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, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and the University of Maine.
A professional jazz guitarist as well, he combines performance and composition in works for the Boston-based Aardvark group, his own Imaginary Ensemble, and other groups. AllAboutJazz.com called him “an ambitous and daring composer,” praising his most recent CD Pursuit as “a distinctive synthesis of modern jazz, and contemporary orchestral music.” Nelson studied composition at Indiana (M.M.) with Donald Erb and at Columbia (D.M.A.) with Mario Davidovsky. He was Visiting Artist at the University of Cape Town in 2004. Dr. Nelson is a Professor of Music and head of the Sonic Arts and Composition Concentration at the University of Maine at Augusta.