Graduated from École Polytechnique (Paris, France), François Nicolas studied organ with A. Alain, piano with Carlos Roque-Alsina and composition with Michel Philippot.
He performed as a jazz musician for a while, before switching to contemporary music. He then took the training course Acanthes (Aix-en-Provence, France) in 1981 and 1983, which was supervised by Maurizio Kagel and Luciano Berio and, in 1982 and 1984, he attended the summer lectures in Darmstadt (Germany).
Co-founder of the contemporary music review Entretemps, he worked in IRCAM as a consultant composer on Modalys (synthesizing by physics models software), and Timée (multi-loudspeakers device). F. Nicolas has composed thirty pieces of music, all published by Jobert: Passage II (three flutes), Deutschland (with voice), Dans la distance and Duelle (pieces with voice and electroacoustic), Pourtant si proche (two pianos), Sonate (piano), Erkennung (organ), Presto (percussions), Transfiguration (trio), Sillages (cello solo and orchestra).
François Nicolas combines composition with theoretical activity. Since 2003, he teaches at École normale supérieure (Paris, France). Apart the many trans-disciplinary workshops he has led, he is the author of several books (on Schœnberg, the concert, music & mathematics...) and many articles.