Daniel Nelson’s music has often been lauded for its rich rhythmic energy and colourful orchestration. He has written
mainly orchestral music, but has also had much success with his works for the dance stage and the opera stage.
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Daniel Nelson has enjoyed close and extended collaborations with several Swedish orchestras, resulting in works like his Clarinet Concerto, the orchestral fanfare Force of a Rainbow, and his tuba concerto Metallëphônic (2002), the latter of which has since become a standard of the tuba literature. He has also frequently been played by the Swedish Radio SO, often appearing on their annually televised Epiphany Concert as well as on numerous radio broadcasts. Most recently, the Swedish Radio SO commissioned his Chaplin Songs (2020), an oratorio which sets the final monologue from Charlie Chaplin’s 'The Great Dictator' for orchestra, choir, and soprano-solo.
Nelson has composed operas for both the Swedish Royal Opera, Sova Vaken (2022), and for the Vadstena-Academy, Pride & Prejudice (2011), as well as several ballets and dance works; most notably #Jag (2016) commissioned by the Royal Swedish Opera, and The Little Prince (2015), a ballet commissioned by the Nordic Chamber Orchestra and Norrdans.
Among the many orchestras that have performed Nelson’s music can be mentioned the Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National d’île de France, Swedish Radio SO, Gothenburg SO, Manchester Camerata, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Royal Opera, Stockholm Royal Philharmonic, Tampere Philharmonic, Trondheim SO, Juneau SO, Danish Radio Sinfonietta, Västerås Sinfonietta, NorrlandsOperan SO, WermlandsOperan SO, Helsingborg SO, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Gävle SO, Manchester Collective, Musica Vitae, Vadstena Opera, the Royal Swedish Cavalry Band. Nelson has worked with conductors such as Santtu-Matias Rouvali, Manfred Honeck, Enrique Mazzola, Vasily Petrenko, Jaime Martin, Hannu Lintu, and Roland Kluttig, David Björkman, Niklas Willén, and Eivind Aadland.
In 2015, Nelson received the Carin Malmlöf-Forssling Prize in Composition from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music (BM, 1989) and the University of Chicago (MA, 1992) where his principle composition teachers were Jean Eichelberger-Ivey and Ralph Shapey. Since 1992, he has been living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.
Upcoming commissions include an accordion concerto for Martynas Levickis and the Bundesjugendorchester conducted by Clemens Schuldt, a concerto for self-playing piano and orchestra for Norrlandsoperans SO, as well as a second opera for Vadstena-Academy Opera.