Organist, Director of Music and Lecturer, Merton College
Research interests in contemporary choral music.
Benjamin Nicholas is a former pupil of David Sanger for organ and Denise Ham for conducting. He held the organ scholarships at Chichester Cathedral, Lincoln College, Oxford and St Paul’s Cathedral before moving to Tewkesbury Abbey where he directed the Schola Cantorum. He has directed the Choir at Merton College since 2008, and in 2012 became the first full-time Organist and Director of Music at Merton.
During Benjamin’s time at Merton, the College has established the annual Passiontide at Merton festival, and in 2013 the new Dobson Organ was installed, a project with which he was closely involved. With Merton College Choir, Benjamin has toured in France, Sweden and the USA, given concerts in the Cadogan Hall and The Temple Church, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television.
As a conductor, recent performances have included Holst’s Savitri in the Cheltenham Music Festival, Mozart’s Requiem in St Germain, Paris and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Oxford Philomusica. Benjamin’s recordings are mainly on the Delphian label, and include discs of Weelkes, Mozart (Coronation Mass and Solemn Vespers), Stainer, Stanford, and Rutter. His debut disc with Merton College Choir was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice.
Benjamin Nicholas has collaborated with numerous composers, and is largely responsible for the Merton Choirbook, commissioned to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the College in 2014. Significant projects have included the first performances of Gabriel Jackson’s Passion in Oxford and New York, and the premieres of new choral works by Birtwistle, Dove, MacMillan, Saxton and Weir.