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I moved with my wife to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the Fall of 2017, after being very active in the music and educational scene of Las Vegas for about a decade. At UNLV, I earned a dual Masters Degree with emphases in Piano studies, Music Composition and Music Theory. Having grown up in a small town in Western Maryland, living in Vegas, and now moving to the Midwest, I am excited at the prospect of applying my studies, skills and experience in this fast growing city, which has such a tremendous amount of creative potential.

In all that I do musically and pedagogically, I am a firm believer in studying the riches contained in the Classics. I also welcome new technologies as they prove helpful to me and my students along the way. This outlook has led me into a number of creative avenues which I would not have considered early in my career, such as composing for video games, and teaching courses to audio engineering students in the Media Arts Department of a private arts institute.

I encourage my students to be well-rounded in their interests and activities. My own interests encompass many areas of the humanities, as well as more technical pursuits. I myself have worked in areas as diverse as high-energy physics, oil painting, astronomy, ornithology….to name a few! There is nothing we can experience in life which can not find its expression in music.Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to drop me a note!

"We may call music the most representative of the arts,
We may call music the least representative of the arts;

...we will be correct each time if we assume the corresponding persona, or at least communicate in the appropriate domain of discourse."


~Nikolas James.

Directing the

Nevada Chamber


While a professor in Las Vegas, I founded and directed the NCO, a 501c3 group which is still active there.


Some of my greatest friends have been winged--and they have been my best teachers. They are the present moment personified, and their play is exultation in the possible itself.

....Cats look down on you, dogs will look up to you, but a bird looks at you as its equal in that moment.

Crows are very musical....despite how they may sound. (this is a cartoon I drew from my childhood)

Portrait of the Composer as the friend of a blue jay, named Stretch.

(about 20 years ago)

Esoterica and Personal Quotes

Regarding hero-worship, and hagiography:  “…in the best case, we are projecting our inner gold—something of our own which is very valuable--onto those who we see as heroic, and when that is in a system held healthily, we should make them our colleagues as quickly as possible. Any system is bound to be flawed, though, and some may choose to admire someone who does nothing but manipulate a system to the dissipation of other persons. It might require a transcendence of sorts to clearly recognize the difference, as the energies of the two scenarios resemble each other.”


---Nikolas James.


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"We may call music the most representative of the arts,We may call music the least representative of the arts;We will be correct each time if we assume the corresponding persona, or at least communicate in the appropriate domain of discourse."


       ---Nikolas James.

"Why should I be accused of being a sycophantic, opportunistic capitalist?---someone asks me 'what is your compositional style?' The natural response this day and age should be 'Whatever it needs to be,' and there is nothing to be ashamed of in that. If one can look at a cloud and see a face, or look at the same cloud again and see vector quantities—why not as easily write as a Chopin of today, or even as an Iannis Xenakis, of the same ideas?"


       ---Nikolas James.

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>>>Interval vectors within a combinatorial note row, which ended up looking like a Disney villainess. 

(Note: graph paper is purposefully crooked to set off your OCD

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“The good writing life, as is the case with every good life, so called, involves a ‘going toward’---one must have specifically an inward mobility, and time to cycle things around and look at them with different personalities at every pass, and internalize their perceptions; then having enough slender threads tethering so as not to de-materialize... In realizing the idea, however, there is sometimes value in having ‘not quite enough time…’…which might forever be the artist’s disposition, for no poem can ever be finished—it can only be abandoned.”


       ---Nikolas James, (owing a debt to                         Jordan Peterson and W.H. Auden)

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