Nicholson's compositional activity featured works for singers and wind instrumentalists-the latter works usually written for his colleagues in the LSO. The roster of dedicatees for these pieces reads as a veritable Who's Who of British wind players: Archie Camden, Nicholas Daniel. Clive Evans, Leon Goosens, Val Kennedy, and Gervase de Peyer. The work written for Kennedy, the Impromptu for Contrabassoon and Small Orchestra, caught the attention of the American contrabassoonists Susan Nigro. She began a friendship with Nicholson through correspondence and eventually performed the Impromptu many times, both with orchestra and the composer's piano reduction.
Nigro requested another piece for contrabassoon from Nicholson and the result is the Miniature Suite for Contrabassoon and Piano. Nicholson composed the work during January and February of 1993. Susan Nigro and pianist Mark Lindeblad performed the world premiere on a recital in Chicago on 28 September 1993. The Miniature Suite was originally published by Bassoon Heritage Edition in 1995.
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