Dr. David Nelson is a music educator whose passion is leading trips to the musical capitals of Europe. As the founder of In Mozart’s Footsteps, he brings an ideal background to lead these trips: a love of making musical history come alive for others, and the more than twenty years of experience as a music professor.
Since 1992, he has taken hundreds of people on his trips. While on the music faculty of the University of New Orleans, he created “Three Musical Cities,” a three-week trip that brought music lovers to Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague, and since joining the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, he has led annual eight-day trips to Vienna and Salzburg since 2003. In Spring 2011, he took the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra (61 high school students and 18 adults) on a performance tour of Salzburg, Vienna, and Munich.
Dr. Nelson is also the author of “Vienna for the Music Lover”, the most comprehensive book about the musical sites of that city ever in print. The book is published in English, German, and Chinese. He is currently writing a revised version, as well as a similar book on Salzburg.
To recognize and honor Dr. Nelson’s years of dedication to research on the music of Vienna, the City of Vienna awarded Nelson with their “Golden Medal of Honor” in March 2008. This is one of the highest awards Vienna can offer, and the award to Nelson was the second highest ever given to an American. The highest went to Leonard Bernstein! Here is the link to the City of Vienna’s Press Release (in German).
Nelson received an additional honor in 2002-03, when he held an endowed professorship, the Marshall Plan Anniversary Professor of Austrian Studies, at the University of New Orleans.
Nelson’s training includes a Bachelor of Music Education cum laude from the University of Michigan. His graduate degrees are from Northwestern University: a Master of Music in Conducting and a Ph.D. in Music Theory. As a conductor, he has led operas by Mozart, Puccini, and Menotti, numerous musicals, high school and college bands, as well as being the music director of the New Orleans Civic Symphony and a guest conductor of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra. As a scholar, he has published articles on Stravinsky and Mozart, and written book chapters on music theory, the Mozart Effect, and the music of Olivier Messiaen. In Vienna he has lectured at the Haus der Musik, Mozarthaus Vienna, and City Hall, and in Salzburg at the Mozarteum, the Carolino Museum and the Residenz. Formerly on the faculty of the University of New Orleans, he currently teaches at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Dr. Nelson writes the program notes for the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and frequently gives pre-concert lectures.
Dr. Nelson is also an avid photographer. All of the photographs in this web site are his. Click on any image so see an enlargement.