Submitted by Erik Nielsen
At their best, the arts can be not just a reflection of their times, but can also provide an emotional call to action. This is certainly true for music, in many ways the most abstract of all the arts. For the truth of this, one need only look at the songs that helped spur many social movements over the past several centuries to realize that they owe as much to the melody as to the words for their broad appeal. This is again such a time, when in the United States in particular, many of us have been stirred to action following the latest in a long line of deaths of unarmed Black and Brown citizens at the hands of police. A great example of powerful art that speaks to its time is the work for male chorus and orchestra, The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed by Joel Thompson, an African-American composer based in Atlanta. The work was premiered by the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club and the Sphinx Ensemble in 2015, five years before the latest murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and others. This is the ensemble featured in this video. Sphinx is an organization that promotes the training of African-American and Latinx classical musicians. It is my view as a member of the Monteverdi faculty that we need to promote and support musicians of color in our community. In addition, if we can collaborate with and support organizations like Sphinx we will be working toward the important goal of making concert music and our society more inclusive and equitable.
Erik Nielsen teaches music theory and composition at Monteverdi Music School . Check his full bio here.
We now have a frontrunner among potential logo submissions! AND we're in our final week of accepting submissions. We're hoping to assess our options at the end of THIS WEEK and choose a path forward from there.
We will continue to assess options that come in this week, but we're excited about the ideas presented in this submission from Birtu Lindert-Boyes:
And if you've already submitted one design, you may submit another! Each entry will be entered into our drawing for prizes from Vermont Violins, Buch Spieler and Guitar Sam.
We will not necessarily use a submitted design for our final logo choice, but we will enjoy every entry and potentially incorporate ideas into our final design. Thanks in advance for joining our logo design team!
Please see guidelines for entries, and options of prizes, here. Deadline July 31.
Announcing prizes in our "New Image for Monteverdi Music School Campaign!
Submit a logo design that meets the criteria listed in the blog post linked here - or on this entry at the bottom of the page, and you may win a $25 gift certificates to one of our friends linked above! And please support the businesses that support Monteverdi!
Please submit designs by July 31 - or let us know that it's on the way at that time. We may or may not continue to accept designs after that point. And spread the word to everyone you know!
All submissions will be appreciated! The one or two that most represent our ideal, as determined by the Monteverdi Board of Directors and Faculty Members, will win your choice of a gift certificate to Vermont Violins, Guitar Sam, or Buch Spieler Records! Other entries will be entered into a drawing for the remaining gift certificates. ALL entries will be counted!
Please submit designs to firstname.lastname@example.org (this is not a live link - please paste in your browser!)
Here's a reminder of what we're looking for:
Here's what we're looking for in our new logo:
I compose as a contribution to community. My aim is to bring people together through music. I work hard to communicate as directly as possible with listeners. I want to move people emotionally through the sound structures I create. My hope is that by telling a musical story, my work will strike a responsive chord in listeners who approach art with an open and attentive mind and heart.
I also view helping others to compose as part of my mission. I am passionate in my belief that anyone who wants to create music can do so and I've spent many years seeing the truth of that statement borne out with students of all ages.
Composer Erik Nielsen has created works for chorus, orchestra, wind ensemble, solo instruments, chamber music, works for dance, film and electronic music. His pieces have been performed all over the world by ensembles including A Far Cry, the Amabile, Chiara, Emerson and Ying String Quartets; the National Symphony Orchestra; the Killington and Manchester Chamber Players; Bread and Puppet Theater; the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble; Vermont Opera Theater, Vermont Symphony; Vermont Youth Orchestra and Village and Northern Harmony. He has won awards from ASCAP, the Vermont Arts Council, and the Vermont Music Teachers Association. In September 2015, his opera, A Fleeting Animal, a collaboration with poet/playwright David Budbill that premiered in 2000, was performed in a newly revised edition to great acclaim in six locations in Vermont.
Above - the cast of "A Fleeting Animal" takes a bow
Recent commissions include a film score for the 2019 Green Mountain Film Festival (premiered March 23, 2019 by the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra and funded in part by a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council); a new work for chorus and brass or organ, All This Night Shrill Chanticleer, a commission from the Vermont professional chorus Counterpoint, premiered in December, 2018; a new work for the Northern Third Quartet, premiered in October, 2018 (funded in part by a grant from the Vermont Community Foundation); A Voice in the Night, a four-movement work for bassoon and piano (funded in part by a grant from the Vermont Arts Council); Fanfare in B Flat, commissioned by the Vermont Symphony for their 80th anniversary; and Glimpses of Azure, commissioned by the Boston string orchestra, A Far Cry.
The Falling of Trees
Above is a complete performance of Erik's 2007 composition for piano quartet and baritone with poems by Erik's late brother, Lars Nielsen. The piece was originally created as a tribute to older brother, Karl Nielsen, who died in 1998 of brain cancer. This performance, by the Northern Third Quartet and baritone Thomas Beard, took place May 26, 2019 at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, Vermont at a special event honoring Lars' work as a writer. And a special thank-you goes to Dennis Bathory-Kitsz, for his wonderful work as videographer!
Mr. Nielsen is Senior Composition Mentor with Music-COMP (formerly the Vermont MIDI Project). He also teaches music theory and composition with the Green Mountain Suzuki Institute, the Monteverdi School and privately, as well as music appreciation classes at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center. He was elected a Fellow by the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. Mr. Nielsen lives in Brookfield, Vermont.
A Psalm for a New Year
Above: a composition for SATB chorus and solo viola, with words by Erik's late brother, Lars Nielsen. The text is the final work he wrote before becoming ill from brain cancer in September, 2017. Erik wrote the music just after Lars died in June, 2018. This is the premiere performance, featuring the chamber chorus Les Voix de Mai, directed by Jessica Pierpont, with Elizabeth Reid playing viola. It took place at a special event honoring Lars' writing at the Unitarian Church in Montpelier, Vermont on May 26, 2019. And a special thank-you again to Dennis Bathory-Kitsz.
This is a performance by the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra of my score to the final two acts of Lotte Reiniger's 1926 silent film classic, "The Adventures of Prince Achmed". The performance took place as part of the concert "New Music at the Movies" that took place on Saturday, March 23, 2019 at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont. Anne Decker, the Music Director of the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, conducted. The project was a collaboration among the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, the Green Mountain Film Festival and Music-COMP (an online music composition resource for students).
Erik Nielsen teaches composition at Monteverdi Music School and is actively teaching composition lessons and music theory during the COVID pandemic. You'll find more information about Erik at https://www.eriknielsenmusic.com/.
Monteverdi Music School has been a center for music lessons and music activity in Central Vermont for 26 years, and now establishing its outreach to the online community!