Nicholas Cox

Senior Tutor in Clarinet

MA, SolDip (Musikhochschule Hannover)

Email: [email protected]

  • Clarinet Teaching and oversight of students and staff
  • Supervision and Planning of Clarinet Syllabus and Classes
  • Liaising with Head of SWBP
  • Examining/Auditioning
  • Conducting Wind Groups and Sectionals
  • Research and visits to foreign conservatoires 

Since leaving the the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, Nicholas has been much in demand as a guest principal with most of the UK’s major orchestras including the Philharmonia, Academy of St Martin’s, London Sinfonietta, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Royal Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Hallé, and all BBC Orchestras. During his 22 years as Principal in the RLPO he also founded the Contemporary Music Group Ensemble 10/10 and revived the chamber music series in Liverpool, as well as performing concertos by Copland, Weber, Nielsen, Bruch, Richard Strauss and Mozart. He also held the position of Principal Clarinet of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra from 1991 until its dissolution in 2019. As a soloist, has appeared at venues including the Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, and at the Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Brighton and Huddersfield Festivals.

Nicholas’ performing career is also matched by a teaching record of distinction. An RNCM Tutor for 25 years, many of his former pupils now hold positions in professional orchestras. In 2006, his Junior RNCM student, Mark Simpson, became the first person to win both the BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Composer of the Year Awards. In addition to his RNCM commitments, Nicholas also gives masterclasses worldwide, including the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Poland, Finland and China and has served on the juries of several international competitions.

In 2020 he moved to Zagreb, Croatia and now returns regularly to the UK to play professionally and teach at RNCM. In 2022 he will take up the position of Clarinet Professor at Szechenyi Istvan University in Győr, Hungary.

Nicholas’ recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Quintet (ClassCD 1502) was released in 2003 and immediately became Classic FM’s CD of the Week, subsequently becoming one of the station’s most frequently broadcast versions of this work. Other recordings include Strauss Duett-Concertino, Brahms and Reger Sonatas, the Bliss Quintet and a well-received disc of English repertoire entitled the Thurston Connection (Naxos).

Nicholas’ research and editorial work includes realisations/editions of the Clarinet Sonatas by the French classical composers Francois Devienne and Jean Xavier Lefèvre for EditionHH, editions of the clarinet Works of Mieczyslaw Weinberg for PeerMusic, and the late works of Iain Hamilton for QTPublications. During lockdown he worked on a four volume edition of the 12 Sonatas by Lefèvre for EditionHH and has collaborated with the clarinettist/composer Roger Purcell writing the piano parts for a set of teaching pieces and a Jazz Suite to be published in 2022 by Emerson Music.

Nicholas studied music at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and clarinet with Hans Deinzer in Hanover on a German Government Scholarship and at the Aspen Music School on an English Speaking Union Scholarship. He won the Gold Medal at the 1984 Royal Over-Seas League Competition and Second Prize at the 1987 Jeunesses Musicales International Clarinet Competition in Belgrade.

Personal Website

Current and Future Research

 

An enthusiastic advocate of new music for the clarinet, Nicholas gave the world première of the Clarinet Concerto by Adam Gorb (Head of Composition at RNCM) in 1999.

Other composers who have written new works for him include Hugh Wood, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Jonathan Lloyd, Andrei Eshpai, Alan Ridout, Peter Fribbins, Matilda Brown, David Horne and Francis Routh. In 2007 he gave the premières of works by David Horne with Ensemble 10/10 and a Clarinet Quintet by Hugh Wood commissioned by the Rodewald Society.

 

In 2010 he gave the premiere of Dove of Peace by the Catalan Composer Benet Casablancas with Ensemble 10/10. In 2012 he gave the first performances of Emily Howard’s Clarinet Quintet with the Danel Quartet in Liverpool and Manchester. In March 2013 he gave the premiere a new Clarinet Sonata by Anthony Powers at the York Late Festival. In 2015 he gave the first erformance of Three Pieces for solo clarinet by Stephen Pratt. In 2016 he premiered the Clarinet Trio (Cl Vn Pno) by Adam Gorb.

 

He has been a clarinet design consultant for Yamaha for several years and plays on Yamaha CSGH clarinets. He has also worked with Yuan Gao’s Royal Company and Heinz Viotto Mouthpieces.

 

His editions of Clarinet Sonatas by Francois Devienne have been published by Edition HH, which were included by the Associated Board its Grade exams. His complete edition of realisations of the Sonatas from the Methode of 1804 by Jean Xavier Lefèvre was published by Edition HH in 2022. His collaboration with clarinetist/composer and RNCM alumnus Roger Purcell has so far produced a teaching book of Homages to be published in 2022 by Emerson Edition and they are working on a Jazz Suite and set of Latin teaching pieces. 

