Nicholas Tolle is one of North America's premiere cimbalom artists. In 2017 he will appear as a soloist with Steven Schick and musicians from UCSD performing Pierre Boulez' Repons and will also present the complete solo and small ensemble cimbalom works of György Kurtág at Tufts University. In August he will make his ninth visit to the Lucerne Festival to perform the works of Kurtág and Heinz Holliger. He has recently performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, the New York Philharmonic, and the International Contemporary Ensemble.
In 2012 he was a soloist with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal performing Pierre Boulez’ Repons, which he also performed with the composer conducting at the Lucerne Festival in 2009. 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, locally he can be seen regularly with such groups as the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Callithumpian Consort, and Sound Icon. He is also a frequent collaborator with Ensemble Signal. He is the founder and artistic director of the Ludovico Ensemble, and is the sole proprietor of Boston Percussion Rentals, New England's largest percussion rental company.
Originally (and still) a percussionist, he began learning cimbalom in 2008 after being inspired by the music of György Kurtág. He is deeply committed to expanding the repertoire for cimbalom and has commissioned numerous solo and chamber works for the instrument. He has worked closely with many of the leading composers of the 21st century, including Louis Andriessen, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, and Hilda Paredes, and has had works written for him by Marti Epstein, John Harbison, Brad Lubman, Mischa Salkind-Pearl, Juri Seo, Andy Vores, and many others. He has also presented lectures on composing for cimbalom at Princeton University, Tufts University, the Eastman School of Music, and the Tanglewood Music Center.
Nicholas was a Tanglewood Music Center fellow in 2006 and 2007 and has spent eight summers in residency at the Lucerne Festival Academy. He attended the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and the New England Conservatory. Nicholas’ performance of Repons is featured in the Euroarts documentary Inheriting the Future of Music: Pierre Boulez and the Lucerne Festival Academy.