2022 Guest Artists: Conor Nelson & Amanda Harberg
Praised for his “long-breathed phrases and luscious tone” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Canadian flutist Conor Nelson is established as a leading flutist and pedagogue of his generation. Since his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, he has frequently appeared as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad.
Solo engagements include concerti with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Flint Symphony, and numerous other orchestras. In addition to being the only wind player to win the Grand Prize at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition, he won first prize at the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition. He also received top prizes at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition, the Haynes International Flute Competition as well as the Fischoff, Coleman, and Yellow Springs chamber music competitions.
With percussionist Ayano Kataoka he performed at Merkin Concert Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan Hall, and Izumi Hall. A recital at the Tokyo Opera City Hall received numerous broadcasts on NHK Television. Their CD entitled, Breaking Training was released on New Focus Recordings (NYC). His second CD, Nataraja with pianist Thomas Rosenkranz is also available on New Focus. He has collaborated with Claude Frank on the Schneider concert series in NYC and appeared at numerous chamber music festivals across the country including the OK Mozart, Bennington, Skaneateles, Yellow Barn, Cooperstown, Salt Bay, Look and Listen (NYC), Norfolk (Yale), Green Mountain, Chesapeake, and the Chamber Music Quad Cities series.
He is the Principal Flutist of the New Orchestra of Washington in Washington, D.C., and has performed with the Detroit, Toledo, and Tulsa Symphony Orchestras. He also performed as guest principal with A Far Cry, Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco, and the Conceirtos de la Villa de Santo Domingo.
A respected pedagogue, Dr. Nelson has given masterclasses at over one hundred colleges, universities, and conservatories. Prior to his appointment at UW-Madison, he served as the flute professor at Bowling Green State University for nine years and as the Assistant Professor of Flute at Oklahoma State University from 2007-2011. His recent residencies include Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, the Sichuan Conservatory in Chengdu, China, the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, and the Associação Brasileira de Flautistas in São Paulo.
He is also a regular guest of the Texas Summer Flute Symposium and has been the featured guest artist for eleven flute associations across the country.
His former students can be found performing in orchestras, as well as teaching at colleges, universities, and public schools nationwide. They have also amassed over sixty prizes in young artist competitions, concerto competitions, and flute association competitions.
He received degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, and Stony Brook University where he was the winner of the schoolwide concerto competitions at all three institutions. He is also a recipient of the Thomas Nyfenger Prize, the Samuel Baron Prize, and the Presser Award. His principal teachers include Carol Wincenc, Ransom Wilson, Linda Chesis, Susan Hoeppner, and Amy Hamilton. Conor is a Powell Flutes artist and is the Assistant Professor of Flute at UW-Madison where he performs with the Wingra Wind Quintet.
Amanda Harberg is a composer whose work has been described by the New York Times as “a sultry excursion into lyricism.” Her writing for a wide range of instruments weaves classical Western tradition with contemporary influences to create a distinctively personal style which “conveys a thoroughly original sense of happiness in music,” according to Cleveland Classical. “She invigorates the brain and touches the soul,” says composer John Corigliano. “I love her work.”
Her work has been conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, JoAnn Falletta, David Alan Miller and David Lockington, among others. She has been commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, the New World Symphony, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Juilliard School, the Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire, the New Jersey Youth Symphony, the Dorian Wind Quintet, the Bay Atlantic Symphony, the Harmonium Choral Society, and the Network for New Music. She has also received many consortium commissions for new recital works.
Harberg’s recently completed Piccolo Concerto will be premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra, renowned piccoloist Erica Peel, and conducted by Maestro Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the Fall 2021 Digital Stage series. Her Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, and her Elegy for Viola and Strings, were each performed by violist Brett Deubner and orchestras worldwide, and can be heard on Naxos American Classics with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra.
Her work has also been presented at leading institutions including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Verizon Hall, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Bargemusic. Her recent works for flute and piccolo have won numerous awards and Harberg “has become something of a hero to the flute and piccolo community along the way,” notes the website of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Harberg has received a Fulbright Hays fellowship, the Juilliard School’s Peter Mennin prize, two New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships, a New York State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony summer residency. Her chamber music has also won four Newly Published Music Awards from the National Flute Association. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company and her work has been recorded on many labels including Naxos American Classics and Koch International.
As the in-house composer for Common Good Productions, Harberg has composed scores for The Abominable Crime, an award winning feature documentary, and Beyond Borders: Undocumented Mexican Americans which aired over 2,000 times on PBS stations across the country, as well as a number of shorter films for Common Good Productions.
Also active as a concert-level pianist, Harberg has recently performed with principals of major orchestras including Erica Peel (Philadelphia Orchestra), Martin Chalifour (Los Angeles Philharmonic), YaoGuang Zhai (Baltimore Symphony), Robert Langevin (New York Philharmonic), Dennis Kim (Pacific Symphony), and Mindy Kaufman (New York Philharmonic), as well as with close colleagues Julietta Curenton, Valerie Coleman, Adrian Morejon, Benjamin Fingland, and Jessica Meyer.
Dr. Harberg is a dedicated educator with more than two decades of experience teaching composition, piano, music theory, aural skills, and 20th/21st century music history. She is in her sixth year of teaching composition at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts, and in the summers she is on the composition faculty at the Interlochen Arts Camp. Harberg began teaching through the Morse Fellowship program, which sends Juilliard students into New York City public schools. She also served on the faculty of the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, which is dedicated to educating students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. Harberg has also taught composition at the the Luzerne Music Center, the Rocky Ridge Music Center, and the ASTA Chamber Music Institute. Harberg is a frequent guest at schools and universities where she particularly enjoys speaking to students about how to live an artistically vital and authentic life in today’s society.
Dr. Harberg completed her undergraduate and masters degrees at the Juilliard School and earned her PhD from Rutgers University School of Graduate Studies. She received a Fulbright/Hays fellowship to study for a year with composer/pianist Frederic Rzewski. Currently living with her family in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, Harberg is on the faculty at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and the Interlochen Arts Camp.