D. Riley Nicholson


D. Riley Nicholson has composed for a wide range of ensembles and performance venues including music for contemporary ballet, theater, orchestral music, chamber music, and vocal music. Riley feels comfortable writing for electric guitar one day, and string quartet the next; his music can be described as metaphorically rich, innovative, and relatable, but never stuffy or overly intellectual. 

Fascinated and committed to working with artists outside of music as well as within, past collaborations include original music for Ballet Memphis's Cecily Khuner, Three Penny Theater, Cello Street Quartet, SFCM New Music ensemble, Balmoral Chamber Orchestra, Ensemble Roar, Hot Air Music Festival, San Francisco Conservatory of Music Percussion Ensemble, University of Memphis Percussion Ensemble and many other talented artists. 

Riley is the two time recipient of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Professional Development grant in Fall and Spring of 2015, and is the recipient of the Horizons Foundation grant in support of his work One, for large string orchestra, which will headline Hot Air Music Festival on March 6th, 2016.

Riley has a B.M. in percussion performance and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Memphis. Currently Riley is studying with David Garner, pursuing his Masters in Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory.  Previously, Riley has studied with Mason Bates, Ryan Brown, and Kamran Ince.

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