Violinist Holly Nelson was recently awarded a Fulbright Grant to Argentina ‘22-‘23 to study the performance practice and pedagogy of the violin in tango music. Originally introduced to tango music by Grammy Award-winning pianist Emilio Solla when she performed in his tango ensemble at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in 2014, Ms. Nelson plans to continue studying tango music performance intensively with Guillermo Rubino and Pablo Agri, two of the foremost tango violinists in the world, while living in Buenos Aires for nine months. During her Fulbright grant, Ms. Nelson will also present classical violin recitals and master classes at universities and community music schools throughout Argentina. In addition to the Fulbright Grant, Ms. Nelson was recently awarded the Peabody Institute of Music’s Presser Graduate Music Award, the conservatory’s most prestigious award. The 10K prize “is designed to encourage and support in a special way the advanced education and career of truly exceptional graduate music students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution to the field of music.” Ms. Nelson will utilize the Presser Award funds to support her tango music studies, teaching and concertizing throughout Argentina as well as the founding of a Baltimore-based tango orchestra and the development of a tango workshop for classical musicians upon her return.
In addition to studying and performing tango music, Ms. Nelson is equally passionate about championing new music. As a Britten Pears Young Artist Program fellow in 2019 she premiered new works for chamber orchestra in Aldeburgh, England, and returned in 2020 as concertmaster for performances in London and Aldeburgh. In 2018, Holly performed with members of the International Contemporary Ensemble as a fellow at Banff’s Ensemble Evolution program in Canada. As co-concertmaster and Contemporary Ensemble violin fellow of the Atlantic Music Festival in 2017, Holly premiered 22 works for orchestra and chamber ensembles, and in 2014 and 2015 toured Switzerland and Luxembourg as a member of the Lucerne Festival’s Young Performance Ensemble, performing Tod Machover’s FENSADENSE for ten instrumentalists and electronics. At the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2010 Biennial Opening Gala, she premiered Rashaad Newsome’s piece FIVE for amplified quintet, MC and dancers.
In 2018 at Domaine Forget in Quebec, Holly gave chamber recitals with faculty members Philip Chiu and Miguel da Silva as a full scholarship student, and in 2017 directed, produced and performed in a fully-staged production of L’Histoire du Soldat at Bard College. She has performed as a duo with pianist Elliot Figg for the NYC-based contemporary dance company Ballet Next at the Kaatsbaan Dance Center in Tivoli, NY and at Long Island University’s Kimball Center. From 2018-2020, Holly gave monthly recitals as Artist in Residence at the Twin Towers Life Enriching Center in Cincinnati, OH. An early music enthusiast, Holly has performed in San Francisco with the American Bach Soloists and with NYC-based period ensembles The Sebastians, Project Amadeus, Operamission and The Clarion Music Society. In 2016 she toured Taiwan with harpsichordist Hsiu Tzu Ryan, supported by a Taiwanese arts grant. From 2016-17, Ms. Nelson performed regularly at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a member of The Orchestra Now. Ms. Nelson has recorded for Naxos as a member of the Chamber Orchestra of New York, and previously was a member of the Binghamton Philharmonic. Ms. Nelson completed her bachelor’s degree at the Mannes College of Music and her MM at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she was the teaching assistant to Giora Schmidt. Her mentors include Ann Setzer, Garrett Fischbach, Kurt Sassmannshaus and Daniel Phillips. Holly Nelson is currently a Deans Doctoral Fellow at the Peabody Institute of Music where she studies with Vadim Gluzman.