Pianist / Composer
Bryan Nichols is a pianist, composer, and educator based in Minneapolis. Often found playing jazz and improvised music, but at home in a variety of musical worlds, he leads and composes for his own trio, quintet, and nonet in addition to performing, recording, and touring with forward-thinking artists like Nicole Mitchell, Ron Miles, and Olga Bell, and groups like the Gang Font, Dead Man Winter, and Halloween, Alaska. He has taught jazz piano at MacPhail Center for Music, University of Minnesota – Morris, and University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, while presenting clinics and masterclasses at a variety of colleges and high schools around the midwest.
Bryan was awarded a 2010-11 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians, a prestigious and competitive award given to Minnesota musicians. His work also earned him a 2004 residency from Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, given to outstanding, emerging jazz performer/composers, and a 2009 subito grant from the American Composers Forum. In May 2011 Bryan released his debut recording as a leader, Bright Places, containing nine original compositions for his quintet. The Star Tribune called the album “fresh and first-rate” and it landed on multiple best-of-year lists. In September 2011, he had the honor of performing as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra for the world premiere of a Stephen Paulus' concerto for jazz quintet and orchestra.
Bryan has performed at most music venues in the Twin Cities and Chicago (where he lived from 2001-2005,) in addition to international festivals including Sons d’Hiver (Paris, France) and Kerava Jazz Festival (Kerava, Finland) and local and regional festivals including the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Minnesota Sur Seine Festival. He's been a regular performer on series like SPCO's Liquid Music, and Orchestra Hall's Atrium Jazz Series. Bryan appears on recent recordings by Zacc Harris, MANCRUSH, Molly Dean, Dead Man Winter, Gang Font, Kelly Rossum, and many more. His new album, a solo piano endeavor entitled Looking North, will be out in May 2016 on Shifting Paradigm Records.