Nicholas Atkinson was born in Manchester, England and came to Canada in 1957. He began his musical career playing tuba and bass with Canadian Army bands and later graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Music in Performance. He subsequently studied extensively with the legendary Arnold Jacobs of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  He also holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Ottawa.

Since moving to Ottawa in 1973, Mr. Atkinson has been an active tuba player and teacher. He was a member of the R.C.M.P. Band for fourteen years and has played with the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 1976.  He has been a soloist with the orchestra on numerous occasions. One of the busiest tuba players in Canada, he has performed with all the major orchestras. During the 1989 season he was principal tuba with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, beginning a long association that included many recordings and international tours.  As a chamber musician, Mr. Atkinson is a founding member of the Rideau Lakes Brass Quintet, Ragtime Brass and Capital Brassworks, all of which have been featured on CBC broadcasts and recordings.  He has also performed and recorded extensively with the Hannaford Street Silver Band. Every summer from 1993-2010 he organized large-scale brass concerts at the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.

Mr. Atkinson taught at Queen’s University for ten years and at the University of Ottawa from 1977-2004.  He is a well-known brass coach and performing artist for Besson and Yamaha, and has given clinics at schools and universities all over Canada. Since 2006 he has been the low brass instructor for the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.

Mr. Atkinson can be heard in conversation with various artists on a variety of subjects in a continuing series of podcasts on the N.A.C. Orchestra website.

His hobbies include reading (wide-ranging and assiduous), cryptic crosswords (occasional flashes of intelligence) and golf (dangerous fanatic).