Nicholas DeMaison is an American conductor and composer based in New York City. He is Co-Director of Wavefield. Passionately devoted to the music being made in our own time, Nicholas has led dozens of premiere performances of new works for orchestra, opera, choir and various mixed ensembles with new technologies, and appears on albums released by New Focus, Mode, New World, Bright Shiny Things, and Con d'or Records. In recent seasons he has lead the premiere productions of Pauline Oliveros’ The Nubian Word for Flowers (which he assembled posthumously for performance - ICE/Roulette), Nathan Davis’ Hagoromo (ICE/AOP/BAM Next Wave), Mikael Karlsson’s The Echo Drift (ICE/AOP/Prototype Festival), Mojiao Wang’s Encounter (Beijing Modern Music Festival), James Ilgenfritz’s The Ticket That Exploded, Charles Fussell’s The Astronaut’s Tale, Victor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Montclair State Opera Productions), and of newly commissioned orchestral works by Zosha DiCastri, Katherine Balch, Miya Masaoka, Zach Layton, Erica Ball, Eli Greenhoe and others. The US premiere of his arrangement of Milhaud’s La Mère Coupable by OnSite Opera was lauded as “a natural fit”. He has been a regular collaborator with International Contemporary Ensemle, and previously worked with The Composers Conference, American Opera Projects, Giants are Small, Ensemble Sospeso, Talea Ensemble, and Opera Cabal among others.
Currently the Director of Orchestral Studies at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, he is conductor of the MSU Symphony Orchestra and MSU Opera. In his former role as Conductor of the Rensselaer Orchestra, he had the opportunity to collaborate extensively with the world-renowned Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) in Troy, NY to realize a variety of new hybrid works for ensembles, voices, and new technologies.
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, NOISEBridge, andPlay, Del Sol String Quartet, ensemble dal niente, UCSD New Music Ensemble, Florilegium Chamber Choir and Opera Cabal, and has been featured at June in Buffalo. He has received grants from New Music USA, 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). He regularly works on the music staff for broadcast productions with the New York Philharmonic, MediciTV, Live from Lincoln Center, and most recently the Dallas Symphony.
Nicholas is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory and UC San Diego, where he studied composition with Chaya Czernowin and Philippe Manoury. He has studied conducting with Franck Ollu, Lucas Vis, Peter Eötvös, Pierre Boulez, Gustav Meier, Carl St. Clair, Vance George, Alice Parker, and Lewis Nielson.