French luthier Nicolas Gilles is a native of Montpellier, France, where he expressed an interest in music from a very early age, training both as a musician and instrument maker. He studied at the Mirecourt and Newark schools of violin making before working for Charles Luc Hommel in Marseille, where he was trained in the restoration of fine antique instruments. In 2000, Gilles returned to Montpellier to work with Frédéric Chaudière. He established his own workshop in 2001.
Gilles has won the highest honors for his instruments, most notably at the Violin Society of America International Competition of 2004, in which he won a Gold Medal for Quartet, a Gold Medal for viola, and a Silver Medal for cello workmanship. In subsequent VSA competitions, he won Silver Medals for his cellos in 2008 and 2010, and in 2012 he won another Silver Medal for cello craftsmanship as well as a Silver Medal for tone for his Quartet. He also won a tone award from cellist Eric Picard at the VioloncellenSeine cello making competition in Paris in 2014. His instruments are in high demand.