Composer-performer Nicholas Bentz seeks to find relationships across time and space through his fascination with historical objects and cultural throughlines. His work has responded to subjects as diverse as anthropology, astrophysics, cinema, neuroscience, and video games. Nicholas has written for the Charleston Symphony, Occasional Symphony, yMusic, and SONAR New Music Ensemble, and has had his music played by the Jacksonville Symphony, USC Symphony, and the Peabody Modern Orchestra. Nicholas is currently a composition teaching artist fellow with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was a winner of an EarShot New Music Reading through American Composer’s Orchestra, while his most recent orchestra piece, A Cosmos in Stone, Respawning, received the Sadye J. Moss Prize from the University of Southern California. His music has been featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, New Music on the Point, and Sounding Now Festival in Singapore.
As a violinist, Nicholas has soloed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Thornton Edge, and the Pacific Philharmonic. 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. Nicholas has participated in masterclasses with Alexander Kerr, Victor Danchenko, and Vadim Gluzman. An avid 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 Donald Crockett as the graduate assistant to the Thornton Edge new music ensemble. He is 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 Ted Hearne, Andrew Norman, Yiorgos Vassilandonakis, George Tsontakis, and Felipe Lara, and his previous violin teachers include Yuriy Bekker, Espen Lilleslåtten, and Diana Cohen.