Nicholas Cox's recording of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Quintet (ClassCD 1502) was released in May 2003. In its first week it was CD of the week on Classic FM and has been one of the most frequently broadcast recordings of the Concerto on the airwaves ever since. Gold Medallist at the 1984 Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition in London and 2nd prizewinner at the 1987 Jeunesses Musicales International Clarinet Competition, he has since played concertos with City of London Sinfonia, North German Radio, Prague Symphony Orchestra, the RLPO and Milton Keynes City Orchestra. His reputation as a player is also matched by a teaching career of distinction. He has been Senior Tutor, Clarinet at the RNCM for twelve years. In 2006 his pupil, Mark Simpson from Junior RNCM became the first musician to win both BBC Young Musician and BBC Young Composer of the Year awards. In 2011 all three orchestral clarinet vacancies in the UK went to his former students from RNCM.
After reading music at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, Nicholas studied clarinet with Hans Deinzer in Hanover on a DAAD scholarship and at the Aspen Music School with Joaquin Valdepenas and Bill Jackson on an English Speaking Union Scholarship. In 1992, he was appointed Principal Clarinet of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with whom he has played concertos by Copland, Debussy, Weber, Nielsen, Bruch, Richard Strauss and Mozart. He was also Principal Clarinet of Milton Keynes City Orchestra from 1991 till the orchestra closed in 2019. He has appeared as Guest Principal with all of Britain's orchestras.
As a soloist Nicholas has appeared at Britain's most important festivals and halls including the Wigmore and Queen Elizabeth Halls, Edinburgh Festival, Cheltenham, Bath, Brighton and Huddersfield. An enthusiastic advocate of new music for the clarinet, Nicholas gave the world première of the Clarinet Concerto by Adam Gorb in 1999 commissioned by the RLPO. Other composers who have written new works for him include Hugh Wood, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, Jonathan Lloyd, Andrei Eshpai, Yuri Kasparov, Nikolai Kapustin, Alan Ridout, Peter Fribbins, Emily Howard, Matilda Brown and Francis Routh. He has played at four Clarinet Fests of the International Clarinet Association in Texas, Stockholm, Porto and Assisi premiering works by Adam Gorb, Richard Rodney Bennett, Edward Gregson, David Horne, Hugh Wood, Iain Hamilton, Stephen Pratt and an early Sonata by Sir Arnold Bax. Since leaving the RLPO in 2014 he has given Master Classes in Holland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Turkey, USA, Japan, China and Russia.
During his time in Liverpool, Nicholas founded and ran Ensemble 10/10, the RLPO's new music ensemble between 1998 and 2003. This group won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award in 2009 for its concert activity during 2008, Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture Year. Since 1997 he has also revived the Rodewald Concert Society (founded in 1911 and named after Alfred Rodewald, a Liverpool benefactor and close friend of Edward Elgar) to promote concerts of chamber music in Liverpool. He has been a design consultant for Yamaha for several years and plays on Yamaha CSGH clarinets.