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 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.
His music has been performed by the London Sinfonietta, BBC Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St John's Smith Square and many other ensembles and orchestras. He has received several BBC commissions, including the Cello Concerto premiered by Moray Welsh. Nicholson was commissioned by James Galway to write the Flute Concerto. His work has been recorded on the record labels Metier, Unknown Public, and the British Music Label.
As pianist he is a member of the chamber groups Triple Echo and Nomos, and also gives regular recitals with his wife, the soprano Jane Ginsborg.