James Nicolson is the 2013 recipient of the Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in the field of early music. This award is named in memory of the renowned and beloved musicologist from the University of Chicago, Howard Mayer Brown, and recognizes lifetime achievement in the field of early music.
James Nicolson, harpsichordist and virginalist, after attending Harvard College, entered the New England Conservatory of Music where he earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in harpsichord performance as a student of Helen Keaney. A member of the Conservatory's Collegium Musicum under Daniel Pinkham, and a Fellow at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, he has also attended master classes with Igor Kipnis, Kenneth Gilbert, Mark Kroll, Marleen Montgomery, Paul O'Dette, and Peter Sykes. Formerly on the faculties of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge and the Powers Music School in Belmont, Massachusetts, Mr. Nicolson has taught at Northeastern University, Smith College and the New England Conservatory of Music. He has been a soloist at the Rhode Island Bach Festivals and has had numerous solo and ensemble performances in the Eastern and Midwestern States. In addition, he has appeared occasionally on East Coast radio and television. During the last several years, Mr. Nicolson has made annual recital tours in Europe, playing for audiences primarily in the German-speaking countries. He has produced a compact disc devoted entirely to the keyboard music of William Byrd (1543-1623) rendered on his double virginal and on an ancient European organ (The Passinge Mesures, Titanic Ti-225). In the realm of volunteer cultural organizations, Mr. Nicolson serves as an Overseer of the Boston Early Music Festival, as a Governor of the Shirley-Eustis House Association, as a member of the Alumni Council of the New England Conservatory of Music, and as President of The Cambridge Society for Early Music.