Nicholas was educated at St.Paul’s Cathedral Choir School, London and Wells Cathedral School, Somerset. His career as a musician could be said to have begun as a chorister at St.Paul’s. It was an eventful period: during his time there he sang at the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and President Kennedy’s memorial service.
He studied the clarinet with Alan Hacker at the Royal Academy of Music from 1969 to 1973 and was subsequently awarded a Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship, enabling him to further his studies in Holland and Germany with Piet Honingh (Amsterdam Concertgebouw) and Karl Leister (Berlin Philharmonic). On the fellowship he also received tuition from Hans Deinzer, Heinrich Geuser, Hans Schoneberger and Jost Michaels and met various important instrument makers including Herbert Wurlitzer, Walter Puchner and Fritz Graesel.
Since that time he has worked as a freelance musician in London, working with many orchestras and ensembles alongside studio engagements. Soundtrack recordings began for him with Edward Williams’ music for David Attenborough’s BBCTV series ‘Life on Earth’ and many of Carl Davis’ scores for television including ‘Private Schultz’ and ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. As principal clarinet of the Wren Orchestra he took part in numerous silent film performances for Carl Davis, including Abel Gance’s epic six hour ‘Napoleon’.