 

He has also worked on editions of two works by Mieczyslaw Weinberg for Peermusic Hamburg and works by Iain Hamilton and Alan Ridout for QT Publications.

 

A tribute to his teacher Hans Deinzer was published in Rohrblatt Magazine in April 2012 under the title Eine Begegnung mit Hans Deinzer: Würdigung eines grossen Musikers und Lehrers. It also appeared in the International Clarinet Association Magazine the Clarinet in June 2013 in English. Nicholas has also contributed to the literature about the clarinet in articles and reviews for Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine and in the Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet(edited by Colin Lawson: CUP 1995).

 

Recent research has included the final works of Scottish composer Iain Hamilton, editing works by Roger Fiske prior to recording, textual issues in the Sonata of Arnold Bax, the development and history of works for solo clarinet since 1900 and performance practice issues in Brahms and Schumann.

He is also a qualified teacher of English as a Foreign Language having completed a CELTA course in September 2016.

 

 

Undergraduate Teaching

Clarinet teaching and Classes
Organising Visiting Teachers
Examining and reviewing syllabus

Postgraduate Teaching

Clarinet teaching and Classes
Organising Visiting Teachers
Examining and reviewing syllabus

Professional Activity

Nicholas Cox – Clarinet – Solo-Discography

  • Brahms Sonata Op 120 No 1 and Reger Sonata Op 107: Vanessa Latarche piano (UNITED 88012, April 1994). Included on Classic FM CD of ‘Great Wind Music’

  • Bliss, Rawsthorne and Routh Clarinet Quintets Redcliffe Ensemble (REDCLIFFE 010, January 1996)

  • Mozart (Concerto, Quintet, Adagio K 580a) , Roy Goodman: RLPO Live (CLASSCD 1502 May 2003 – CD of the week on Classic FM)

  • Richard Strauss Duet Concertino, Gerard Schwarz (AVIE AV2071 May 2006)

  • Humphrey Proctor Gregg Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Ian Buckle piano (DUTTON CDLX 7165 May 2006)

  • The Thurston Connection Works by Arnold Bax, Roger Fiske, Iain Hamilton, Richard Rodney Bennett, Hugh Wood: Ian Buckle Piano (BMS 440 January 2012)

Review of the Thurston Collection

YouTube links:

Benet Casablancas The Making of Dove of Peace

Dove of Peace Part 1 Homage to Picasso

Dove of Peace Part 2 Homage to Picasso

Masterclasses:

Tokyo, Yatsugatake, Osaka, Japan (1991), Dartington Summer School (1993), RCM, RNCM Birmingham Conservatoire, Kneller Hall(1994), Singapore(1994), RCM(1997), Valencia (2001), Bradford (2002), Liverpool Hope Clarinet School (2003), Harrogate (2004-5), Caernarfon (2006), Cambridge (2007), RNCM (2008), Porto (2009), Zurich (2010/14), Madrid (2011), Central Conservatory Beijing (2012), Manchester (2013-14), Trinity Laban (2013), Univ of Louisville, CSU Northridge, Colburn School, CSU Long Beach, CSU Sonoma (USA 2014), Northwestern University, De Paul University Chicago, UCSD, UCSB California (2015), Musica Reggiolo Italy (2014-15), Konservatorium Utrecht, Conservatorio Seville(2014), Virovitica Course Croatia(2015-16), Agaete Clarinet Course Gran Canaria (2015), Zagreb Academy of Music, Graz Kunst Universität, Slovenian Woodwind Master Class Domzale, University of Maribor, University of Györ, Hungary, University of Cardiff(2016), Academy Lodz Poland, Chopin University Warsaw(2015-16), Italian Clarinet University, Camerino (2015-17), Vietri sul Mare Course Italy (2017), Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, St Mary’s Edinburgh (2016), Musikhochschule Hannover & Mannheim (2017).

Commissions and Premières include solo works by:

Hugh Wood(1985 & 2007), Michael Jarrell, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Jonathan Lloyd, Peter Fribbins, Alan Ridout, Edison Denisov, Andrej Eshpai, Yuri Kasparov, Adam Gorb Concerto (1999), Francis Routh (2003), David Horne (2007 & 09), Ian Percy and Matthew Fairclough(with electronics 2007), Nico Muhly(2007), Benet Casablancas Dove of Peace – Concerto (2010), Edward Gregson(2009), Emily Howard(2006 & 2012) Anthony Powers(2013) Iain Hamilton (2000), Stephen Pratt (2015), Adam Gorb (2016)

Work as Promoter/Administrator

  • Artistic Advisor Rodewald Concert Society(Liverpool Chamber Music) 1998-2011 reponsibility for reviving this society, artistic planning, admin, marketing, programme notes, accounts, fundraising more than £30K

  • Ensemble 10/10 Founder/Administrator 1997- 2003 (Liverpool’s new music ensemble), awarded 4 ACE Grants 1998 – 2004: fundraising ca. £100K

