Following several years of clinical activity, Brass focused on music in the eighties. In 1981, his vocal composition Traumrede was premiered at the Gaudeamus Music Festival in Holland, while Morgenlob string trio received a Jürgen Ponto Foundation Composition Prize. A few other notable premieres include structures of echo – lindauer beweinung (for 32 voices and orchestra) by Sinfonieorchester Des Südwestfunks and SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart under the baton of Rupert Huber in 2003 and Von wachsender Gegenwart by Münchener Kammerorchester and maestro Alexander Liebreich in 2007.
His music was presented at several prominent festivals, including Cantiere d'arte (1986) in Montepulciano, Donaueschingen Music Festival (1988), Musikprotokoll (1991) in Graz, Musica Viva (2) in Munich (1997), Internationale Weingartener Tage für Neue Musik (2000), and eclat – Festival für neue Musik Stuttgart (2001). In 2008, Nikolaus Brass was selected as a featured composer at Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik festival.