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Zach Nicely, Music Director


Zach Nicely is stamping his name in the classical music industry as “The Video Game Music Conductor.”


He is frequently called as a guest conductor and game music lecturer by ensembles, universities, and high schools across the country. He founded Press Start, a New York orchestra dedicated to programming video game music with classical favorites. Through his artistic direction, the orchestra presented two thrilling programs pairing Hollow Knight composer Christopher Larkin with Dmitri Shostakovich and Journey composer Austin Wintory with Samuel Barber. Zach was recruited by Mannes School of Music to develop such an ensemble for their pre-college program, establishing the Game Orchestra at Mannes Prep. His essay “Video Game Music: A Connection Beyond the Controller” was published in the Lexia Undergraduate Journal in Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication by the first unanimous vote of the journal’s editorial committee.

At home with both multimedia and scores born for the stage, Zach has conducted orchestras across the United States and Japan. He has served as Assistant Conductor with the Litha Symphony Orchestra and Music Director with Killer Queen Opera in New York City. Zach has appeared as a guest conductor with the Orchestra Conducting Symposium at University of Colorado Boulder and the Tokyo Sinfonia.


Zach toured with the Western Michigan University Symphony Orchestra in 2018-2019. While in Michigan, he organized and conducted an interactive rehearsal and concert, The Smash Experiment, featuring an orchestra playing video game scores in real time as audiences played the games themselves. Zach was awarded Western Michigan University’s Signature Designation in Leadership for this performance.

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