Dr. Lee Nelson
Dr. Lee Nelson

The Patricia R. Zahn Endowed Chair in Choral Conducting

Established in 1990 with a gift from Patricia R. Zahn

Dr. Lee Nelson joined the Wartburg faculty in 2009 as the Patricia R. Zahn Chair in Choral Conducting and director of choral activities. He conducts the Wartburg Choir and Ritterchor and serves as the artistic director of Christmas with Wartburg.

Nelson completed a bachelor's degree in music at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn. He pursued graduate work at Westminster Choir College and earned his M.M. and D.M.A. degrees from the University of Arizona.

Nelson won the 2005 National American Choral Directors Association Conducting Competition in Los Angeles and received the 2001 Outstanding Young Choral Conductor of the Year award from the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota. As a faculty member at St. Cloud State University, he received the 2008 Professional Achievement Award. He made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in May 2010.

Nelson directed the Wartburg Choir's 2011 May Term performances in Hungary, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the choir's first tour of Europe. Most recently, Nelson and the choir have been invited to perform at the White House.

Patricia Zahn was involved with Wartburg College in the 1970s, when she served on the national leadership committee for the Design for Tomorrow fundraising campaign. As a Waterloo businesswoman, she was a partner in Thunderbird Acceptance Corporation, a loan company, and Charles M. Young Associates, an insurance and bonding agency. She also served on the board of associates of Life Investors of Iowa, a legal reserve stock life insurance company. She had a special interest in the Wartburg Choir, and after retiring to Florida, created a trust to support the choir and its director.