Lee Nelson

Professor of Music / Zahn Chair in Choral Conducting

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More about Lee Nelson

Director of the Wartburg Choir
Ritterchor/Zahn Chair in Choral Conducting

Dr. Lee Nelson holds the Patricia R. Zahn Chair in choral conducting and serves as the director of choral activities at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. Nelson conducts the Wartburg Choir and Ritterchor (tenor/bass choir) and teaches choral literature, beginning conducting and advanced conducting courses at Wartburg College. He also serves as the artistic director of Christmas with Wartburg. Wartburg College recognized Nelson’s work as an educator by awarding him the John O. Chellevold Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service.

Under Dr. Nelson’s direction, the Wartburg Choir has performed at multiple ACDA conventions, including the 2017 National Convention, and at both the White House and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The Wartburg Choir was honored as the national winner of The American Prize, College/University Choir Division in 2017. Nelson has tours with the Wartburg Choir throughout the United States every year, and they have sung in 12 different countries over the last 12 years. On the most recent international tour, a television production of “The Wartburg Choir in Germany: Celebrating 500 years of Reformation” was taped and shown worldwide. 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.”

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 on multiple occasions. 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.