Nicholas Bentz is a composer-performer who is primarily interested in the intersections of art and alternative modes of perception and expression. His music takes its inspiration from a wide array of sources including visual and cinematic art, anthropology and philosophy, and interactive art. Nicholas has received commissions from the Charleston Symphony, Occasional Symphony, yMusic, Symphony Number One, and SONAR New Music Ensemble, among others, and has had his music played by the Jacksonville Symphony, USC Symphony, and the Peabody Modern Orchestra. Nicholas was a winner of an EarShot New Music Reading through American Composer’s Orchestra, and his most recent orchestra piece, A Cosmos in Stone, Respawning, received the Sadye J. Moss Prize from the University of Southern California. He was also a finalist for the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards in 2014, and was the Composer in Residence for Symphony Number One's 2016-17 season. His music has been featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, New Music on the Point, and Sounding Now Festival in Singapore.
Equally at home on the violin, Nicholas has performed with orchestras from across the world, soloing with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Philharmonic, Piccolo Spoleto Festival Orchestra, and Symphony Number One. He has also performed with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Nicholas attended the Aspen Music Festival and School for seven summers, and was chosen as a finalist for the Dorothy DeLay Fellowship Competition in 2012. In 2014 he was selected as a finalist for the Marbury Competition, and was the winner of the Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy Concerto Competition. Nicholas has participated in masterclasses with Alexander Kerr, Victor Danchenko, and Vadim Gluzman. He is the former concertmaster of Symphony Number One, and was previously the co-concertmaster of the Peabody Concert Orchestra, Peabody Symphony Orchestra, and the College of Charleston Chamber Orchestra. As a dedicated chamber musician, Nicholas has worked with Thornton Edge, Mind on Fire, Now Hear This, SONAR New Music Ensemble, Peabody Camerata, and the College of Charleston Contemporary Music Ensemble among others. An avid and sought-after interpreter of new music, Nicholas has commissioned and premiered over thirty pieces ranging from chamber and solo pieces to concerti and multimedia works.
Nicholas currently attends the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a master's degree in composition under Andrew Norman as the graduate assistant to the Thornton Edge new music ensemble. He is also currently studying violin with Lina Bahn. Nicholas received his bachelor's degree in composition from the Peabody Institute under Kevin Puts while also completing a bachelor's and master's in violin under the tutelage of Herbert Greenberg. His previous composition teachers include Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, George Tsontakis, and Felipe Lara, and his previous violin teachers include Yuriy Bekker, Espen Lilleslåtten, and Diana Cohen.