Gary Nicholson, music director of the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association and conductor of its top orchestra, co-founded the organization in 1980. Mr. Nicholson came to Colorado Springs in 1976 after graduating from Wichita State University, Magna cum Laude, with degrees in Music Education and Music Performance with honors. Upon arrival in Colorado Springs, Mr. Nicholson began teaching in School District 11 and playing second trumpet with the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra.
As a trumpeter, Mr. Nicholson has performed with the Aspen Music Festival, the Wichita Symphony, the Colorado Opera Festival, the Colorado College Conservatory of Music, the Colorado Springs Chorale, Music Theater of the Rockies, the Fine Arts Center Repertory Theater, the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Colorado Springs Symphony Brass Quintet and the Pikes Peak Brass Quintet. Mr. Nicholson has also performed with Abendmusik, a professional level vocal chamber ensemble. Mr. Nicholson has served as a guest conductor/clinician in Wisconsin, Kansas, Colorado, Japan, and Australia. From 1995 to 1998, he was the Music Director and Conductor of the Colorado College Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Nicholson has led Youth Symphony on tours to New York City, Washington D.C., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and China. The Youth Symphony has performed in such prestigious venues as the Mozarteum in Salzburg (2000), the Kennedy Center (2001), Carnegie Hall (2005), Sydney Opera House (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010), and Shanghai Oriental Art Center (2008). In 2000, the Youth Symphony received First Place in the Full Orchestra category at the International Youth and Music Festival in Vienna, Austria.
In addition to his work with the Youth Symphony, Mr. Nicholson teaches music at Broadmoor Elementary and Skyway Elementary in School District 12, and performs with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic. He and his wife, Donna Sheldon, have a son, Aaron, and reside in Colorado Springs with their two miniature dachshunds, Kiwi and Sydney. He enjoys skiing, reading, landscaping/gardening, hiking, camping, CC hockey, great food and going to the movies with his family.