Nicholas Tolle is one of America's premiere cimbalom artists. In 2019 he won 3rd prize in the Budapest Music Center International Cimbalom Competition where he was the only finalist from North America. In August 2019 he made his eleventh visit to the Lucerne Festival to perform the works of Wolfgang Rihm and Heinz Holliger. He has performed as soloist in Pierre Boulez’ Repons with the composer conducting at the Lucerne Festival in 2009, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Péter Eötvös in 2012, and with Steven Schick at UC San Diego in 2017. He has appeared as a soloist with Collage New Music and Orchestra 2001 performing Steve Mackey’s 5 Animated Shorts, and with numerous orchestras performing Kodály’s Háry János Suite. Based in Boston, MA, he plays regularly with such groups as the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, and Sound Icon, and with his own group, the Ludovico Ensemble. He has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, and the New York Philharmonic. A leading interpreter of new cimbalom music, he frequently performs with the International Contemporary Ensemble and Ensemble Signal, and will soon make his first appearance with the Talea Ensemble.


Inspired to study the cimbalom by György Kurtág’s music, Nicholas Tolle is deeply committed to expanding the instrument’s repertoire. He has commissioned numerous solo and chamber works, has worked with composers such as Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, and Hilda Paredes, and has had pieces written for him by Marti Epstein, John Harbison, Brad Lubman, Mischa Salkind-Pearl, Juri Seo, Andy Vores, and many others. He has presented lectures on composing for cimbalom at Princeton University, Tufts University, and the Eastman School of Music. A Tanglewood Music Center fellow in 2006 and 2007, Nicholas studied percussion at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the New England Conservatory. He is featured performing Boulez’s Repons in the EuroArts documentary Inheriting the Future of Music: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy, and in Kurtág's music for cimbalom and voice on soprano Susan Narucki's 2019 album The Edge of Silence, which was nominated for a 2020 Grammy award. His recording of Kurtág’s Seven Songs from The Edge of Silence was named one of the best classical tracks of 2019 by the New York Times.

LONG BIO

Nicholas Tolle is one of America's premiere cimbalom artists. In 2019 he won 3rd prize in the Budapest Music Center International Cimbalom Competition where he was the only finalist from North America. Since 2009 he has been the cimbalom player of the Lucerne Festival Academy, where he worked closely with Pierre Boulez on his cimbalom music, having performed Repons, Eclat, and Eclat/Multiples with the composer conducting. He also performed Repons with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Péter Eötvös in 2012, and with Steven Schick at UC San Diego in 2017. With the Boston Symphony Orchestra he has performed the music of John Harbison, Mark Anthony Turnage, György Kurtág, and Milan Bachorek, and with the New York Philharmonic he has performed the music of Kurtág and Stravinsky. He has also performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. A leading interpreter of new cimbalom music, he frequently performs with the International Contemporary Ensemble and Ensemble Signal, and will soon make his first appearance with the Talea Ensemble. He has also appeared as a soloist with Collage New Music and Orchestra 2001 performing Steve Mackey’s 5 Animated Shorts. He has performed at such festivals and concert series as Mostly Mozart, Bard SummerScape, Princeton Sound Kitchen, Tanglewood, Scrag Mountain, and the Lincoln Center Festival.

 

Originally (and still) a percussionist, Nicholas studied at the Boston Conservatory with Nancy Zeltsman, Sal Rabbio, and Pat Hollenbeck, the Conservatorium van Amsterdam with Gustavo Gimeno, Nick Woud, Jan Pustjens, and Peter Prommel, and the New England Conservatory with Frank Epstein. In 2004 he was awarded the Charlie Owen Memorial Scholarship from the Aspen Music Festival and School where he studied with Tom Stubbs and Doug Howard. He was a Tanglewood Music Center Fellow in 2006 and 2007, where he was featured as a soloist in Joan Tower’s percussion concerto Strike Zones, a performance which was lauded by the New York Times and the Albany Times Union. From 2005-2008, he studied at the Lucerne Festival Academy with Pierre Boulez and members of the Ensemble InterContemporain, and was a founding member of the Lucerne Festival Percussion Group (later EnsembleXII). In 2009 he began serving as the Academy’s cimbalomist, a position he will continue in 2020. In 2011 he was chosen as an inaugural participant in the Academy’s Spotlight Series, where he presented To Hit, a solo recital of percussion music that did not use any percussion instruments. In 2019 he served as principal timpanist of the Orchestra of the Lucerne Festival Academy Alumni under Riccardo Chailly.

 

Since 2007 he has been a member of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and has appeared on more than 50 recordings with that group on the BMOP/sound label. An in-demand freelancer in Boston, he has also performed with the Boston Pops Orchestra, A Far Cry, Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera, Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Sound Icon, and the Callithumpian Consort.

 

In 2002 at the age of 19, Nicholas founded the Ludovico Ensemble. Now in its 16th season, the group is recognized as one of Boston’s leading new music ensembles. With this group he has produced more than 100 concerts as well as the first portrait albums of composers Marti Epstein, Mischa Salkind-Pearl, and Dana Brayton.

 

Inspired to study the cimbalom by György Kurtág’s music, Nicholas Tolle is deeply committed to expanding the instrument’s repertoire. He has commissioned numerous solo and chamber works, has worked with composers such as Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, and Hilda Paredes, and has had pieces written for him by Marti Epstein, John Harbison, Brad Lubman, Mischa Salkind-Pearl, Juri Seo, Andy Vores, and many others. He has presented lectures on composing for cimbalom at Princeton University, Tufts University, UCSD, Tanglewood Music Center, Eastman School of Music, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is featured performing Boulez’s Repons in the EuroArts documentary Inheriting the Future of Music: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy, and in Kurtág's music for cimbalom and voice on soprano Susan Narucki's 2019 album The Edge of Silence, which was nominated for a 2020 Grammy award. His recording of Kurtág’s Seven Songs from The Edge of Silence was named one of the best classical tracks of 2019 by the New York Times.

SHORT BIO

 

Nicholas Tolle is one of America's premiere cimbalom artists. In 2019 he won 3rd prize in the Budapest Music Center International Cimbalom Competition. He has performed as soloist in Pierre Boulez’ Repons with the composer conducting at the Lucerne Festival in 2009, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal with Péter Eötvös in 2012, and with Steven Schick at UC San Diego in 2017. Based in Boston, MA, he plays regularly with such groups as the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Emmanuel Music, and Sound Icon, and with his own group, the Ludovico Ensemble. He has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, New York Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Ensemble Signal. He is featured performing Boulez’s Repons in the EuroArts documentary Inheriting the Future of Music: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy, and in Kurtág's music for cimbalom and voice on soprano Susan Narucki's 2019 album The Edge of Silence, which was nominated for a 2020 Grammy award. His recording of Kurtág’s Seven Songs from The Edge of Silence was named one of the best classical tracks of 2019 by the New York Times.