Nick Calligeros is an improvising trumpeter, sound artist and educator from Sydney, Australia working at the intersection of jazz, exploratory music and electronic music.
Whether it be through his work as an improvising trumpeter or in his sample-based electronics, Nick’s work explores the magical properties of texture and timbre to produce music imbued with mood and meaning, in the hope of cleansing and uplifting audiences.
Nick leads his (new) subversive electro-acoustic quintet Soft Spot and co-leads forward-thinking improvising collective Microfiche, who toured Europe in 2019, including a performance at Copenhagen Jazz Festival. He has collaborated with some of Australia’s most acclaimed jazz and improvising artists including Chris Abrahams (The Necks), Phil Slater (Band of Five Names), Adrian Lim-Klumpes (Triosk), Sia Ahmad, Jonathan Zwartz and Freyja Garbett and groups such Tangents, Funk Engine and new-music group Alaska Orchestra with whom he performed a reimagining of Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Airport’ for Vivid Festival 2018, at the Sydney Opera House. Nick has also played and recorded for an eclectic range of popular music acts including indie rockers Middle Kids, singer-songwriter Kim Churchill, producer Billy Fox, rappers Kid Mac and Horrow Show, vocal group The Maes, pop-brass group Hot Potato Band and Aussie reggae outfit Black Bird Hum.
Outside of the trumpet, Nick composes experimental ambient electronic music. In 2019 he released an E.P entitled ‘In Bloom, In Blend’ – a collection of distinctive mood-driven sound collages built from everyday sounds. He has also contributed his unique textures to live improvised performances including with Adrian Lim-Klumpes (Triosk/Tangents) as well as a forthcoming album under the name ‘We Will Intersect’ due 2021.
Nick completed a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance in 2015 from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where during his study he was mentored by Australian improvising legends Phil Slater, Simon Barker and Mike Nock. In 2015 Nick toured and recorded the U.S with Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra and featured artist James Muller. He spent the ensuing three months on a musical pilgrimage through the U.S.
Since graduating, Nick has continued his study of the trumpet with Australia’s greatest brass practitioners including Scott Tinkler, David Elton (SSO/LSO) and Yoram Levy (TSO). He was also a participant at the 2016 Australia Art Orchestra Creative Music Intense in Tasmania where he worked with a number of national and international guests.
In 2020 undertook an Australian Art Orchestra mentorship with prolific composer and pianist Andrea Keller. Other recent accolades include being recipient of APRAAMCOS’s Creative Fund and CreateNSW Quick Response Grant.
Nick has recently returned to the Sydney Conservatorium as a Masters research candidate, developing an original practice-led study under the supervision of mentor Phil Slater. This study has been kindly supported the Kathleen E. Armstrong Bequest Scholarship.
As a composer, Nick has written for a variety of styles ranging from art music to brass band music. In 2015, under the guidance of the inimitable Sandy Evans, Nick composed an hour suite of music re-imagining the soundtrack from Studio Ghibli’s “Princess Mononoke” for a hybrid classical chamber and jazz octet. Excerpts from this suite can be heard on Soundcloud.
Nick is also a passionate music educator, working as an in-house peripatetic trumpet tutor at a number of high schools where he passes on his love for brass playing. He also directs a number jazz bands, aiming to inspire a new generation of young improvisers.
Nick’s creative output extends to the written word, running a blog at nickcalligeros.com where he publishes art, essays on music, resources and more.
After two years untouched, I return! For the moment the original ’13 blurb left below will provide a sound biography for those interested. Since it’s writing I have graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium and recently returned from a tour of the States with the Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra, featuring an extended post-tour jaunt/musical pilgrimage across the land of the free/home of the jazz.
Although two years isn’t such a long time in the scheme of many grand things, a multitude of moments and experiences sit between my initial internet foray and now. Rereading earlier posts, I’ve been left equal parts disturbed and amazed. I definitely do not align with all I wrote two years ago. As cringe worthy as some of the articles may be to both of us, it’s in many ways a treat for me to have such a tangible marker of growth- although some culling may still be in order. I hope in another two years I look back on the coming posts of 2016 with an even heavier cringe!
As so much as a promotional tool, this particular ‘fold’ of the internet will fore-mostly continue to casually house my thoughts, opinions and work. Although many things have changed in two years, my goal of being a creative artist (whatever that really means) persists. This is a journey to better understand myself, my instrument and the world (and beyond) around me in the hope of creating something meaningful.
Hey, I’m Nick. People call me Cagla. Im a jazz trumpet player from Sydney. I’m passionate about improvised music.
I’ve been blessed to have grown up in South-East Sydney, around the St George/Sutherland Shire area. I started music like most, in the final years of primary school. I was lucky enough to attend Caringbah High where quite late in the scheme of things, I found jazz and improvising through mentor and now good friend Adrian Lim-Klumpes. These days I attend the Conservatorium of Music, Sydney as a second year jazz major.
I now study under some of the best jazz /improvising musicians in the Southern Hemisphere, including the Kimnara guys [Phil Slater, Matt McMahon and Simon Barker] who are by anyones account some of the most phenomenal musicians on the planet, not to mention my favourite musicians, ever.
I really love Australian improvised music. Whether it’s from Sydney labels Kimnara, Jazzgroove and Birdland or Melbourne’s labels of Jazzhead and Rufus, Australian improvised ensembles are world class. I can’t stress how much you’d be doing yourself a favour to check out those labels if you haven’t already.
In terms of taste, I play everything from trad to avant garde. I’ve played in strut bands, big bands, ska bands, funk bands, free ensembles and on hip-hop dates to jazz festivals to cocktail parties. If im not playing music i’m teaching it around Southern Sydney, something I’m passionate about. Otherwise you’ll catch me in the surf or sipping on a really well extracted espresso.
This space is a way to share my ideas and opinions-and hopefully in due time the ideas and opinions of my friends. But deeper than that, it’s a sort of symbol of my journey from a tertiary music student to professional musician; where one day I get to add a gig calendar and media bay and so forth. Whether or not it all comes to fruition, who knows. I’m taking it all one day at a time for now. But it’s not too shabby a journey to be on, hey.