Daniel Nelson (b. 1965) received his musical education at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he studied with Jean Eichelberger-Ivey, and at the University of Chicago where he studied with Ralph Shapey. He has also studied in Sweden with Lars-Erik Rosell.
Nelson’s music has been described as being pulse-oriented with a neo-romantic vein. Critics have also remarked on the “magnificently mobile orchestration” and “exuberant energy”.
Nelson has composed primarily for orchestra. He has enjoyed an especially close collaboration with the Nordic Chamber Orchestra which resulted in four works. Chiefly among these is his Metallëphônic (2002) for tuba and orchestra, which has since its premiere been performed more than forty times by orchestras in Europe, Australia, Asia and North America.
Nelson has also worked extensively with the Västerås Sinfonietta for whom he wrote The Ninth Wave (2002), a large-scale cantata for soprano and orchestra based on texts by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dances & Air (2004) which was the first of two violin concertos written for Swedish violinist Cecilia Zilliacus, as well as his Clarinet concerto (2000) — a work which can be considered his breakthrough. Other notable works are his Symphony (2008) and Romances & Air (2007) for violin and orchestra, both which were written for NorrlandsOperans Symphony Orchestra.
Five times, have works by Daniel Nelson been played at the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s annually televised Epiphany-concert. One of those works, his orchestral fanfare Force of a Rainbow (2006), has also been performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at their annual concert-in-the-green, an outside concert before an audience of 35,000 people.
Nelson’s music is often performed at concerts and festivals in Europe, Asia, South and North America. In addition, several of his compositions have been recorded by groups such as the Swedish Radio SO, Helsingborg SO, the Danish Radio Sinfonietta, Västerås Sinfonietta, KammarensembleN, and the Stockholm Saxophone Quartet.
In 2011 his first opera, Pride and Prejudice, was premiered at the Vadstena-Academy summer opera festival to great critical acclaim as well as an enthusiastic audience response.
November of 2015 saw the premiere of The Little Prince, a two-act collaboration with Danish choreographer Tina Tarpgaard which was highly praised by both the public and the press. It has to date been performed 29 times in 3 countries. Mr. Nelson has also worked several times with choreographer Christina Tingskog, culminating in 27 performances of their #JAG at the Royal Swedish Opera during the 2016 season.
In 2015, Daniel Nelson received the Carin Malmlöf-Forssling Prize in Composition from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.