Amber Shay Nicholson

Amber Shay Nicholson
Arts, Humanities, & Health Sciences
Primary Campus
Jamestown Campus
Adjunct Faculty Member, Music

Amber Shay Nicholson, pianist, earned her Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctorate of Musical Arts degrees from Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). Since that time, Nicholson has served on the keyboard faculties of SUNY JCC, Slippery Rock University and the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Nicholson has teaching experience in private applied piano lessons, class piano, piano literature, chamber music, accompanying, and healthy piano technique. She has taught and coached students of all ages and levels.

In addition to teaching and adjudicating, Dr. Nicholson performs frequently as both a solo pianist and collaborative artist. Past performances include numerous regional solo recitals, concerti performances, and collaborations with faculty artists from Eastman School of Music, East Carolina University, Yale University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of PA, and the University of Southern Mississippi, among others.

She has completed two CD projects with Alexander Russakovsky, cellist. The first consists of Russian music for cello and piano, including the Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev cello sonatas. It was released on the Brilliant Classics label in 2014. A CD of French music, including the Franck and Poulenc cello sonatas, was released on the Centaur label in 2017. Recording projects with Brett Shurtliffe, bassist, and Zach Collins, tuba are currently in the final stages of production.

Recent performance highlights include a 2017 concerto performance with the Warren Philharmonic (Warren, PA), a 2016 concert tour with the Schouten/Chambers horn duo, a 2009 concert tour with Stephen Redfield, violin; a 2006 concert tour as soloist with the Southern Miss Symphony Orchestra and choirs; and a 2002 invitation to the International Workshops in Stavanger, Norway, where Nicholson performed as soloist and collaborative pianist. Nicholson also gave several solo performances at the 2002 International Summer Music Academy in Leipzig, Germany. She won the 2001 Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 3 piano concerto competition at Eastman and performed that work with orchestra. In 1997, she received a special prize at the Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in Kiev, Ukraine.

Honors include being the only U.S. citizen to be accepted into the 2001 TCU/Van Cliburn International Piano Institute in Fort Worth, TX. From 1996-2004, Nicholson was named a Liberace Scholar at Eastman School of Music and received scholarship support from the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. While at Eastman, she studied extensively with Nelita True and served as her studio assistant. Dr. Nicholson can trace her musical pedigree back to Beethoven himself, so she has a strong artistic and pedagogical foundation.

Dr. Nicholson received her professional certification as a teacher of piano from the Music Teachers National Association in 2005. She now holds permanent certification from that organization. She is a member of the Oil City Schubert Club (NFMC) and serves as Counselor for the Junior Schubert Club of Oil City. She is also a member of Christ Covenant PCA in Seneca, PA, where she serves as pianist. Nicholson lives and teaches in Tidioute, PA with her husband and four children.


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