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

Previous events

Feb23

“Our Big Band” - Music of Steve Grover, arr. by Nelson and several others

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The Press Room, 77 Daniel Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

Join OURBIGBAND, pianist Frank Carlberg, and a who’s who of the seacoast / Maine jazz scene in celebrating the life and music of Maine drummer / composer / educator Steve Grover. Grover, a Maine native and no stranger to The Press Room, was a versatile and in demand drummer, a winner of the 1994 Thelonious Monk Institute’s Composer Competition, and was widely known and respected for his talents, from New England to NYC and throughout the USA. A born teacher, a friend to many in the area, and colleague and mentor to many OBB members – Grover’s personality, his musicianship, and his compositions have left an indelible mark on all who knew him. Steve Grover passed suddenly in 2016 after a brief battle with cancer. Frank Carlberg, Richard Nelson, OURBIGBAND, and a host of guest composers will pay tribute to their friend and mentor by adapting Grover’s small group compositions for the large jazz orchestra.

$7-$12 Advanced | $10-$15 Day of Show

Feb9

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.

Jan31

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