about Mike Nelson
COMPLETE PROFESSIONAL HISTORY
Date of birth 31 July
1968 - 1974 Professional musician and arranger based in Perth.
1971 Six month's contract at Cuscaden House Hotel, Singapore in Perth band "Trinity" including a concert performance at the National Theatre of Singapore.
1974 - 1979 Moved to
London, U.K. Worked as musician, arranger and composer in
live and studio settings including a number of tours in
U.K., Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
South Africa and Zimbabwe with British pop group "5000
1978 Scored several graduate films at the London International Film School.
1979 Returned to Perth and commenced two month season at the Palace Hotel with Jazz band "News" led by Sydney alto sax player, Ken James.
Began appearing regularly in concert for the Perth Jazz Society accompanying visiting artists as well as presenting own ensembles.
1979 - Present Regularly engaged to accompany interstate and overseas artists including Milt Jackson, John Surman, James Morrison, Don Burrows, Joe Newman, Birnie McGann, Keith Stirling, Peter O'Mara, Mark Murphy, John Etheridge, Danny Moss, Red Rodney, Lee Konitz, Ritchie Cole, Johnny Nicole, Debbie Reynolds, Bob Bertles, Phil Wilson, Holly Hoffman, Clare Martin, Andrew Firth, John Hoffman, Marie Wilson, Shirley Bassey
1980 Spent six weeks in Manila, Philippines, composing and recording score for 90 minute film "Tanikala" produced by film company Cine Filipinos. Also acted as music editor on this project. Instrumentation included strings, percussion, guitar and piano.
Nelson's "Little Big Band" (11 piece) recorded by the ABC for national broadcast on Jim McLeod's "Jazz Track" program.
Commissioned by the ABC to adapt his film themes for performance by the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra including a Jazz rhythm section. The program was performed at the Perth Concert Hall.
1981 Established the Jazz quartet "Four On The Floor" as an outlet for his arrangements and compositions.
1984 Employed as a part time lecturer in Jazz Studies at the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music during it's first year of operation.
1985 Accepted three year contract as full time lecturer in Jazz Studies at the W.A. Conservatorium.
1987 His quartet "Four On The Floor" chosen in a nationwide poll to represent Australia at the Indian Jazz Yatra, an annual international Jazz festival. The band performed concerts in Bombay, Goa and Delhi.
Commissioned by the Music Board of the Australia Council along with two other composers to compose a suite as part of the Bicentennial celebrations. Instrumentation for Nelson's contribution included Jazz rhythm section, string quartet, woodwinds and percussion. After its' Perth premiere, the suite was toured to several centres in Western Australia and recorded by the ABC in December 1988. It was later released as the compact disc "Reflections Of W.A."
1989 Received grants from the Music Board of the Australia Council to record an album of his Jazz compositions and stage a concert performance of his contemporary compositions involving a fusion of Jazz and "Classical" instrumentation.
Promoted to Lecturer 1 level, W.A. Conservatorium of Music.
"Four On The Floor" invited to perform at the Fourth Malaysian International Jazz Festival in Kuala Lumpur.
Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to take a Jazz quartet on a performance and teaching tour of India as part of the Cultural Exchange Program with that country. The group conducted workshops and concerts in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Goa and Pune.
1990 Commissioned by the West Australian Youth Orchestra (WAYO) to compose an orchestral suite for Jazz quartet and symphony orchestra. The work (approximately 45 minutes in duration) was performed by WAYO and the Mike Nelson quartet in October at the Perth Concert Hall.
Resigned his position at the W.A. Conservatorium to pursue his composition and performance career.
1991 Commissioned to compose a contemporary Jazz work for the Perth Saxophone Quartet. Resident pianist at the Hyatt International and Parmelia Hilton hotels.
Awarded the major Creative Development Fellowship by the W.A. Department for the Arts in order to further his work in orchestral composition.
Awarded first place in the Jazz/Blues category of the W.A. Music Industry Association (WAMIA) 1991 song contest.
1992 Awarded first place in the Jazz/Blues category of the W.A. Music Industry Association (WAMIA.) 1992 song contest.
Commissioned by Gary France (lecturer in percussion, W.A. Conservatorium of Music) to compose a concerto for percussion and symphony orchestra. The work was funded by the Australia Council.
