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Nick Didkovsky

New York City, NY         

Nick Didkovsky is a guitarist, composer, and music software programmer. He founded the instrumental rock octet Doctor Nerve in 1983, which continues to be a vital force today. Most recently he formed the blackened grindcore band Vomit Fist with his son Leo on drums, and released their first CD "Forgive but Avenge" on his own Punos Music label. His instrumental metal band Haessliche Luftmasken is preparing to record in 2015. In 1997 he developed the music programming language JMSL, which is used by composers all over the world, and which he continues to develop and use for his own work. He has taught JMSL in courses and seminars at Dartmouth College, CalArts, Columbia University, and New York University. He is current an adjunct faculty member at NYU where he teaches his graduate level course, Java Music Systems. He has composed new music for Bang On A Can All-Stars, Meridian Arts Ensemble, Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, New Century Players, ETHEL, Loadbang, ARTE Quartett, and others. His compositions and guitar work appear on over 50 records.

Didkovsky’s work with Doctor Nerve joins the furious energy of rock with intricate composition, some of which finds its origins in rich software systems of his own design. His non-didactic approach to combining human and machine creativity is his unique fingerprint in a musical world that pushes the boundaries of rock music, algorithmic composition, and contemporary music. Over fifty of his compositions have been recorded by Doctor Nerve and released on Cuneiform Records, A&M, and his own Punos Music record label.

Didkovsky was a member of the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, which toured extensively and released three CD’s during its ten year tenure. Didkovsky contributed twelve compositions to the ensemble.

His trio Bone with bassist Hugh Hopper (ex Soft Machine) and drummer John Roulat released a debut record on Cuneiform Records in 2003. The CD features intricate, high energy compositions and improvisation. Bone toured briefly, with significant performances including The Whitney Museum of American Art in 2008. Since Mr. Hopper’s passing, Didkovsky and Roulat produced a benefit CD on Cuneiform Records in 2010. The live concert recording adds a bonus track which features the vocals of Daevid Allen (Soft Machine and Gong), and the electric bass performance of Colin Marston (Behold… the Arctopus, Disrhythmia, Krallice, and Gorguts).

With computer music pioneer Phil Burk, Didkovsky created Java Music Specification Language (JMSL), a language for computer music composition written in the Java programming language. JMSL was premiered at Circuits: The Governor’s Conference on Arts and Technology, in Palisades, NY in 1998. Minnesota Public Radio commissioned Didkovsky to create a digital version of an electronic musical instrument originally designed by Henry Cowell and Leon Theremin named the Rhythmicon (1930). Didkovsky’s JMSL version is currently hosted at www.musicmavericks.org/rhythmicon. Didkovsky has presented papers on JMSL at numerous conferences including International Computer Music Conference and JavaOne.

Didkovsky has received commissioning grants from The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Meet the Composer’s Commissioning/Music USA, the Jerome Foundation, and numerous privately funded initiatives. He has received recording grants from The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and the Aaron Copland Fund. He was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Computer Arts Fellowship to support his work in computer music composition and performance.

His Black Sabbath Guitar Lessons on YouTube have been received with great enthusiasm by metal fans all over the world (www.didkovsky.com/tabs).


Frogmen, for Vomit Fist. Premiered July 2013 at NYX II Festival at Spectrum, NYC. Video premiered on MetalInjection.net in Sept 2014

Vox Requiem, in memory of Ronnie James Dio, for Haessliche Luftmasken. Premiered June 1, 2011 at The Stone, NYC

If You Were Me Right Now I’d be Dead, for Doctor Nerve. Premiered Feb 15, 2008, Whitney Museum.

Human Dog, for ETHEL String Quartet and Kevin Gallagher’s Electric Kompany (rock quartet). Premiered Oct 2007, NYC. Commissioned by ETHEL with support from The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.

Slim in Beaten Dreamers, for brass quintet and percussion, premiered by Meridian Arts Ensemble at June In Buffalo Festival (2002). Released on CD "Brink" (Channel Classics), 2006. Commissioned by Meridian Arts Ensemble with support from The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and Harvestworks.

Tube Mouth Bow String, for string quartet, four talkboxes, and four harmonizer pedals. Commissioned for Sirius String Quartet and premiered June 25, 2002 at Pace University. CD released on Pogus Productions, 2007.

Ereia, for Doctor Nerve and Sirius String Quartet, Premiered at FIMAV Festival, Victoriaville, QC, 1997.

Amalia’s Secret (piano, clarinet, drum set, guitar, bass, ‘cello), premiered by Bang On A Can All-Stars, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, NYC, May 8, 1994


Articles by Nick Didkovsky:

Articles June 1 2004 | By Nick Didkovsky
Composing for the Electric Guitar

An overview of some of the electric guitar's sonic possibilities and how to achieve them