Simon Nicholls studied at the Royal College of Music, London, under John Barstow and Kendall Taylor, winning many awards. He attended masterclasses given by Paul Badura-Skoda in Germany, and has played in many venues in Britain as well as Europe, Africa, India and America, both on the modern instrument and on period pianos.

He was appointed to the staff of Birmingham School of Music, as it then was known, in 1974 and worked there for two years, after which he taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School for ten years, working closely with Louis Kentner and Vlado Perlemuter. During this period Hans Keller was coaching chamber music at the Menuhin School, and this was also a significant influence. Simon Nicholls was subsequently a professor at the Royal College of Music for twenty years, and his work there included teaching the piano, the fortepiano, accompaniment and chamber music, originating a new practical course in keyboard skills and improvisation, and helping to run the M. Mus. course. In 2000 he returned to Birmingham Conservatoire, teaching piano, accompaniment, chamber music and coaching singers. He retired from the Conservatoire, of which he is an Honorary Fellow, in 2015.

He has taught at many summer schools in York, Hereford, Hindhead and Dartington and in France, and given masterclasses at venues from Dartmouth College, Hanover, New England USA to the Skryabin Memorial Museum, Moscow.

He is a pianist and teacher of international experience, who has undertaken a special study of the music and thought of Alexander Skryabin and given many Skryabin recitals and lecture-recitals. He has made many research visits to Moscow, discussing the music with Russian experts and examining original sources in the Skryabin Museum, the Taneyev Research Library of the Tchaikovsky Conservatoire and the Glinka Museum. His writings on this subject have been published in England, Russia and America, and his annotated translation with Michael Pushkin of Skryabin’s notebooks and other writings is in preparation for publication.

Simon Nicholls now concentrates on performance, private teaching and coaching, research and writing. He can be contacted by email:

nicholls234@btinternet.com