Short Bio

 

Composer/guitarist Richard Nelson is recognized for his skillful and original integrations of contemporary classical and jazz composition and performance practices.  His works have been performed by ensembles such as ALEA III, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, and Speculum Musicae, at venues including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Miller Theater, the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and numerous other U.S. festivals and universities.  He has received fellowships and awards from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Charles Ives Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, among others. As a guitarist, he has performed widely and with many notable figures at festivals, clubs, colleges and other venues across the U.S. and abroad.  AllAboutJazz.com called him "an ambitious and daring composer," praising his most recent CD Pursuit as "a distinctive synthesis of modern jazz, and contemporary orchestral music."  A major current project is a collection of compositions for the soon-to-debut New York City-based large ensemble Pursuit, undertaken with co-leader Tim O'Dell.  Nelson studied composition at Indiana with Donald Erb (M.M.) and at Columbia with Mario Davidovsky (D.M.A.).  He was Visiting Artist at the University of Cape Town in 2004.   He is a Professor of Music and head of the Sonic Arts and Composition Concentration at the University of Maine at Augusta.

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Upcoming Shows

May23

Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Blue, 650A Congress Street, Portland

The Richard Nelson Imaginary Ensemble

Creative contemporary jazz meets jazz-tinged blues and Americana, featuring vocalist Marcia Gallagher. 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.

Featuring: Richard Nelson, guitar Marcia Gallagher, vocals Frank Mauceri, tenor saxophone 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