Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Artist Bio: Erik Nielsen


Erik Nielsen's compositional catalog includes works for chorus, orchestra, wind ensemble, solo instruments, chamber music of many configurations, works for dance, film and electronic music. His works have been performed in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia as well as many locations in the United States and have been performed by ensembles including A Far Cry, the Amabile, Chiara, Emerson and Ying String Quartets; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Killington and Manchester Chamber Players; Bread and Puppet Theater; the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble; Vermont Opera Theater, Vermont Symphony; Vermont Youth Orchestra and Village and Northern Harmony. He has won awards from ASCAP, the Vermont Arts Council, and in 1991 was chosen Vermont Composer of the Year by the Vermont Music Teachers Association.  Recent commissions include Glimpses of Azure, commissioned by the Boston-based string orchestra, A Far Cry; Voices in the Wind, a set of duets for flute and viola; The Crane Maiden for chamber ensemble, narrator and three actors; two song cycles, Trajectory of Flight for mezzo-soprano and strings and The Falling of Trees for baritone and piano quartet; his Quartet for Strings #2; and Cinque Amici, a work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano.  In 2002 he received the National Symphony Orchestra's composition prize for Vermont.  The resulting commissioned work, Mr. Nielsen's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, was premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C. on March 20, 2004.   In October, 2000, his opera, A FLEETING ANIMAL: An Opera from Judevine, a collaboration with poet/playwright David Budbill, was premiered to great acclaim in several locations in Vermont.   He was a 1994-95 recipient of a Vermont Council on the Arts Fellowship in music. In 1995 his piano quintet was performed at Carnegie Hall by the Manchester Chamber Players. He has been a recipient of ASCAP Standard Panel (now ASCAP PLUS) awards annually since 1993.   Mr. Nielsen is Senior Composition Mentor with Music-COMP (formerly the Vermont MIDI Project).   He also teaches music theory and composition with the Vermont Youth Orchestra, the Monteverdi School and privately. Mr. Nielsen, who lives in Brookfield, had this to say about his Fanfare in Bb:  

“I found writing a fanfare with such strict time demands an interesting challenge. I decided that the best approach was to use a short melodic idea stated first in the brass, and then slow things way down to give the woodwinds and strings a chance to enter in a more mysterious way. That gave me room then to increase the intensity to bring the work to a suitably bright finish. My hope is that the piece will get the concert off to a rousing start.”