1993 His "Sonata For String Quartet" chosen as one of nine to be performed and workshopped at the 1993 Composer's Forum held at the University of Adelaide, S.A. Recorded and later broadcast on ABC "Fine Music" program. Taught a Jazz Workshop/keyboard lab. unit at University of W.A.
1994 Completed his "Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra". The concerto is a 30 minute work in 2 movements. W.A.S.O. to perform it (Gary France soloist) in July 1996. Score and parts completed using "FINALE" music software on Apple/Mac computer.
Toured to several regional centres as musical director with the "Jazz Divas", a group of Perth jazz vocalists.
Resident pianist with the "Perth city Jazz Orchestra", an 18 piece jazz big band performing weekly at the Wardle Room, (Perth Concert Hall).
1995 Conducted workshops for the W.A. Music Teachers Assoc. to help teachers and examiners better understand the new Jazz syllabus for secondary schools. Recorded a C.D. with the Perth city Jazz Orch. Continued work on players parts for his Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra. Formed a new "Mike Nelson Quartet" and commenced regular rehearsals of his original jazz compositions. Served on the Jazz Co-ordination program's steering committee.
Granted "Represented Composer" status at the Australian Music Centre.
1996 The Mike Nelson quartet recorded by the A.B.C. for national broadcast on Jim McLeod's "Jazztrack".
His "Concerto For Percussion And Orchestra" recorded by W.A. Symphony Orchestra with Gary France soloist, A.B.C. studios, Perth. Conducted workshop for Orff Society music teachers to assist them to incorporate jazz concepts in their teaching method. Part time lecturing in Jazz Studies at the W.A. Conservatorium of Music.
1997 Lectured in Jazz at W.A. Conservatorium, University of W.A. and La Salle College. Co-wrote and arranged songs with singer Annie Neil for her CD album. Arranged jazz standard material for "James Flynn & the Mike Nelson Trio" CD, recorded at the A.B.C. in December. Organised "The Spirit Of Christmas" concert to raise money for youth charity. Established "The Journey Singers", a 17 piece gospel choir. Commenced publishing his educational series "The Craft Of Jazz Piano". Released his debut CD album, "Celebration".
1998 Lectured in Jazz
at the W.A. Conservatorium, University of W.A. and Santa
Maria College. Organised, arranged and directed the second
"Spirit Of Christmas" concert. Established "Journey
Tickets", a complete event ticket management service.
Finished CD albums with Annie Neil and James Flynn.
Commissioned by the Perth Jazz Society to compose a 12
minute contemporary jazz work for rhythm section, brass and
BACKGROUND IN EDUCATION
During the 6 year period 1985 - 1990 he was employed full time at the W.A. Conservatorium of Music as a lecturer in Jazz Piano. He established the Jazz Piano and Second Study Jazz Piano curricula for the Certificate, Associate Diploma and B. Mus. courses. During that time he was promoted to Lecturer I position.
As Jazz Studies was newly established he helped to write the curriculum and taught in a number of other areas including Improvisation (for Jazz and Classical students), Jazz Theory and Ensemble. When the 2 year Associate Diploma was expanded to a 4 year Bachelor of Music he extended the Improvisation course outline for 3rd and 4th years.
In 1990 he was awarded the $30,000 Creative Development Fellowship from the W.A. Dept for the Arts. Only one per year is awarded and this was the first time it was awarded to a Jazz musician. He resigned his full time position to concentrate on orchestral composition. His "Concerto For Percussion And Orchestra", was recorded by the W.A. Symphony Orchestra with Gary France soloist at the A.B.C. (Perth) in July 1996.
His quartet "Four On The Floor" was chosen to represent Australia at the 1988 Indian Jazz Yatra. The tour was funded by the Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The department funded a return to India for a teaching and performance tour in 1990. He took a quartet of experienced Jazz educators for this tour and conducted workshops and performances in Delhi, Bombay, Goa, Pune, Madras and Calcutta.
From 1991 to the
present he has lectured part time at the W.A.
Conservatorium, University of W.A. (where he established
Jazz Studies for the first time) and La Salle and Santa
Maria Secondary Colleges as well as completing various
composer commissions and freelance performances. He has
conducted workshops for the W.A. Music Teacher's Ass., the
Orff Schulwerk Society and Hedland College in order to
assist teachers from non-Jazz backgrounds understand and
incorporate Jazz into their teaching methods.