Nikolayeva was born in Bezhitsa, in the Bryansk district, on May 4, 1924. Her mother was a professional pianist and studied at the Moscow Conservatory under the renowned pedagogue Alexander Goldenweiser, and her father was an amateur violinist and cellist. Nikolayeva won first prize in the International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition in Leipzig, which was founded to mark the bicentenary of Bach's death in 1750. Dmitri Shostakovich, who was a member of the jury, composed and dedicated the 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 87, to her: it remained an important part of her piano repertoire.
She sat as a jury member on international competitions such as the Paloma O'Shea Santander International Piano Competition, the International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Leeds Piano Competition. She recorded her own transcription of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf. Nikolayeva was the teacher of Nikolai Lugansky. Among her other students was András Schiff, whom she taught in summer courses at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar.
As James Campbell-Methuen commented in her obituary, "Aside from the Shostakovich, though, Tatiana Nikolayeva will be remembered as a Bach player who flung stylistic considerations to the winds and played the music with an irrepressible musical intelligence and knowledge of the resources of her chosen instrument."
- Violin Concerto (1972)
- Symphony (1955; rev. 1958)
- 24 Concert Études, Op. 13 (1951–53)
- Piano Quintet (1947)
- "The Prokofiev Page – Recordings". Archived from the original on December 27, 2005.
- "Obituary: Tatiana Nikolayeva". The Independent. November 27, 1993. Archived from the original on May 26, 2022.
- Paloma O’Shea Santander International Piano Competition “Winners, members of the jury and artistic guests”
- "scribd". Archived from the original on June 11, 2014.
- "Nikolai Lugansky". www.kennedy-center.org. Retrieved October 17, 2020.
- Schiff, András (April 2, 2020). Music Comes Out of Silence. Orion Publishing Group, Limited. ISBN 978-1-4746-1527-3.
- "Tatiana Nikolayeva (Piano, Arranger) - Short Biography". www.bach-cantatas.com.
- "Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano) on Hyperion Records". Hyperion Records.
- [dead link]
- "Николаева, Татьяна Петровна". January 2, 2019 – via Wikipedia.
- "Pianist Tatiana Nikolayeva | website in memoriam of Tatiana Nikolayeva". www.tatiana-nikolayeva.info.