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Mike Nelson : Represented Artist

Photo of Mike Nelson

Artist website: http://www.jazzpiano.net.au

Mike Nelson was born on the 31st July 1949, and worked as a professional musician and arranger from the age of 19. He moved to London in 1971 and between 1975 and 1977 was keyboardist and arranger for the popular British band 5000 Volts.

Since his return to Perth in 1979, Mike Nelson has been regularly engaged to accompany interstate and overseas artists such as Milt Jackson, John Surman, James Morrison, Don Burrows, John Etheridge, Lee Konitz and Marie Wilson. He has established his own jazz groups, including Four on the Floor, a jazz quartet chosen to represent Australia at the annual Indian Jazz Yatra in 1987. Nelson returned to India in 1989, having received funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to take a jazz quartet on a performance and teaching tour as part of the Cultural Exchange Programme with India. The group conducted workshops and gave concerts in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Goa and Pune.

Nelson has received numerous commissions for his work, including a Bicentennial commission from the Music Board of the Australia Council, with two other composers, to compose a suite which was later toured around WA and recorded by the ABC for release on CD. A grant from the Australia Council in 1989 allowed him to record an album of his jazz compositions and stage a concert performance of his compositions involving a fusion of jazz and classical instrumentation.

In 1991 Mike Nelson was awarded the major Creative Development Fellowship by the WA Department for the Arts in order to further his work in orchestral composition. The same year saw him win the first of two first place awards in the Jazz/Blues category of the WA Music Industry Association song contest.

Since 1985, Nelson's work has also included a variety of lecturing positions at the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music, the University of WA, and La Salle and Santa Maria Colleges. He has been a full-time Lecturer in Jazz Studies (Piano) at the Australian National University in Canberra since 2000. He has also conducted workshops on various areas of jazz for the WA Music Teachers Association, the Orff Society and the University of WA.

Recent works include Suite for Katherine, a work to accompany paintings by Ruth Waller performed at the National Gallery in 2003; a solo harp piece Blue For Alice written for Alice Giles; a solo percussion suite While The Night Sleeps written for Gary France; and Classic Samba, a Jazz adaptation of the 1st movement of Mozart's Oboe concerto, performed at the Perth Concert Hall, Australia Day 2005, and recorded for DVD.

Biography provided by the composer — current to January 2007