Jon D. Nelson - Portfolio Overview

Gather an impression of Nelson’s compositional voice from this five-minute reel featuring excerpts from nine recent projects:

Trois Préludes d’Eau - Prélude N˚ 3 - Croquis de Wolf River

“After Fire“ - for Concert Band

Les Amants de Pompeii - for Solo Piano -or- Concert Band

Oliver - Excerpt from score to animated short

Moro - Brass Quintet

Silva Fortunatus - Solo Flute and Piano

Rain - for Concert Choir

Primal Fluidity - Excerpt from score to film directed by Sam Troz

“Blink of an Eye“ from Common Mind - Excerpt from multi-movement work for Percussion, Choir and Brass, with soloists

A Children’s Medley

Excerpt from “A Children’s Medley“ - Commisioned by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra

Listen to full medley here:

Prelude N˚ 7 - Souffle D’Espoir

Performed at Resonance Capstone Concert, March 2018

View / Download Score

Glacial Spirit

Much of Nelson’s Work is inspired by experiences in Nature. “In August of 2018, I had the pleasure of visiting Glacier Bay in Alaska with my family. I was taken aback by the beauty of some of the only glaciers in the world that are still healthy and advancing. I decided I needed to compose a bit of music to accompany some of the footage I captured.


Set from an original text by Jordan West:


Running, trying to beat the sun
Before it sinks too low
I’ve forgotten my way home
Things all start to look the same
Shadows crawl and creep their way into every space
Turning brilliant orange to purple-black
I feel the air regain its bite
As the stars begin to dot the sky above
Night within is mystery, a fear of what cannot be seen
And I am truly lost

Falling into deep despair
Have I seen this place?
In the dark my eyes fail me
The moon is swallowed by a cloud
And I am left alone

As hope begins to disappear,
Lightning splits the sky in two
As the thunder shakes my soul
I see all that hides beyond the stars
All that hides beyond the stars

Rain floods me with bliss
And I am not alone

Trois Préludes d'Eau

(Three Water Preludes)

The “Three Water Preludes” , embody the spirit of French Impressionism, notably influenced by Maurice Ravel, alongside sensibilities borrowed from a variety of 20th century composers, including George Gershwin, and Dmitri Kabalevky. As the set is themed around water and fluidity, each prelude recreates experiences and feelings that Nelson has associated with water in different ways. The first prelude paints images of diverse underwater life; the second recollects contemplative moments beside a serene and humble body of water. The third conveys a dynamic and riveting experience of white water rafting full of sudden changes in character, alternating between exhilarating rapids and relaxing passes through calm water. Each of the three preludes is dedicated to an individual who, respectively, offered inspiration and guidance during the creation of one of these preludes: Dr. Lori Rhoden (piano professor), Dr. Jody Nagel (composition professor), and Joey McNamara (conductor, pianist)

Prélude N˚ 1 - Un Poisson Errant  (A Wandering Fish)

Prélude N˚ 2  Eaux Curieuses  (Curious Waters)

Prélude N˚ 3  - Croquis de Wolf River  (Wolf River Sketches)

View / Download PDF of score:

Les Amants de Pompeii

"Lovers of Pompeii"

“Les Amants de Pompeii” tells us a story of two lovers in the ancient city of Pompeii soon to perish in the fiery demise of Mt. Vesuvius’ historic eruption. The piece toggles between passages of great angst, representing geological turmoil within the volcano, and scenes from the city itself, where a boy and a girl are portrayed by a two part “love theme” as they express feelings of longing, fear, concern, and comfort towards one another as they come face to face with an inevitable fate. "Les Amants de Pompeii" was originally written as a piano solo, and later transcribed into an arrangement for a wind ensemble.

Click here for a performance of the original piano version


"Mariposa" was written to recreate the experience of standing amongst the hundreds of sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove, near Yosemite National Park. The motives that construct “Mariposa” were inspired by the purity of the forest, as some of its core themes were written within the grove itself. With a character that other instrumentations could not obtain, the raw and organic sounds of percussive instruments reflect the beautiful strength portrayed by some of the world’s most massive trees. Originally, “Mariposa” was commissioned by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras program in Madison, Wisconsin, for an ensemble of 14 percussionists, directed by Vicki Jenks. Later in 2015, Jenks commissioned this arrangement, which adapts the work for just five players. Upon reimagining “Mariposa” the composition has been arranged in loving memory of Natalie Peterson, Vicki Jenks’ mother, who passed away in 2015.

This video is accompanied by photos that were all taken within Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and some of the surrounding areas around the Sierra Nevadas. All were taken during trips which inspired some of the musical material in this piece.

This performance took place in March of 2017 as part of "Resonance", a presentation of original music in Sun Prairie, WI. 

Concert video footage captured by Kayla Nelson.

This piece was composed for the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras Percussion Ensemble, and was premiered by the group on March 1st, 2014. 

The 14 piece version  was published in February of 2014, and is available to be purchased HERE.

Performed by:

Jon D. Nelson - Piano
Robert Rockman - Marimba
Matthew Allen - Xylophone, Chimes, Glockenspiel
Breta Saganski - Vibraphone, Snare Drum
Matt O'Connor - Timpani, Auxillary


Romance in Db Major



A romance for solo piano, dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Sam and Courtney Weiss on the occasion of their wedding!

Film Music:

 Nelson has worked on numerous film projects since 2013. These projects include short films,  documentaries and commercial advertisements.

Check out some work samples below:

Film Scoring Demo Reel


This is a set of tracks that represent some of Nelson's  work as a film composer.

Primal Fluidity


This playlist is a selection of tracks from the short film, Primal Fluidity (2015), directed by Sam Troz.

This film tells the story of a young man who receives devastating news, which forces him into a brutal routine that pushes his mental and physical limitations to their breaking point.

A trailer for this film may be viewed HERE

Nelson's original music has been featured in over 50 public performances. View a list of all live performances:

Live Performances of Original Works

A complete body of work can also be heard on Soundcloud:

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