Susan T. Nelson


Susan T. Nelson has been published since 1991 and has over 200 compositions and arrangements in print with 21 different major publishers. Her compositions have been featured at many festivals such as the “Ring in Praise” seminars in Dunblane Cathedral, Scotland; 2011 Hong Kong Handbell Festival; HMA Distinctly Bronze East and West; and have been recorded by many ensembles, including Campanelli Handbell Ensemble, Tallinn, Estonia; Handglockenchor, Hannover, Germany, and Embellish, Grand Rapids, MI. Her arrangement, “Brian Boru March,” was used for a TV commercial in Estonia in 2010. Commissions include writing original compositions for such prestigious groups as Bells of the Cascades, Portland, OR; Deborah S. Rice (AGEHR Past President); Michele Sharik, soloist; and Velocity Handbell Ensemble, Oakland, CA. Her arrangement, “Brian Boru March” was used for a TV commercial in Estonia in 2010; and a radio interview and TV documentary broadcast in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2013.

Ms. Nelson was invited to Estonia October 2013 to attend a concert consisting entirely of her works. Four handbell ensembles (40+ ringers): Campanelli, KellaRing Concert Ensemble, KellaRing Youth Ensemble, NoBell Laureates (Karolina Sepp, director) along with 16 instrumentalists performed under the direction of Inna Lai, conductor. It is perhaps, the greatest honor a composer can receive! This collaboration will be featured in a documentary film by producer Anneli Ahven, Kopi Kinokompanii entitled”Meie Inimesed” (“our people”).

Susan is currently pursuing a M.M. in Music Technology and Composition at Valley Forge Christian College, PA. She holds a B.A. in music theory and composition from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. While at Rutgers, she studied with noted composers Barbara Benary, Philip Corner and Daniel Goode. Graduate music education studies at Trenton State College led to New Jersey teacher certification. She has played piano, organ, harpsichord, handbells, recorder, guitar and flute professionally for 39 years.

Susan was awarded the 1999 AGEHR McKeehan Scholarship, and has received an ASCAPlus Award every year since she first applied in 2008. She has studied in master class with Donald Allured, Cynthia Dobrinski, and in seminars with Katsumi Kodama, and Kathleen Ebling-Shaw. Constantly pushing the envelope, Susan is always looking for inventive ways to enhance handbell literature.

She has taught composition, orchestration, score study, music theory, and various handbell technique classes at workshops and Guild Festival Conferences; and has served as Historian on the Handbell Musicians of America Area II Executive Board. She has worked with children of all ages for 30+ years and is the author of “KidzRing™” an innovative series of books designed for very young ringers.

A church musician since 1974, Ms. Nelson is employed as Director of Music at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Hamilton, NJ, where she serves as organist and directs a thriving vocal and handbell program. She is also employed as a Technical Assistant at Talbott Library, Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ.