Acclaimed cellist/gambist Caroline Nicolas enjoys an active and multifaceted career as one of the outstanding performers of music from the Renaissance to the Romantic eras. She regularly appears with leading ensembles as a soloist, chamber musician, and music director and has collaborated with such eminent musicians as Andrea Marcon, Amandine Beyer, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Jordi Savall, William Christie, Rachel Podger, Harry Bicket, and Stephen Stubbs. Noted for her “eloquent artistry and rich, vibrant sound” (Gainesville Times), she has been praised for her ability to combine emotionally rich interpretations with a historically inquisitive spirit.
Awards include having been selected as a Fellow of The English Concert in America, given to outstanding young musicians in the field of early music. As the winner of The Juilliard School’s Historical Performance concerto competition, she made her solo debut in Alice Tully Hall, New York City. Ensembles she has worked with include Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Mercury Baroque Orchestra, Ars Lyrica, Juilliard Baroque, Kammerorchester Basel and Sinfonieorchester Liechtenstein. Festival appearances include the Boston Early Music Festival, Bach Festival Leipzig, and Styriarte Festival in Austria. Her performances have been broadcast on KUHF in Texas, WDIY in Pennsylvania, and CCTV in China.
For the 2019–2020 season, Nicolas looks forward to debut collaborations with the New World Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas) and the Seattle Baroque Orchestra (Alexander Weimann), and return performances with Pacific MusicWorks (Stephen Stubbs), Victoria Baroque (Jeanne Lamon), and The English Concert in America. She will embark on a variety of tours with programs ranging from English broken consort pieces to sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert.
A dedicated educator, Nicolas is often invited to lecture on various topics in historical performance practice, from Renaissance improvisation to bow technique. In 2019 she was appointed Music Director of the New Baroque Orchestra, where she will lead programs that explore the musical life of the radical intellectual Christina, Queen of Sweden. Nicolas’ commitment to bringing classical music to the community has led her to curate a wide range of programs for elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and bars. She has also assisted in developing school music curriculum for children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
A native of Winnipeg, Canada, Caroline was first introduced to the cello by her mother, an elementary school music teacher. After falling in love with the expressive possibilities of gut strings, she studied with Phoebe Carrai at The Juilliard School and Christophe Coin and Paolo Pandolfo at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. She lives in Seattle with her husband, lutenist Kevin Payne, where she serves on the board of Pacific Northwest Viols.