A French composer born July 17, 1947 in La Bourboule.
A pianist and organist by training, François Nicolas, with a diploma from the École Polytechnique, chose the path of composition after meeting the American composer Robert Carl. Then an unregistered student at the Paris Conservatory, he notably followed the classes of Michel Philippot, and completed his piano studies with Carlos Roque Alsina. He attended the summer academies of Acanthes, Darmstadt and Ircam, where he met Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio and Brian Ferneyhough.
He then joined the research teams of Ircam and worked on the physical models and the acoustics of concert halls, thus contributing to the development of the Modalys software and of Timée (a system for the musical projection of electroacoustic sounds).
François Nicolas has composed mainly works for small groupings: Passage II (1984) for 3 flutes, first performed at Darmstadt; Pourtant si proche (1994) for 2 pianos, first performed at the Maison de la Radio; Dans la distance (1994) for mezzo-soprano, baritone and ensemble, premiered by the Ensemble Intercontemporain; Duelle (2001) for violin, piano, mezzo-soprano and Timée, commissioned by the French State, first performed at Ircam’s Agora festival; Instress (2007) for flute, violin, viola, cello and piano, premiered by the ensemble Calliopée; Ricercare hétérophonique (2017) for 12 strings and piano.
Co-founder of the periodical Entretemps, he is the author of articles and books notably on serialism, metric modulations, the notion of concert, the relationship of music and mathematics, and the composers Arnold Schönberg, Jean Barraqué, Franco Donatoni, Brian Ferneyhough, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Anton Webern, Michel Philippot and Iannis Xenakis. The holder of a DEA in philosophy, a disciple of the philosopher Alain Badiou, he co-directs at Ircam the Mamuphi seminar (Mathematics-music-philosophy); he has also taught at the École Normale Supérieure of Paris before becoming an associate researcher.