stone (New York City), Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY), and Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (Troy, NY), premiering new operas by Mojiao Wang, James Ilgenfritz, Nathan Davis and Charles Fussell. At home within the contemporary multi-media landscape, he also works regularly on the music staff for live broadcast productions with Live from Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, PBS, the New York Philharmonic, Gerard Schwarz’s All Star Orchestra project, and was the Music Supervisor for critically acclaimed production company Giants Are Small, whose innovative multi-media concert operas have gained international attention in recent years.
From 2010 – 2013, Nicholas was Director of Ensemble Sospeso NYC, an ensemble of soloists producing concerts of contemporary music at the highest standard, giving performances described as “stunning” (New York Times), “a wonder to watch” (Wall Street Journal) and “gorgeously rich” (Village Voice). He was the founding Music Director of Opera Cabal, the Chicago-based ensemble for new opera, called Chicago’s “most daring” opera company (Chicago Magazine) and of which Time Out Chicago declared, “A thrilling contrast to Lyric Opera and Chicago Opera Theater…Opera Cabal exhibits the audacity and daredevilry rarely found in anything calling itself ‘opera’ these days.” Other past positions include Music Director of Florilegium Chamber Choir, South Hadley Chorale and Orchestra, and Capella Chamber Choir.
A respected interpreter of contemporary music, Mr. DeMaison actively commissions new pieces from the most unique artistic voices working today. He has conducted premieres and led recording projects of new works by dozens of living composers, with groups including ICE, Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, Iktus Percussion, Talea, ECCE and others. He was invited to conduct at the nternational Ensemble Modern Academy/Klangspuren Festival (Schwaz, Austria), the Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music (Darmstadt, Germany) and the Lucerne Festival Academy. Mr. DeMaison has assisted and performed alongside such luminaries as Lucas Vis, Pierre Boulez and Peter Eötvös.
Also an active composer, Nicholas’s music has been described as “crossing the threshold from being abstractly academic to emotionally provocative,” (Time Out NY) and “faster and blippier…smooth-versus-screechy…both ominous and playful at the same time.” (Lucid Culture). His work spans from chamber works with live electronic audio and video components to works for chorus and orchestra. Ensembles that have performed DeMaison’s music include The New York Philharmonic, Giants Are Small, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Del Sol String Quartet, ensemble dal niente, UCSD New Music Ensemble, Hunter College Campus School Orchestra, South Hadley Chorale, Opera Cabal, and has been featured at June in Buffalo. He was the recipient of a Weill Fellowship from UC San Diego and grants from Fractured Atlas, American Composers Forum, Melodious Accord, and the Harry and Alice Eiler Foundation. He was twice been offered residencies at High Concept Laboratories (Chicago, IL).
Nicholas is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory, and holds a Master’s and PhD in Composition from UC San Diego, where he studied with Chaya Czernowin and Philippe Manoury. He has studied conducting with Franck Ollu, Lucas Vis, Peter Eötvös, Gustav Meier, Carl St. Clair, Vance George, Alice Parker, Lewis Nielson and Paul Polivnick.