Duncan Neilson is a multi-disciplinary composer based in Portland, Oregon.
Working with a broad range of instrumentation, from orchestra to performance art to recorded music and analog synthesis, the common thread that links all of Duncan's work is that the music is used to tell stories.
Duncan's compositions have been performed by the Relache Ensemble, the Daedalus String Quartet, Moebius Ensemble, the Blaeu String Quartet Amsterdam, the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble of the College of William and Mary, the Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra, the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Speculum Musicae, Blend Engine, Ensemble Ergo of Toronto, Quattro Mani, and Arc Duo, at venues including the Aspen Music Festival, Caramoor Music Festival, Tanglewood, Colorado College New Music Symposium, the Music Salon Philadelphia, the Warped Tour, CBGBs, the Knitting Factory, the Children's Museum of Manhattan, Miller Theatre NYC, and Carnegie Hall.
Duncan received a D.M.A. in Composition from Columbia University; an M.M. in Composition from the University of Michigan; and a B.A. in Piano Performance from Lewis and Clark College. He was the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship and Jacob K. Javits Fellowship at Columbia University, scholarships to the Aspen Music Festival, and an ASCAP award for his Mad Love Songs. He has taught on the music faculty of Columbia University, the College of William and Mary, Concordia University Portland, and Lewis and Clark College, as well as the Hoff-Barthelson School of Music in New York. As an educator, teaching the composition and theory curriculum as well as instrumentation, music history, electronic music, and performance art, he is known for his conceptual and contextual approach, with an aim to inspiring new composers and listeners to carry music through to the wisest and wildest possibilities in their lives.