Ron Nelson (born 14 December 1929 in Joliet, Illinois) is an American composer. He received his bachelor of music degree in 1952, the master’s degree in 1953, and the doctor of musical arts degree in 1956, all from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. He also studied in France at the Ecole Normale de Musique and at the Paris Conservatory under a Fulbright Grant in 1955. Dr. Nelson joined the Brown University faculty the following year, and taught there until his retirement in 1993.
In 1991, Dr. Nelson was awarded the Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts, the first musician to hold the chair. In 1993, his Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H) made history by winning all three major wind band compositions – the National Association Prize, the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Prize, and the Sudler International Prize. He was awarded the Medal of Honor of the John Philip Sousa Foundation in Washington, DC in 1994. In 2006, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University.
Dr. Nelson has received numerous commissions, including those from the National Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, the USAF Band and Chorus, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Aspen Music Festival, Brevard Music Center, Musashino Wind Ensemble, and countless colleges and universities. He has also received grants and awards from The Rockefeller Foundation, the Howard Foundation, ASCAP, and several from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also appeared as guest composer/conductor at a large number of colleges and universities, including Illinois, Yale, North Texas State, Western Michigan, Sam Houston, Lawrence, Dartmouth, Southern Maine, CalTech, MIT, and Princeton.
Works for Winds
- Aspen Jubilee
- Brevard Fanfare
- Chaconne (In Memoriam…)
- Concerto for Piano & Symphonic Band
- Courtly Airs and Dances
- Danza Capriccio
- Epiphanies (Fanfares and Chorales)
- Fanfare for a Celebration
- Fanfare for Kennedy Center
- Fanfare for the Hour of Sunrise
- Fanfare for the New Millennium
- Lauds (Praise High Day)
- Mayflower Overture
- Medieval Suite
- Morning Alleluias
- Passacaglia (Homage on B-A-C-H)
- Pastorale: Autumn Rune
- Pebble Beach Sojourn
- Resonances I
- Rocky Point Holiday
- Savannah River Holiday
- Sonoran Desert Holiday
- Te Deum Laudamus
- To the Airborne
- Ron Nelson - Official Website
- McCutchen, Mathew G. (2009) An Examination of the History and Winning Pieces of the National Band Association's Composition Contest: 1977-2008. Florida State University, Doctoral Dissertation.
- Slabaugh, Thomas, II. “Ron Nelson.” In A Composer’s Insight, Volume 2, Timothy Salzman, editor. Galesville, Md.: Meredith Music Publications, 2004. pp. 138–151.