Nicholas Scarim



Nicholas Scarim grew up in the Chicago area. He was a late starter in music at the age of 12, but by 18 he was studying theory and improvisation with legendary jazz saxophonist Joe Daly and jazz piano with Jack Hubal. After entering the conservatory he became intensely involved with classical music, gradually drifting away from jazz. After moving to New York City in 1977, he began writing solo, chamber and orchestral music, three operas and a ballet – all before the end of 1980. In the early 80s, he was a pioneer in writing music theory software for personal computers such as the TRS80, Commodore64 and Atari800. Contacts in the computer world led to his writing scores for some of the biggest selling computer games in those early years of personal computers, such as Spy vs Spy and Boulderdash. By 1985 he had “retired” from the computer industry and returned full–time to music and teaching.

In the late 80s and 1990s he produced several large scale chamber works such as his Piano Quintet, and completed his Serenade for Guitar and Orchestra, as well as his first and second symphonies. In 1993—94 he was commissioned by ARC Productions to create the musical “Wings of Fire” based on a George Bernard Shaw play for productions in California and New England. From the mid 90s onward, he became increasingly involved with arts education, both in theory and in practice. While working on music education residencies funded by Meet the Composer, as well as by the Annenberg Foundation's Center for Arts Education, he participated in a multi-year research project into the assessment of arts instruction funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 2000, the Carnegie Hall Education Department commissioned him to create a work (lyrics and music) to allow thousands of schoolchildren to come to a major concert hall in their own cities and sing and play along with a full symphony orchestra. His “A Simple Melody” has been performed by an estimated 400,000 schoolchildren over the years, along with the regional orchestras in 16 American and Canadian cities. His works have been published by Belwin Mills, World Book, Inc., Music Theater International, and many others.


B. M. in Composition, Chicago Musical College, Roosevelt University


Robert Lombardo, Wilfred Josephs, Robert Becker, Abraham Stokman, Harvey Ringel


Compositions performed throughout North America by many regional orchestras and opera companies


Development Award: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Yale University, Commissions from Opera Company of Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall, District 1199 Hospital Workers Union, the Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company


Carpentry, Indian music, design and photography, playing classic rock and roll, reading Pynchon, Kundera and the New York Review, and watchinghis wife garden.