Dr. Lee Nelson is the Patricia R. Zahn Chair in Choral Conducting and director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Nelson conducts the Wartburg Choir and Ritterchor (Men’s Choir) and teaches beginning, advanced conducting and choral literature at Wartburg College. He also serves as the artistic director of Christmas with Wartburg. Wartburg College recognized Nelson’s work by awarding him the John O. Chellevold Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service.
Under Dr. Nelson’s direction, the choir has performed at multiple ACDA conventions, including the 2017 National Convention, and an unprecedented performance for the White House and the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Internationally renowned composer Morten Lauridsen praised Nelson and the Wartburg Choir’s performance of his “O Magnum Mysterium” stating: “It was in the top echelon of any performance of that piece by any choir that I have ever heard.” The choir was honored as the national winners of The American Prize, College/University Choir Division in 2017. Nelson and the Wartburg Choir tour throughout the United States every year and they have sang in 12 different countries over the last 10 years.
A highly sought-after conductor, clinician and adjudicator, Nelson has directed all state and honor choirs throughout the United States and internationally. He has been invited to conduct at Carnegie Hall in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2019 & 2020. Earlier in his career, Nelson won the National ACDA Graduate Conducting Competition in Los Angeles and he received the Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year, awarded by ACDA of Minnesota.
A champion of contemporary music, Nelson regularly commissions and performs new works of choral literature. ECS Publishing distributes the Lee Nelson Choral Series both nationally and internationally. Dr. Nelson earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Concordia College and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Arizona.