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He is a Canadian composer, conductor and singer who devotes most of his focus to choral music. He has composed for a wide spectrum of genres; electronic and computer music, string quartet, woodwind and brass quintet, symphony orchestra, symphonic wind ensemble and choral ensembles, including both secular and ecclesiastical music.
He has written and arranged hundreds of pieces for choirs. He is also an associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre. In 2010 he became the owner and co-editor (with Diane Loomer) of Cypress Choral Music Publishing.
His music is published by Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer, Shawnee Press, Pavane Publishing, Morton Music, Cypress Choral Music, Classica and Canadian International Music. Nickel also works as a choral clinician, music minister and festival jury member in international contests. He sings in the Vancouver Chamber Choir and directs the Jubilate! Chamber Choir. He is the co-founder and composer for the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir which has recorded his compositions on thirteen CDs published by Cypress, Shawnee, Morton Music, Classica, Pavane, Canadian International, G. Schirmer and Oxford University Press.
He recently took a leave from teaching music and drama to complete a doctorate in composition.