Nick Williams studied music at York and Huddersfield universities. In 1982 he co-founded Soundpool, an organisation of York-based composers and performers (which later became the Late Music concert series) and he conducted the Soundpool Ensemble which gave many first performances. They also engaged in educational work in the area. As well as being involved in concert music, from 1989-91 he was composer and performer with Snapdragon Circus, a company which brought together theatre, dance, circus and music and toured extensively with them. He has also been active in pop music and improvisation, playing regularly with free improvisation outfit LIMA. As a conductor he has directed a wide variety of music from the 18th century to the present day. He has taught at Huddersfield University, Leeds University, York St John University and Leeds College of Music, and from 2017 was head of undergraduate composition at the University of West London.
His music draws on minimalism, modernism and the immediacy of post-punk to create what The Times called ‘a hyperactive…postminimalism’ that has affinities with the urban energy of New York’s Bang On A Can composers and the rhythmic conceptualism of the Hague School.
His work has been performed widely in Britain, Europe and the United States by, among others, Philip Thomas (GB), Monica Germino (US/Netherlands) and Duo Contour (Germany).