  • RLPS Board member 1993-4, 2003-09, Orchestral Planning Group 1997-9, Chair of New Music Research Group 1997-9 

Articles/Papers/Publications/Editions:

  • ‘Hugh Wood’s Paraphrase’ (CASS 1987)

  • Madrid European Clarinet Association Festival Review(CASS 2012)

  • ‘Meeting Hans Deinzer: an appreciation of a great musician & teacher’ (Rohrblatt ICA 2012)

  • ‘The Professional Clarinettist” ‘Cambridge Companion to Clarinet’ (Ed. C. Lawson,CUP,1995)

  • Francois Devienne(1759-1803) Six Sonatas for Clarinet (realised/edited, Edition HH,October 07-13 : C minor in Grade VIII Associated Board Syllabus 2007-2012)

  • Mieczyslaw Weinberg Kammersinfonie Nr.4 (edited/notated, Peer Music Hamburg 2009)

  • Richard Rodney Bennett Duo Concertante (edited/notated, Novello 2010)

  • Iain Hamilton ‘The Wild Garden’ (edited/notated, Queen’s Temple Publications 2013)

  • Roger Fiske Sonata  and Sonatina for Clarinet (2nd Editions Rosewood Publications)
  • Arnold Bax Movements for a Clarinet Sonata 1901 (planned for Lazarus Edition, 2015) 

Critical Reviews:

truly lovely playing Stephen Johnson The Independent

Superb playing The Gramophone

What became increasingly – and ever more enthrallingly apparent as the recital unfolded was that the clarinettist Nicholas Cox and his pianist Vanessa Latarche not only have catholic tastes but also possess the technical accomplishment, stylistic insight and interpretative discernment…both artists bring to their performance an assured and deeply engrained musicality…Their playing was marked by close rapport and an ideal balance of temperaments, each musician as acute as the other in entering instantly and thoroughly into the composer’s individual worlds of sound.

An exhilarating evening and a duo to watch.

Geoffrey Norris Daily Telegraph 1984

The ideal Mozart experience lay in Nicholas Cox’s playing of the Clarinet Concerto on the darker-toned basset clarinet. The result was exquisite and as good as anything in the present recording catalogue. Wonderful, mellifluous, apparently effortless playing of the type an audience can dream of, but so rarely gets to such a degree. A combination of perfect intonation and phrasing to make the spine tingle.

Joe Riley Liverpool Echo 1998

A fusion of the art of the entertainer with the skill of th deeply serious musician…Nicholas Cox’s imaginative musicianship is revealed in unusually close focussed and widely modulated breath control: it can draw from the clarinet a near percussive tension for Debussy’s Premiere Rhapsodie, or create a remarkable resilience of line in Weber’s Grand Duo Concertante.

Hilary Finch The Times 1984

Any woodwind player who can sing through his instrument as though it represents an extension of his musical personality is clearly one of some consequence. Nicholas Cox can and is.

Robert Cockcroft Yorkshire Post 1986

Quite why the Bliss Quintet should have received only two recordings in recent years is something of a mystery to me, as the quality of this lovely rhapsodic work is extremely high indeed. The intricately spun melodies of the first movement are here beautifully rendered by Nicholas Cox and the Redcliffe Ensemble and the elegiac slow movement is most movingly delivered too.

Alan Rawsthorne’s most astringent Clarinet Quartet of 1946 strikes me as very fine and a worthwhile discovery also. Although it displays a clear debt to Viennese serialism its lyrical qualities are exceptionally strong and it is by no means an unapproachable piece. Francis Routh’s five movement Clarinet Quintet was composed in 1994, but in a stylistic sense could easily be contemporary with or even earlier than, the Rawsthorne. Nevertheless, it is a pleasant and finely crafted work which here receives a spirited reading from its dedicatee, Nicholas Cox. The recorded sound is very natural indeed.

The Gramophone: November 1996

The work is dedicated to Nicholas Cox who could do all the klezmer styles to perfection and surmounted the terrifying technical demands with ease.

John Fuest reviewing Adam Gorb’s Clarinet Concerto

Clarinet and Saxophone Magazine Winter 1999

One of the most beautiful and musically satisfying experiences of the festival was Nicholas Cox’s recital on Wednesday morning. His vocal approach and elegant sense of style was displayed in a program that included his own realisation of one movement from a Sonata by Devienne; an unaccompanied work called Phantoms by David Horne, which included subtle circular breathing; a delicate and beautiful interpretation of the Debussy Rhapsodie; Sir Richard Rodney Bennett’s haunting Ballade in Memory of Shirley Horn; and the clever Tributes to Messaien and Poulenc by Edward Gregson…wonderful musicmaking.

Jane Ellsworth The Clarinet Dec 2009: Review of International ClarinetFest in Porto