Nicholas Olsen

Nicholas OlsenNicholas Olsen (b.1995) is a Welsh composer. Nicholas is currently in his third year of his undergraduate degree in composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland under the tutelage of Dr. Gordon McPherson, after previously studying with Dr. Stuart MacRae. In 2015, Nicholas was awarded second prize at the International Composition Competition “Artistes en Herbe”. Two of his most recent works Numb and Delta U, received their premieres in Plug 2016. Numb was written for and premiered by the Ensemble Modern with Toby Thatcher. Delta U, a piece for violin and sinfonietta, also received its premiere in the same festival by the Composers’ Collective.


LISTEN: Delta U for Violin and Sinfonietta
The Composers’ Collective

Written for Plug 2016 at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, premiered by The Composers’ Collective at the Royal Conservatiore of Scotland, Ledger Recital Room, May 4th, 2016.

Delta U is about a power hungry violin; nothing can get in its way. It takes its name from the first law of thermodynamics, internal energy.

Delta U is based on SCP-1687. The online entry for SCP-1687 reads:

“SCP-1687 is kept in a locked violin case in secure storage at Site 19. … [it] is a violin of uncertain provenance and age. At baseline, it appears to be in a state of great disrepair, with chipped F-holes, a partial crack through the neck, and fraying sheepgut strings. When played while in this state, the quality of music is extremely poor, in keeping with the apparent condition of the instrument.

However, when played simultaneously with other musical instrument(s), it repairs itself at a rate directly correlated to the number of other instruments and the duration and quality of the musical performance. The quality of the music it produces improves simultaneously, matching the apparent state of repair of SCP-1687. When used as part of a full operatic orchestra, SCP-1687 was able to improve from baseline to world-class within 17 minutes of cumulative playing.”

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