Nelson, Ron(ald Jack)

views updated

Nelson, Ron(ald Jack)

Nelson, Ron(ald Jack), American composer and teacher; b. Joliet, III, Dec. 14, 1929. He studied composition with Hanson, Rogers, Mennini, and Barlow at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (B.Mus., 1952; M.Mus., 1953; D.M.A., 1956) and with Aubin at the École Normale de Musique in Paris on a Fulbright grant (1955). In 1956 he joined the faculty of Brown Univ. in Providence, R.I., where he was chairman of the music dept. (1963–73) and a prof. (1968–93). In addition to numerous commissions, he received a Ford Foundation fellowship (1963), a Howard Foundation grant (1965–66), NEA grants, the Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts (1991), and the John Philip Sousa Medal of Honor (1994). In 1993 his Passacaglia: Homage on B-A-C-H won all three of the major wind band contests: the National Band Assn. Prize, the ABA (American Band Assn.) Ostwald Contest, and the Sudler International Competition. His widely known scores are stylistically diverse and generally accessible.


dramatic:Dance in Ruins, ballet (1954). The Birthday of the Infanta, opera (1955–56); Hamaguchi, opera (1981); many documentary and educational film scores. orch.:Sarabande: For Katharine in April (1954); Savannah River Holiday (1955; also for Band, 1973); This Is the Orchestra, with narrator (1960); Jubilee (1960); Overture for Latecomers (1961); Toccata (1961); Rocky Point Holiday (1969; also for Band); Trilogy: JFK-MLK- RFK for Orch. and Tape (1969); 5 Pieces for Orchestra after Paintings by Andrew Wyeth (1976); Meditation and Dance (1977); Fanfare for a Celebration (1983; also for Band, 1982); Morning Alleluias for Wind Orch. (1989); Epiphanies I: Fanfares and Chorales (1993; also for Band, 1994) and II: Panels (1996); Resonances III for Orch. and Brass (1997). band: Concerto for Piano and Symphonic Band (1948); Mayflower Overture (1958); Medieval Suite (1982); Aspen Jubilee (1984); Lauds: Praise High Day (1991); To the Airborne (1992); Passacaglia: Homage on B-A-C-H (1992); Chaconne: In Memoriam (1994); Sonoran Desert Holiday (1994); Country Airs and Dances (1995); Fanfare for the Kennedy Center (1996); Nightsong (1998); Fanfare for the New Millennium (1999). other instrumental: 6 Pieces for Chamber Ensemble (1977); Kristen’s Song for Violin, Flute, and Organ (1982); Pebble Beach Sojourn for Organ, Brass, and Percussion (1983); Danza Capriccio for Alto Saxophone and Wind Ensemble (1988); Elegy II for Strings (1988); Fanfare for the Hour of Sunrise for Winds and Percussion (1989); Resonances I for Winds and Percussion (1990). vocal:The Christmas Story, cantata for Chorus, Organ, Brass, and Timpani (1958; also for Chorus and Orch.); Glory to God for Chorus, Organ, and Brass (1958); All Praise to Music for Chorus, Brass, and Timpani (1960); 3 Ancient Prayers for Chorus and Organ (1962); Triumphal Te Deum for Chorus, Brass, Organ, and Percussion (1963); What Is Man?, oratorio for Soprano, Baritone, Narrator, Chorus, and Orch. (1964); Meditation of the Syllable OM for Narrator and Men’s Chorus (1970); Psalm 95 for Chorus and Ensemble (1971); Prayer of the Emperor of China on the Altar of Heaven, Dec. 21, 1539 for Chorus and Ensemble (1972); Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi for Chorus and Organ (1975); 4 Pieces After the Seasons for Chorus and Small Ensemble (1977); 3 Autumnal Sketches for Chorus and Small Ensemble (1980); For Freedom of Conscience for Chorus, Organ, and Trumpets (1980); Mass of St. LaSalle for Chorus and Ensemble (1981); 3 Nocturnal Pieces for Chorus, Viola, and Small Ensemble (1982); Make Music in the Lord’s Honor for Chorus, Organ, and Brass (1982); Te Deum Laudamus for Chorus and Wind Ensemble (1985); Festive Anthem for Chorus, Brass, and Organ (1985); Prime: The Hour of Sunrise for Chorus and Band (1986); Another Spring for Chorus and String Quintet (1987); Invoking the Powers for Chorus, Piano, and Percussion (1990); And This Shall be for Music for Chorus and Brass Instruments or Band (1990); Songs of Praise and Reconciliation for Chorus, Piano, and Percussion (1991); many other vocal pieces.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire