Pianist Nelson Harper is known for his versatility as both soloist and chamber musician. He has appeared in several summer music festivals, including the prestigious Grand Teton Music Festival, and for many years has been heard in both solo and chamber music performances at least twice yearly in live broadcasts on Chicago's Fine Arts Radio Station, WFMT. Among artists with whom he has performed in addition to his thirty-four year duo with violinist Michael Davis are the Chicago Symphony's principal flutist Donald Peck, trumpeter James Thompson, violinists MaxRostal and Yfrah Neaman, soprano Lucy Shelton, clarinetist Luis Rossi and numerous other singers and instrumentalists.
Nelson Harper made his London debut in December of 1989 at the Wigmore Hall in a program of British duo sonatas of the 20th century with violinist Michael Davis. That recital included the world premiere of the Third Sonata for violin and piano by Wilfred Josephs, dedicated to the two artists. The critic of the London Guardian wrote of that recital "both players are individually most sensitive and accomplished, while as a duo they seem to play with a single mind." When they repeated the program live over WFMT in Chicago, Robert Marsh of the Chicago Sun-Times called it "one of the most attractive recitals of the season" and praised the duo as "two superior, well-matched musicians who perform the violin and piano repertoire with sensitive, imaginative interaction."
Dr. Harper is featured on seven compact discs on the Vienna Modern Masters, Koch International, Orion, and d'Note labels. A recording of solo piano and chamber works by Welsh composer William Mathias, done at the request of Oxford University Press, was released on the Koch International label in the summer of 1996, with the American Record Guide review singling out “especially the elegant playing of pianist Nelson Harper.”
Nelson Harper’s principal teachers were Paul Strouse, Richard Tetley-Kardos, and Earl Wild. Dr. Harper was a recipient of The Ohio State University School of Music’s Distinguished Teaching Award while on the faculty there, and is currently Coordinator of Keyboard Studies at Denison University.