Conduction & Trumpet

Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson

Debut at Luzerner Sinfonieorchester 11th May 2025

Born in Oklahoma City Oklahoma, Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson studied composition at Indiana University with John Eaton and Iannis Xenakis, and with Gunther Schuller and Jacob Druckman at the Bershire Music Centre, Tangelwood. In 1974, he was awarded the first John W. Work III Composition Fellowship.

In 1974, Nelson moved to New York. And from 1974 to 1994, he worked in the field of Creative Music Education. Among the organizations he has worked with are, the Lincoln Centre Education Institute, The Henry Street Settlement, the Guggenheim Museum’s Learning Through the Arts program, Adelphi University, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn, Meet The Composer Composer in the schools program. He has presented music workshops in Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Estonia, France, Greece, Denmark, Ukraine, and Switzerland. Nelson has received grants from: The National Endowment for the Arts, Composers Fellowship, Fonds Voor Skeppende Toon Kunst, Amsterdams Fonds Voor Kunst, (Holland), Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York foundation for the Arts, Artists Roundtable Education Award, New York, Meet the composer Grants 1988-94, City of Biel Composer Grants, 2014-2019, Kanton Bern Composer Grants, 2014-.2019, Ernst Goehner Foundation, Migros Kulturprozent, Schweizerische Interpreten Stiftung, Levedo Stiftung.

Nelson has recieved commissions from SUISA, the Orchestra of Our Time, N.Y., ASKO Orchestra, Amsterdam, Diversions Dance Company, Cardiff Wales, the Leonardo Trio, N.Y., The Dale Warland Singers, the Kronos Quartet, The Bern- Neufeld Chamber Orchestra,

Paul Klee Ensemble, Accordionist, Teodoro Anzilotti, The Readers Dijest/Meet the Composer Commissioning Program, Company Carolyn Carlson,(Dance), The South West German Radio Orchestra, Baden-Baden-Freiburg, the Madblaster String Quartet, the Wolf/Tone Duett, violin, bassoon.

In May 2000, “KILLING THE WORD” for solo trumpet,and percussion quartet and video, was premiered at ZKM in Karlsruhe Germany, with Nelson and soloists and conductor. A movie Version of this work was shown on SAT3 in June 2002. “MOUNTAIN PASSAGE” for solo trumpet and strings, was premiered at the Zelt Music Festival, Frieburg, July 3, 2001.

From 1981 until 1985, Nelson lived in the Netherlands.

Further premiers include, “Night Songs” for solo piano premiered on Ja. 26, 2004, De Rode Pomp, Gent Belgium, “Sight-Seeing” for bass clarinet, baritone sax, and piano, premiered on May 23, 2004, at De Biloke, Gent Belgium, “NACHT NIGHT NUIT” a full evening. Music-visual-theatre work, was premiered at Zentrum Paul Klee in March, 2006.

He has had further commissions from Centre Chorégraphic National Roubaix Nord-Pas De Calais. Two commissions from the Charlotte Symphony, to compose two works for it’s Youth music ensemble. In December 2009, Nelson was guest composer-performer in a concert by the Musamari Children’s Chorus at the National Theatre in Tallinn Estonia. In March 2009, Nelson created a work for youth performers as a homage to Morton Feldman, this work, “Voices and Instruments” was premiered at the “Lange Nacht de Musik Festival, at the Dampfzentrale in Bern, on March 9, 2012. From Feb. to July 2012, Nelson was composer-in residence at the Plänke Schule, in Biel CH, where he created a work called “My Rainforest Your Rainforest”, premiered on July 2, 2012. In the spring of 2012, he created a Short Movie with Aline d’Auria, called “Jalalu in New York”, where he played the Alphorn in different locations. This film was shown on RSI Uno. Television in Switzerland in April 2012. Other premieres: “The Light Shines” for Chorus, October 19, 2014, Bern, For Voice and Trumpet”, for mezzo and trumpet, Rotations I for flute and trumpet, “VOCI VOCI VOCI” I-IV for Voices, November 30, 2014, Biel, Portrait Concert.

On April 11, 2015, at the Valdez Culture Center in New York, Nelson presented a concert of his music. Featuring new works for voices and instruments. “All Lives Matter” for voices and instruments”, “280” for male voice and ensemble, with text by Alfredo Pessoa. “A Mother’s Lament” for female voice and ensemble, dedicated to the memory of young black and Hispanic men who had recently been killed by Police in the spring and summer of 2014.

Also in April of that year, he premiered his “Rotations III” for solo trumpet, and alto sax in Phildelphia Pa.

On September 9, 2015, Nelson appeared as narrator in the “Genesis Suite” for Chorus and Orchestra, by Composers, Arnold Schoenberg, Nathaniel Skilkret, Alexandre Tansmann, Darius Milhaud, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ernst Toch and Igor Stravinsky, with the Biel/ Solothurn Symphony, conducted by Kaspar Zehnder, in Biel Switzerland. “To Everything” for mixed chorus, was premiered in Langnau on September 11, 2016.

On November, 27, 2017, Nelson presented two concerts of his music in a project called, “INTERKLANG”, involving improvisation and composition. Among the performers in this Project were the Bassist, William Parker and the Percussionist, Hamid Drake.

On November 23, 2019, his String Quartet no. 2 “Speakings-Bent Out Of Shape”, was premiered by the Madblaster String Quartet, in Biel. This quartet was commissioned by SUISA. Also in this concert, “Isolationstudes” for solo piano, Rotations V for trumpet and cello, and Divertimento and Dialogue was also premiered.

In March 2020 at the Jazzwerkstatt Festival in Bern his works for string quartet and the Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson’s UNIT, in works for string quartet and improvising trio.
Nelson’s latest commissions are from ensemble Contrechamps, Geneva, and Collegium Novem, Zurich.

In October 2019, Nelson published a book of poems and writings, “Words By Memory and Other Words”. His second book, “CONFINEMENT CHRONICLES”, will be published in 2022. His works are published by

Since 1994, Nelson has divided his time between Biel Switzerland, and Brooklyn New York.

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