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 Abbey School Choir and oversaw its transformation into Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum of Dean Close Preparatory School. He has directed the Choir at Merton College, Oxford since 2008, and in 2012 became the first full-time Reed Rubin 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. He made the instrument’s first solo recording (The Merton Organ, DCD34142) in 2014, and a disc of Elgar organ works (DCD34162) was released April 2016.
With Merton College Choir, Benjamin has toured internationally, given concerts in the Cadogan Hall and the Temple Church, and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television. As the founding director of Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum he recorded extensively for Delphian, including discs of Weelkes, Mozart, Stanford and Rutter. Other recent performances as a conductor have included Holst’s Savitri in the Cheltenham Music Festival, Mozart’s Requiem in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Oxford Philomusica. Benjamin Nicholas has collaborated with numerous composers, and is partly 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 The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ in Oxford and New York, and the premieres of new choral works by Birtwistle, Dove, MacMillan, Saxton and Weir.