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Spencer Nielsen, tenor saxophone

Acclaimed saxophonist, Dr. Spencer Nielsen, has a reputation as a versatile and skilled craftsman on both the national and international stage. His performances have earned him widespread praise including Austin Critics Circle nominations for Best Classical Ensemble (2011 and 2012) and also Best Chamber Performance. Dr. Nielsen is the founder and curator of After Hours Austin, a concert series that promotes new audiences to appreciate music inspired by local businesses/attractions. Additionally, his passion for music education has earned him a reputation as a skilled teacher and lecturer.

Dr. Spencer Nielsen has performed extensively throughout the Midwest with a wide variety of groups. Originally from Bellevue, Nebraska, Mr. Nielsen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he performed frequently with such groups as the Monday Night Big Band, Amite Quartet, the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, UNL Jazz Ensemble I, and as a soloist with the University of Nebraska Wind Ensemble. He studied saxophone with Dr. Paul Haar and conducting with Dr. Carolyn Barber. He was a featured soloist at the 2005 NASA convention at Drake University and also performed at the 2006 MENC Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Since moving to Texas, Dr. Nielsen has appeared with the San Antonio Symphony, Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Austin Civic Orchestra, University of Texas Symphony Orchestra, University of Texas New Music Ensemble, Tex Sax, and BHumn Dance Productions. He was also featured on the Naxos recording Over the Rainbow and Bach Again as both a performer and conductor. He can be heard with the University of Texas Wind Ensemble on the upcoming recording of Steven Bryant’s Concerto for Wind Ensemble which he also premiered. Mr. Nielsen has commissioned quartet works from Steven Snowden, Randall Snyder, Zackery Wilson, and Matthew Ricketts. He has achieved a Master’s and Doctorate in saxophone performance studying with Harvey Pittel from the University of Texas at Austin.

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