Central Floridian Elsa Kate Nichols completed her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Arizona in summer 2018 after presenting a lecture recital and document on her doctoral research, entitled "Leonard Bernstein's Halil: Serialism, Eclecticism, and Antagonism in the American Flute Concerto." In spring 2017, while completing her academic courses, Kate served as a visiting assistant professor, acting as sabbatical replacement for Brian Luce at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music. In this position, her primary responsibilities included performing as a member of the Arizona Wind Quintet, the resident faculty ensemble; teaching applied undergraduate lessons; conducting weekly flute studio masterclasses and technique sessions; and instruction of the undergraduate woodwind methods class. In addition, while working in the university’s recording studio with the resident flute ensemble, Flutefinity, she utilized her skills in arranging, recording, and producing musical projects.

As a performer, Kate has held the principal flute position for the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra, a regional orchestra near Tucson, AZ, and performed in competitions including as semi-finalist in the Myrna Brown Competition for the Texas Flute Society and third prize winner in the Florida Flute Association’s College Young Artist Competition. She has also performed in many masterclasses with prominent flutists and in summer festivals, such as the Round Top Festival Institute and the British Isles Music Festival.


During her master’s degree studies at the University of Arizona, Kate served as flutist for the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet, the premier chamber ensemble of the university. During their first year, the group was a national finalist for the Music Teachers National Association Chamber Music Competition. The group was also invited to perform a three-week long tour throughout China consisting of concerts in twelve different cities, which were promoted on several provincial networks. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of Central Florida, graduating cum laude and with University Honors after studying with Nora Lee Garcia.

Since her undergraduate studies, Kate has maintained a private flute studio comprised of elementary through high school students. Her teaching focuses on the idea of training confidence and consistency, creating a strong technical and musical foundation, as well as an instinctual sense of professionalism to develop independent, capable musicians. As a result, many of these students have found success in musical endeavors, such as participation in the Tucson Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, successful auditions for Arizona Music Educators Association all-state ensembles, superior and excellent ratings in solo and ensemble, performances in concerto competitions, and scholarship awards from universities including Research I institutions. Within the University of Arizona, her pedagogy and teaching methodology were recognized with receipt of the Fred Fox School of Music’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award for 2017.