The prominent Swiss flautist and pedagogue, Aurèle Nicolet, studied flute and theory with André Jamet and Willy Burckhard in Zürich, then pursued training with Marcel Moyse and Yvonne Drappier at the Paris Conservatoire. During his studies there, he thoroughly mastered the French style of flute playing, graduating in 1947 (at age 21) with a premier prix for flute. In 1948 he captured the 1st prize for flute at the Geneva International Music Competition.
After playing flute in the Zürich Tonhalle Orchestra (1945-1947), the Winthertur Orchestra (1948-1950), Aurèle Nicolet was hired by Wilhelm Furtwängler to play first flute in the Berliner Philharmoniker (1950-1959). He then pursued an international career as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber music player. He played as a soloist with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including: Camerata Bern, Deutsche Kammerakademie, Dresdner Philharmonie, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Festival Strings Lucerne, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Münchner Bach-Orchester and others. Among his chamber music partners are: pianist/harpsichordist Boris Berman, harpsichordist/pianist Felix Gottlieb, oboist Heinz Holliger, harpsichordist Christiane Jaccottet, harpsichordist Michio Kobayashi, pianist Zoltán Kocsis, harpsichordist/pianist Edith Picht-Axenfeld, guitarist Barbara Polášek, guitarist/lutenist Konrad Ragossnig, harpsichordist Karl Richter and many others.
Aurèle Nicolet was also a professor at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik (1953-1965) and later taught master-classes in Fribourg (1965-1981), and Basel. His pupils include: Carlos Bruneel, Michael Faust, Pedro Eustache, Thierry Fischer, Irena Grafenauer, Huáscar Barradas, Kristiyan Koev, Jadwiga Kotnowska, Robert Langevin, Emmanuel Pahud, Marina Piccinini, Hansgeorg Schmeiser, Kaspar Zehnder, and Ariel Zuckermann. He published a flute method (1967).
Aurèle Nicolet is considered as one of the world's best flute players of the late 20th century. His recordings of J.S. Bach and W.A. Mozart have received considerable critical acclaim. A remarkable stylist, he was praised for meticulously nuanced and elegant playing. Having established himself as a pre-eminent performer of traditional scores, he dedicated himself to contemporary music, playing works that prominent composers - including Klaus Huber, Toru Takemitsu, György Ligeti, Edison Denisov, Krzysztof Meyer, and Heinz Holliger - had dedicated to him. He also played much other modern music for his instrument, including works by Hallfter, Kenterborn and others.
Aurèle Nicolets vast discography includes: J.S. Bach: The Complete Sonatas for Flute; Luigi Boccherini/Joseph Martin Kraus: Flute Quintets; Gossec: 6 Flute Quartets; W.A. Mozart: 4 Flute Quartets; Reicha: 3 Quartets, Op. 98; Spohr: Concertante No. 2; W.A. Mozart: Concerto for Flute and Harp; Oboe Concertos; Antonio Vivaldi: Flute Concertos Op. 10, 1-6; A. Vivaldi: 6 Flute Concertos Op. 10.