Michael Nix is a contemporary classical composer, guitarist and performer. Nix lives and teaches in the tranquil Pioneer Valley of Franklin County in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Nix and NixWorks has performed in venues around the world and is highly renowned.
Michael Nix performs "Preludes, Aires, and Dances" featuring works for solo guitar by Villa-Lobos, Gershwin, Albeniz, Sor, Brouwer, and a number of Nix's own original compositions. The music is drawn from a wealth of styles-American and Celtic folk music, Brazilian dances, jazz, and European classical composers.
People have described Nix's concerts as "touching" and "transcendent". He combines lyrical expression with an insatiable musical curiosity to forge an intriguing performance style.
Nix has received numerous awards and commissions for his compositions, and has performed throughout the United States and Asia as a soloist.
"Breathtakingly beautiful...Nix's 'Darlin' Corey' was a highlight!"
Peter Mix, Acoustic Musician Magazine
"Nix's 'Three American Folksongs,' impressionistic settings of American folk song is outstanding both for composition and interpretation. Colorful, intense, and dissonant by turns, ... a stellar addition ... a definitive performance."
Marilyn Mair "Mandolin Quarterly", Vol. 2, No. 3; Summer 1997.
Prelude, Air, and Dances, M.Nix
Andante Largo, Fernando Sor
Greensleeves Variations, M.Nix
Wintersong, M. Nix
Position 3, M. Nix
Leyenda, Isaac Albeniz
Nao Me Toques (a Brazilian Choro), Zequinha Abreu, arr. Nix
The Nelson Suite (New England Contra dances), M. Nix
info (at) nixworks (dot) com
Thoughts From the Artist
The classical guitar has been called an "Orchestra in a Box". In the hands of a master, Andres Segovia, or Julian Bream, the guitar is capable of producing breathtaking colors. It is this multi-timbre aspect that I love about this instrument, and in my own work, I attempt to draw color from the instrument to illuminate the character of the piece, a phrase, a contrast, a mood--the possibilities are limitless!
Segovia was quite vocal in his disdain of the electric guitar and its players. Indeed from the cultured European viewpoint of the early 20th century, rock and roll, jazz, and blues players were a lewd, rowdy bunch playing loud, uncultured music.
In the 1960's the paradigm changed. The Beatles brought a European sense of style and intellectual acceptance to electric pop music. John Cage, the Princeton composers, and a number of other musicians had introduced electronic sound into the academic music sphere and concert stage. Moog invented a workable music synthesizer triggered with a keyboard, and Walter (now Wendy) Carlos stood the music world on it's ear with the lush and beautiful recording "Switched On Bach".
There still exists a fairly strict paradigm in the contemporary concert world's definition "Classical Guitar" which I hope to radically expand.
To this end, I am searching for and writing new material for the guitar that reflects our "post modern" culture. We have instant access to information, art, and culture from all over the world through electronic means. Every day we are bombarded with sounds and cultural bits from a great many sources, process them, and integrate them in our daily lives. Picking up this cultural clue, you hear on my concerts traditional classical repertoire, a jazz influence, some Celtic folk music. I also plug the nylon strung guitar (my orchestra in a box) into electronics and process the sound in a search for more, new, interesting, beautiful, and useful colors. I combine the sound of the guitar with sounds that I make on a synthesizer, or record from the real world and process it. The themes of the compositions are somewhat timeless, looking ahead to new unknowns, while keeping the ties to the past. New and old sounds, textures, and themes are combined, processed, and recombined.
Michael Nix Biography
The work of composer and guitarist Michael Nix is informed by a wide range of creative practice: avant garde theater and play writing, classical and folk music, electronic and computer music.
Michael Nix's solo guitar concerts have been described as "touching" and "transcendent". He combines lyrical expression with an insatiable musical curiosity to forge an intriguing performance style. He is currently performing his original compositions and guitar classics from his recent solo classical guitar CD release "Preludes, Airs, and Dances".
Nix has performed traditional classical repertoire, new classical, and original music on guitar, lute, banjo and mandolin, throughout the United States and Asia. He has composed solo music, songs, chamber music, symphonic works, electronic music, and opera.
His awards and commissions includes a 2002 assignment by The Ann Sorvino Dance Project, to compose and perform a dance work "Labyrinth" commemorating the 9-11 tragedy, which will tour the US and Europe in the summer of 2003. Nix was awarded grants to perform "New Music From the Northeast", a program of original music and works by composers from New York and New England. In 1991 he was selected as Massachusetts Music Teacher's Assn. composer of the year.
His work combines traditional classical techniques, with influences from electronic music, folk, jazz and world music, and avant-garde. Nix has gained attention for his performances of new classical music for acoustic, amplified and electric guitars, and with tape, computers, and other technologies.
Nix is currently on the Massachusetts Touring Program as a member of The Moser/Nix Duo, performing music for mandolin and guitar. He toured as a member of the Monadnock Classical Guitar Duo, and as a soloist he was on the New Hampshire Touring Program for four years. He was a featured performer for the Connecticut Classical Guitar Society's Andres Segovia outreach program "The Guitar About Town.
In the mid 1980's, Nix formed Mythos, a flexible chamber ensemble performing newly composed and older chamber music. Nix wrote the libretto for a children's opera, "Liombruno" with music by Salvatore Macchia, premiered at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1989. In 1983 he was co-conductor and concert master with the guitar orchestra at Keene State College, which toured the Phillipines, Hong Kong, and California. In 1988, he performed at the Bushnell Hall in Hartford CT, commemorating a 1931 Andres Segovia performance. Madam Emilita Segovia was the honored guest. Nix produced a John Cage memorial concert in 1992, incorporating musicians, dancers, visual artists, and improvisational theater. Tom Leamon in a letter to Merce Cunningham said "It very appropriate and authentic and funny and touching and we were glad to be there..." In 1994 he composed "Three American Folk Songs" for the Providence (RI) Mandolin Orchestra, performed on a European concert tour of American mandolin orchestra music."a stellar addition to repertoire for mandolin "--Marilyn Mair "Mandolin Quarterly", Vol. 2, No. 3; Summer 1997.
Recently Nix formed The NixWorks Ensemble, bringing together multiple creative influences and genre: music composition, performance. poetry, theater, film and visual art.