Chinese Arts & Music Association

Our Staff

Conductor, Pianist, Composer

Roger Nelson

Roger has been a fixture at Cornish College of the Arts since 1979, where he has done everything from teach piano and music history to conduct opera. Roger has conducted the Bainbridge Orchestra for an incredible 13 seasons. Roger's talents are vast - he conducted the Seattle Creative Orchestra, a 40-member group devoted to playing works of living composers, in addition to the Minnesota Opera's "New Music Theatre Ensemble" in 2 world premieres. Artistically, Roger was a leader of the "Floating Opera" in Seattle, featuring performances on a barge, floating through Puget Sound.

In the 1997-1998 academic year, Roger was the first foreign music teacher to teach at Qufu University, in the Shandong province of China. While in Qufu, Roger established an orchestra to perform Haydn's Surprise Symphony, filling in as needed with Chinese traditional instruments and accordions; it was the first western orchestra there since the Cultural Revolution. In 1999, 2002 and 2005, he composed a new fiddle tune every day of the year, which now consists of over 1500 fiddle tunes. His collection, "Fiddle Tunes with a Difference", is available in book form, and on his CD "Fiddling on the Yangtze" and "Stay Tuned". The CD also includes Chinese music, and features Roger on piano, Karen Iglizin on violin. The CD is available at under "Support". Roger is also active as a singer and leads a vocal ensemble called "Canzonetta". Roger earned a B.A. in Zoology from Pomona College and an M.M. in Choral Conducting from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.