Profile:Nicholas Werner

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Nicholas was born in Ronkonkoma, NY in 1986. His mother is a nurse and his father is a mechanical/design engineer. Both of his parents have musical inclinations: his mother a singer by hobby and his father a guitarist and semi-professional operatic tenor. He began singing in church at an early age, taught himself piano and music theory with the help of a book of Scott Joplin rags, and began composing at the age of 13. His first 10-15 compositions were all ragtime piano pieces, in the style of Joplin. His first love was not music, however. From an early age he showed aptitude for drawing, and began to dream of becoming a comic book artist and writer. Once he started composing a lot (13-14), his art fell to the wayside and has pretty much stayed there ever since.

Nicholas has been active in musical theater since age 12 or so. His most memorable roles were in high school: as Cornelius in Hello, Dolly; Bill in Kiss Me, Kate; and Curly in Oklahoma!. Since then, he has portrayed Trapper John in the play version of M.A.S.H. (2007), Robby the Stockfish in Urinetown (2007), Marcello in the Music Man (2008), and has been cast in the upcoming Company this year with the Johns Hopkins Barnstormers, as David. His first time musically directing a show was last winter, directing a one act musical comedy by a student writer called Win or Die, with the Johns Hopkins University Witness Theatre group. He hopes to continue working in musical theater mainly as a musical director and accompanist. His favorite theater composers are Stephen Sondheim, Mitch Leigh, Jason Robert Brown, and Marvin Hamlisch. He is currently writing a full-length musical with a York, PA based director, with pending opportunities for performance.


Nicholas' first premieres were in high school. His Trio for 2 violins and piano was performed by 2 good friends and the school's string orchestra director in a talent show in his senior year. His Quartet for piano, clarinet, viola and cello was premiered that summer in a library recital series. His Medley of the TV themes of Danny Elfman (included was: Batman, Beetlejuice, Tales From the Crypt, and the Simpsons) was performed by his school concert band at the end of his senior year on their pops concert, to a great reception.

After that, he spent the next year off from school, focusing on composing. He was accepted into the Peabody Conservatory later that year, based upon several pieces, only one of which still survives and has had any performances. This piece is Sing Me to Heaven, for soprano and piano, which got its first premiere on the first composer's concert at Peabody in September, 2005. The piece has gone on to be used in competitions, auditions and recitals by a now Texas-based soprano.

WORKS (all have been premiered once unless otherwise noted)

Chamber Music: Trio, for 2 violins and piano (2004) Quartet, for piano, clarinet, viola and cello (2004) String Quartet no. 2 (2005) (never premiered) op. 6, Woodwind Quintet (2006) op. 10, Kill Me With a Gun, for 2 saxophones, cello, acoustic bass and electric bass guitar (2007) op. 12, the Schecher Quintet, for brass (2008) op. 14, Wayward Variations, for flute, bassoon, harp, piano and violin (2008) op. 15, Absence, for string quartet (2008) (never premiered)

Large Ensemble: Ruler of the World, for concert band (2003) (only read-through in rehearsal) Danny Elfman TV Medley, for concert band (2004) op. 11, Sometimes I Dream, for full orchestra (2007-8) (read and recorded in rehearsal)

Solo: op. 5, Two Rags, for piano (2005-6) op. 7, Toccata, for guitar (2006) (never premiered) op. 9, Miniatures, for clarinet (2006-7)

Vocal/Choral music: op. 1, Two Psalms, for choir, duet and organ (2005) (performed 4 times) op. 2, Psalm 18, for baritone and piano (2005) op. 3, Sing Me to Heaven, for soprano and piano (2005) (performed a number of times in recital and audition) op. 4, Mass for soprano, guitar and viola (2005-6) (performed 3 times) op. 8, the Layers, for chorus and piano (2006) op. 13, One, an opera scene for 2 sopranos, vibraphone and piano (2008) (performed twice)


Nicholas is a senior composition major at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. He works as music director and organist at the Light Street Presbyterian Church in Federal Hill, MD., where he has held this position since October 2005.

He currently studies composition with Kevin Puts. Previous teachers include Bruno Amato, Nicholas Maw, Danny Deutsch, and private lessons with noted composers Chen Yi and Libby Larsen.

Currently, Nicholas is working on a number of projects, including a new piece for orchestra called 'Drift', a large chamber piece called 'Myriad', a set of Miniatures for tuba and marimba, and 'Fantasies' for trumpet and piano.