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Composer Report There have been many extraordinary composers of music throughout history Each composer has his or her own wonderful characteristics and abilities that have touched the special few or the many peoples of the world Three composers that have not been largely recognized but highly acclaimed for their music are Ron Nelson Russell Alexander and Eric Whitacre The Carl Sandburg High School Symphonic Band was fortunate enough to perform a composition by each of these men Ron Nelson in particular has a special and interesting history that many people do not know of Ron Nelson was born in Joliet Illinois December 14 1929 As a child Ron grew up around the hopes and dreams of his parents His father wanted him to be a professional left-handed pitcher but his mother wished for him to explore the musical field and become a pianist like her Ron began obligatory piano lessons at age 6 with the same teacher as his mother At the same age Nelson wrote his first composition The Sailboat which he still has because my mother saved everything At age 12 Nelson changed from studying the piano to studying the organ At age 13 he played for his church to raise money for secret flying lessons Nelson knows that he benefited from taking organ lessons because they reveal the basic principles of the orchestra When Nelson attended Joliet Township High School he taught himself the string bass in order to be a part of the orchestra He also began conducting and arranging shows for his school The director Bruce Housknecht encouraged Nelson to compose his own work This encouragement led to a 22-minute concerto for piano and orchestra composed at age 17 The concerto and a recommendation from his teacher and mentor Housknecht got Nelson accepted to the Eastman School of Music Nelson studied under the wise supervision of Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers Hansons genius
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