Brian J. Nelson – Composer

Brian J. Nelson was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1967 and began composing at age twelve. He received his Bachelor of Composition degree from the University of Michigan in 1990, where he studied with William Bolcom, William Albright and Nick Thorne. He completed a Master’s degree in Composition at the University of Wisconsin in May 2000 and a D.M.A from the University of Kansas (2011) where he studied with James Barnes and Bryan Haaheim.

A devoted Catholic, he is a prolific composer of sacred music as well as chamber and orchestral works. His growing catalogue includes his Te Deum for Full Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists; Ballade for Violin and Piano; Mass of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne; Two Pieces for Orchestral Brass; and Responsorial Psalms for Advent and Christmas, a collection of responsories based on the Catholic lectionary, et al. Recent presentations include Ballade – An Evening with Composer Brian J. Nelson, a full-length concert of his works in Lawrence, Kansas in May 2019, a Kansas Public Radio preview concert of the same, and the interdisciplinary project, Windswept Glory – Music and Images from the Heart of Kansas, a collaboration with the Lyric Arts Trio, Kansas Poet Laureate Emeritus Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in celebration of the 161st anniversary of the founding of the State of Kansas in 2021.

To date, Brian’s music is represented on two CD’s: Responsorial Psalms for Advent and Christmas (November, 2009), featuring a sampling from the collection just mentioned; and Vocalise – Instrumental & Vocal Music of Brian J. Nelson which features a complete representation of Brian’s output from instrumental to chamber to choral to sacred music. Brian’s music is characterized by a strong melodic sense and an original tonality – his work is deeply engaging, and in each piece, he clearly demonstrates his mastery of form, structure, and powerful expression. He continues to compose both commissioned and non-commissioned works across a wide variety of genres and forms.

Brian J. Nelson