"An ambitious and daring composer... (who has) come up with a distinctive synthesis of modern  jazz, and contemporary orchestral music... his guitar solo on 'Strive' leaves a hunger to hear more."




Richard Nelson's "Deep River" CD, featuring the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Available Now at CD Baby, itunes, and Amazon.

"... a masterful suite by composer/guitarist Richard Nelson that merges jazz and American folk music." --Boston Globe

"... an atmospheric large jazz group setting worthy of Gil Evans." --Cadence


Richard Nelson is a composer and guitarist who fosters a healthy creative interplay between the in-the-moment spontaneity of improvisational explorations and the more deliberately organized realms of composition.  His numerous projects, including the New York City-based Makrokosmos Orchestra and his Maine-based Imaginary Ensemble, defy categorization with programs that can range from fully-composed pieces and progressive jazz (and improvised music of all sorts) to straight-ahead jazz and music that draws freely across the rock/pop/folk/blues spectrum.   Equal parts fun, serious, and zany.

Upcoming Shows

Previous events


Resinosa Ensemble performs new RN work, others

Olin Arts Center, Bates College, 75 Russell St, Lewiston, ME 04240

The Resinosa Ensemble performs A Forest of Glass, a Kaleidoscope, a Dream, my new set of art songs for mezzo-soprano, cello, and piano. Settings of poems by Maine-based poet Ellen Taylor. The Resinosa Ensemble is Joelle Morris, mezzo-soprano; Eliza Meyer, cello; and Bridget Convey, piano. Additionally featuring new works by Maine composers: Daniel Sonenberg and Nancy Gunn. And works by Andre Previn, Bunita Marcus and Lukas Foss.


Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Cadenza, 5 Depot St, Freeport, Maine

The Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble defies categorization with programs that range from straight-ahead jazz to progressive jazz (and improvised music of all sorts) to music that draws freely across the folk/blues/Americana spectrum.  Alongside guitarist Nelson’s dynamic and exploratory contemporary jazz compositions, expect South African jazz, music by Thelonious Monk, and jazz-tinged takes on blues and Americana classics featuring Maine's outstanding jazz vocalist Marcia Gallagher.  The program will include titles from Nelson's latest CD Deep River, on which Gallagher is a featured vocalist. Richard Nelson, guitar; Marcia Gallagher, vocals; Frank Mauceri, saxophones; Peter Herman, guitar; Asher Barreras, bass; RJ Miller, drums. Thirst for experimentation . . . pushing of known boundaries . . . appreciation for the time-tested sounds of the tradition. Not your typical guitar date.  --Cadence ("Deep River" is) a masterful suite by composer/guitarist Richard Nelson that merges jazz and American folk music. --Boston Globe  

$12.00 advance, $15.00 door


Makrokosmos Orchestra w/Band of Bones

ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Pl, Brooklyn, New York

Makrokosmos Orchestra: Featuring new, genre-defying compositions by co-leaders Richard Nelson and Tim O'Dell, with a 15-player ensemble drawing on outstanding New York creative contributors. With Christine Correa, voice; Peter Bloom, flutes; Tim O'Dell, saxophones; Adam Kolker, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Alan Brady, bass clarinet, clarinet; Marshall Sealy, French horn; John Carlson, trumpet; Jacob Varmus, trumpet; David Chamberlain, euphonium; Dale Turk, bass trombone; Arcoiris Sandoval, keyboards, sound design; Richard Nelson, guitar; Ken Filiano, bass; Rex Benincasa, hand percussion; and Scott Neumann, drums.