A Philadelphia native, Hannah grew up playing violin and piano, often alongside her siblings. She started viola at age 17. She has performed with the San Francisco Symphony, Lucerne Festival Academy (soloist, 2015), Colorado Symphony, New World Symphony (2014-17), the Barnes Ensemble (Philadelphia), Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and Central City Opera Orchestra (principal).
Hannah has given solo performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the New World Center in Miami Beach, where she has been praised for her "rich tonal sonority" (South Florida Classical Review). While in the New World Symphony, she played principal viola on highlighted concerts including Strauss' Don Quixote and on tour with soloist Anne Sophie Mutter. The New York Classical Review wrote of the Carnegie Hall performance: “Violist Hannah Nicholas’s solo line that elided off the end of one of Mutter’s phrases was exceptional.”
Hannah is a featured artist with the O, Miami Poetry Festival (2016, '17, and '18). Her recent collaborations include a co-commission from composer Sahba Aminikia and poet Mario Ariza on The Book of Jackals (2017), and a new ensemble with violinist-composer Layale Chaker. Hannah's own compositions and arrangements of Sephardic music have been performed at the James Turrell Skyspace at Rice University and the Archway Gallery in Houston for the Art of Cultural Intersection in Music series (2016).
Merging voice and viola, Hannah is a founding member of the indie-rock trio The alt Default, winner of the 2015-16 Knight Arts Challenge South Florida. She is co-writer of "Eyes Like the Sea," the final track on the The alt Default EP (2017).
Hannah earned a Masters in Music from New England Conservatory, studying with Kim Kashkashian, and an Artist Certificate in Chamber Music from San Francisco Conservatory, studying with Paul Hersh and Jonathan Vinocour. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, where she currently teaches songwriting in the College House Music Program.