Originally from Michigan, Nicolas has spent the last ten years building connections and performing throughout the United States. He strives to expand the audience for the saxophone and contemporary music. Active as a performer, teacher, and scholar, Nicolas explores a wide range of musical genres, stretching from classical music, to jazz, pop, and punk. His recent performance projects include Trio Spiritus, a collaboration with Zak Pischnotte and Fanny Po Sim Head, the solo electroacoustic works of Jean-Claude Risset, a French researcher and composer, and E.N.F., a new music ensemble based in Lawrence, Kansas. In North Carolina, he can be heard performing with the jazz trio, New Morning. As an orchestral saxophonist, Nicolas has performed in the Kansas City Symphony and the Brevard Sinfonia.
Nicolas resides in Garner, NC, where he teaches saxophone, clarinet, and piano throughout the Research Triangle. At five years old, he began his musical education at the piano with his mother, Gail Lytle Lira. He was fortunate to continue studies at the keyboard until age 21 with Minsoo Sohn and Dr. Derek Polischuk at Michigan State University. Nicolas’ past saxophone teachers include Joe Lulloff, Taimur Sullivan, Zach Shemon. He received his DMA degree in saxophone performance and MM degree in music theory from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Nicolas’ recent scholarly work in music theory analyzes the influence Hardanger folk music on Edward Grieg’s piano work Slåtter, op.72. He has also written about Jean-Claude Risset’s works for saxophone and fixed media. He regularly appears at conferences in the USA to perform and share his research.