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Local artist releasing two albums (and sheet music) in the next month (4 photos)

From Stravinsky to Debussy to Billy Joel, Nicholas Luck is creating unique music based on a wide variety of influences

When Sault-born and raised musician Nicholas Luck writes music, he is taking cues from a stunningly wide variety of influences.

Luck first began actively studying music in his teens under Glenn Flood.

“I started to actively study the piano in my teens learning the music of Billy Joel, [Claude] Debussy, Vampire Weekend, [Erik] Satie, and The Beatles,” says Luck. “[I] performed in various bands and ensembles in the Sault. In university, I majored in classical piano performance under the mentorship of Dr. Edward Turgeon at Algoma University.”

After going to Toronto to perform and work for a brief period, Luck decided to move back to the Sault full-time to finish his Bachelor of Arts degree and begin working.

Since 2013, Luck has been an active member of the music community performing with local musicians or as a soloist with ensembles.

“Recently, I have been listening to the composers of the early 20th century,” he says. “The ballets, orchestral work and certain selections from Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Ravel. It was an interesting time, the world was changing and music responded.”

In 2019, Luck released his first album, an original soundtrack for an experimental musical he wrote for a mythology class assignment.

“It was sort of a sci-fi drama,” he says.

The album Xandra proved to be a very experimental prototype for Luck’s musical career, with shades of classical, experimental artists like Brian Eno or more contemporary chill wave artists like Washed Out.

In short order, Luck has prepared two new albums for release this fall, the first being Three Miniatures scheduled to be released on Aug. 28, 2020 on all streaming platforms.

“The difference [from my last album] would be its form. Xandra is an [original soundtrack] whereas the Miniatures are instrumental solo piano music,” says Luck.

“I would describe them as what they are, [which are] sort of impressions of my time and life spent during the summer here in Sault Ste. Marie. Certain people and experiences, with moments of surrealism.”

Luck notes that the material was written primarily this year.

“[They] have a sort of continuity together.”

Luck’s press release describes the work as “playful impressionist textures and an atmosphere of modern antiquity”.

Interestingly, Luck has decided to also release printed sheet music to accompany Three Miniatures.

“The sheet music will be physical, with digital copies by request, for tablet or desktop use,” says Luck, explaining he made the decision to create sheet music to make the music more accessible.

“The physical copy [of the sheet music] will include program notes, dedications, instructions, and further detail into each piece.”

Shortly after the release of Three Miniatures, Luck will be releasing another album called Demos for Piano & Voice, which is a collection of “sung” tunes.

His press release describes that release as “tunes in the pop style with inspiration from jazz, ragtime, dancehall, classical, and minimalist music.”

“With these particular releases, I am providing a genuine performance, one takes, no multi-tracking,” says Luck.

“[I’m] keeping it barebones.”

A recent article on ClassicFM.com highlighted research that shows a surge in Millennials and Gen Zers streaming classical music.

“Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about it,” says Luck.

“Trends are interesting to observe. A possible contributing factor to this rise in listening is the accessibility aspect. With streaming, a myriad of genres are now more accessible than it ever was a decade ago. Nonetheless, I certainly enjoy the music and am glad more people do too.”

Luck has regularly been performing live online in lieu of in-person shows.

“I recently programmed a live stream for my Instagram followers. [It is] good fun,” says Luck.

“They are nice opportunities to interact and share my music. I plan to set up another stream once the date of Demos for Piano & Voice is announced.”

In the meantime, Luck regularly consistently shares videos of his “performance, practice, and writing” on his social media pages.

Find out more about Nicholas Luck on his Facebook or Instagram pages.

To view Luck's portfolio, please visit his website.