Amy Nickler

Bass

Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL

Alma maters: Lynn University, B.M. 2017; Yale University, M.M. 2019

Photos by Matt Dine

Profile

Awards/Competitions: Winner, 2016 Miami Music Festival Concerto Competition

Appearances: Oslo Kammerakademi/Valdres Sommersymfoni, Norway, 2019; Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, 2018–19; New Haven Symphony, substitute, 2019; Volta Music Foundation, Havana Classical Music Fest, Cuba, guest artist mentor, 2018; Marrowstone Music Festival, 2017; Miami Music Festival, 2016 

What is your earliest memory of classical music? The first time I was introduced to classical music was during my first grade class in the public school magnet program. The students were being introduced to different art majors, but I specifically remember the introduction to the string instruments. I saw my teacher play the violin, which was my first time seeing and hearing a violin, and I was immediately drawn to the instrument.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue music as a career? I knew I wanted to be a professional musician after seeing my first grade teacher perform on the violin. I always knew since that day that I love music, and I love string instruments. Perhaps I didn’t know that I would one day switch my instrument choice, but I did know I would stay within the string family.

How did you hear about TŌN? What inspired you to apply? I heard about TON from former members and current colleagues. I was driven to apply by the curriculum and resources the program provides. TŌN directs and guides students in the orchestral path of life in the symphony, which is what I strive for.

What do you think orchestra concerts should look like in the 21st Century? I believe orchestra concerts in today’s world should incorporate a youthful crowd of differing backgrounds. Not only in an audience’s perspective, but in the ambiance and atmosphere of the structural development. Combining traditional habits with modern views creates a new experience overall. 

Who is your biggest inspiration? My parents are my biggest inspiration in my career path and my life. Even being the only classical musician in the family, my parents never discouraged my dreams and goals of turning my passion into a career. They supported every decision I made with music. I couldn’t have become the musician I am today without them. 

Which composer or genre of music do you feel you connect with the most? There isn’t one specific composer nor genre that I could say that I connect with the most. However, I am always passionate about Mozart and his “party-like” music of the 18th century. I can only imagine the fun and tricks he could have partaken in during party gatherings.

What is your favorite piece of music, and why do you love it? My favorite pieces of music are Beethoven’s Second Symphony and Rossini’s La Gazza Ladre. These two pieces were turning points in my bass career. I fell in love with the double bass even more after learning these pieces in my arts high school program. My high school teacher was always encouraging, and never doubted my ability to play the bass, which is why he challenged me in assigning me these excerpts. 

What has been your favorite experience as a musician? My favorite experience as a musician was having the opportunity to play with Joshua Bell for thousands of people. With the Lynn Chamber Orchestra in the Festival of the Arts in Boca Raton, we performed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in an Orpheus style set-up with Joshua Bell leading the group. The performance was incredible, and I couldn’t believe I was invited to be part of the experience.

Do you have any embarrassing performance stories? I’m usually a little reckless when turning pages, especially during quick passages. One time during a performance I had to do a quick page turn, but I ended up flipping the booklet upside down and on to the floor. I immediately picked up the music and placed it on the stand and began playing again as if nothing happened. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson and am now a very careful page turner, even during the quick passages.

What is some advice you would give to your younger self? I would tell my younger self to always have faith in what I’m passionate about, and to never stop practicing! 

Favorite non-classical musician or band: I don’t have any particular band that I could say is my favorite, but I do enjoy bluegrass and folk music. The genre keeps true to its acoustic instrumentations, very much like traditional classical music.  

If you could play another instrument, what would it be? I’m not sure why I didn’t go from violin to cello when I decided to switch my instrument, but instead I went to the largest instrument available. I would really be interested in learning the cello if I had the opportunity.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? That’s an incredibly difficult question for me, because I knew I wanted to be a professional musician ever since I was six years old. Throughout middle and high school I became active and competitive in sports, especially the long jump in track and field. I thought I could continue to compete in college, but during my senior year of high school I had an injury in my knee which led to surgery. I knew it was a sign at that moment to concentrate on my musical passion. 

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to and why? Switzerland, in my opinion, is the most beautiful country in this world. I love the atmosphere, the food, and the views. The mountains are absolutely incredible, and I would love to travel back soon! 

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with and why? I’m not so sure how to answer this question, because the three people I love having dinner with are my mother, my father, and my sister. That’s all!

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us: I used to play violin for seven years until deciding to switch to double bass. 

I enjoy sport fishing along the coast of south Florida with my father. 

Piece of advice for a young classical musician: Believe in what makes you happy in music, and never put yourself down when things aren’t going right. We can never predict the future, so live happily now!