Caroline Nicolas

Cellist & Gambist
Caroline Nicolas
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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 young musicians “who appear likely to make significant contributions to 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 KING FM in Washington, KUHF in Texas, WDIY in Pennsylvania, and CCTV in China.

A dedicated educator, Caroline is often invited by early music organizations to lecture on various topics in historical performance practice, from Renaissance improvisation to bow technique. She has taught at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Victoria and at the University of Washington School of Music. This year, she has also been appointed Music Director of the New Baroque Orchestra, where she will be leading programs that explore the musical life of the radical intellectual, Christina, Queen of Sweden. Caroline’s 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.

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