George Nicholson was born in County Durham in 1949 and studied at the University of York with David Blake and Bernard Rands, receiving his doctorate in composition in 1979. For ten years he pursued a freelance career in London before being appointed Lecturer in Music and Director of Composition at Keele University in 1988. In January 1996 he took up the post of Senior Lecturer in Composition at Sheffield University. He is a keen pianist and conductor, is a founder member of the chamber groups Triple Echo and Nomos, and also gives regular recitals with his wife, the soprano Jane Ginsborg.
His list of works includes a flute concerto, commissioned and premièred in 1994 in Zürich by James Galway; a cello concerto (for Moray Welsh) and a chamber concerto, both commissioned by the BBC; three string quartets; the orchestral song-cycle 'Blisworth Tunnel Blues', 'The convergence of the Twain' and '1132' for chamber orchestra; and a variety of chamber works, vocal pieces and piano music.