Hans Nickel was born in the Netherlands in 1958 and was appointed solo tuba with the WDR Symphony Orchestra (West German Broadcasting Corporation) based in Cologne, Germany, in 1986. He was appointed Head of Tuba Studies at the Musikhochschule in Cologne in 1987 and in 1998 additionally at the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, where he was named Professor for Tuba, Euphonium and Brass Chamber Music in 2004. In 1999 he was simultaniously appointed Senior Lecturer for Tuba/Euphonium at the Hoogeschool Zuyd (Conservatoire)in Maastricht (Netherlands) and in 2006 Head of Tuba Studies at the Robert Schumann Hochschule in Düsseldorf incorporating the responsibility for the low brass of the Deutsche Bundeswehr (Ausbildungsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr). Nickel now teaches permanently in Maastricht and Düsseldorf.
As an orchestral guest, Nickel has appeared with most of the European top orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle.
Brass Bands have been a long-time hobby for Nickel and he was a member of the Dutch Championship Brass Band Limburg for several years, winning a host of soloist prizes with them, including the European Soloist of the Year in both Rotterdam and Cardiff.
Hans Nickel frequently holds Master Classes around the world, particularly in Japan (University of Fine Arts, Tokio), in Leningrad, Javea (Spain) and at the Paris Conservatoire. In March 2008 he taught in Seoul, Korea, for the first time. In 1999 he was employed as a guest trainer for the Bundesjugendorchester in their highly successful "Rising Stars" project.
In 2008 Hans once again took on the role of a jury member for the GWK Förderpreis in Münster, which is an important competition for any on-going artist in NRW, Germany. The GWK finances projects for young artistic achievers resulting in an extremely high standard of participant.
Hans Nickel performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician, particularly active in the field of contemporary music having premiered many new works for tuba including: Jan Van der Roost (Obsessions and canTUBAllada, Riva del Garda, Italy, 1997 ITEC), Karlheinz Stockhausen (In Freundschaft 1996), Jan Bedrich (Dialogy per Tuba, Piano e Baterie) and Edward Gregson (USA prmiere Alarum, Chicago 1995 ITEC). As a chamber musician he has appeared all over the world, including performing at the Huddersfield Contemporary Festival and the Holland Festival with groups as highly regarded as Ensemble Modern(Frankfurt), Asko Ensemble (Amsterdam), Music Fabrik (Cologne), HR Brass (HR Frankfurt) and the Blechbläserensemble der Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin).
In the autumn of 2008 he formed together with his colleagues from WDR the brass quintet "Brass Consort Köln" (www.brass-consort-koeln.de) which enjoyed a very successful first performance in Lemgo at the XXVII Lemgoer Internationalen Orgeltage 2008. The quintet will be performing in Kerpen in March at the Stiftskirche St.Martinus and taking part in the chamber concert series of the orchestra in Radio House Cologne. They will be visiting the Yamaha factory inoutside Tokyo, as a guest of Yamaha, in February 2009.
Nickel has a multitude of recordings to his name encompassing the R.Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto with both the WDR Symphony Orchestra and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (canTUBAllada), Tuba Obsessions (Tuba Solo), Orchester Finalisten (Asko Ensemble), Nessun Dorma (Belgian Brass Soloists) and Jazzpana- Grammy nomination- (Vince Mendoza and the WDR Big Band). Visitors to the newly released German cinema film "Der Führer" will recognize the unique sound of Hans Nickel on the film sound track.