Born and raised in Bristol, UK, Nigel's early experience on the recorder, piano, trumpet, and clarinet helped him to develop the versatility necessary for an aspiring composer. But saxophone was his first love, and after a prize-winning undergraduate career at Birmingham Conservatoire, during which he established the group Saxtet, he went on to become one of its first specialist professors of saxophone.
A three-year scholarship award as 'Young Musician of the Midlands' by BRMB (Birmingham Radio) also allowed him to pursue a performing career, when he played with many prestigious organizations including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Radio and Concert Orchestras, Birmingham Touring Opera, Moscow State Circus, plus various pop and jazz ensembles.
Saxtet soon emerged as his primary musical interest, and its colourful overseas tours and voracious appetite for busking material inspired (and required!) him to compose at a phenomenal rate. Although many of these works are now performed and broadcast worldwide, early attempts to find a publisher were discouraging, so, despite a plethora of well-intentioned advice not to do so, with the help of colleagues, friends and family, Nigel established Saxtet Publications.
Its primary objective was to develop and promote new music for the saxophone and it was a concept that was exactly right for the times; its popularity grew at first steadily, then faster, its titles were included on exam syllabuses and it became increasingly well known internationally. Its demands left him with little time for composing or performing until the creative fuse was rekindled in 2002, when he established the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain.
Again, Nigel was inspired and required to write for the choir (there is no existing repertoire for an ensemble this size, with its unique line-up). Faced with 40 saxophonists enjoying themselves, he could not resist the temptation to join them so he is now playing again, this time round on the minute soprillo, the tiniest of saxes. He combines his role as soprillo soloist with those of musical director and conductor of the choir.
Nigel sometimes refers to his career as circular, but he is most definitely not back were he started, his musical life-history revealing the creative interdependency of the performing, composing and publishing worlds.