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John Nilsen performs


Contemporary composer and recording artist John Nilsen performed May 8 at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center. Michele Skalicky talked with Nilsen from his home in Oregon...

JOHN NILSEN KNEW AT AGE 7 OR 8 THAT HE WANTED A CAREER IN MUSIC. HE THOUGHT GUITAR WOULD BE HIS INTRUMENT OF CHOICE, EVEN THOUGH HE BEGAN TAKING PIANO LESSON AT AGE 6.

BUT TIME AND EXPERIENCE WOULD LEAD HIM TO CONCLUDE THAT THE LOGICAL CHOICE FOR HIM WOULD BE TO PLAY SOLO PIANO, AND TO WRITE HIS OWN MUSIC.

TO DATE, NILSEN, WHO CALLS OREGON HOME, HAS 14 RELEASES UNDER HIS BELT. THE LATEST'ACROSS OREGON'WHICH CAME OUT NEARLY TWO YEARS AGO--IS CURRENTLY NUMBER 8 ON THE NEW AGE REPORTER NATIONAL RADIO CHART. WITH MORE THAN 430,000 RECORDS SOLD, NILSEN IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL RECORDING ARTISTS IN THE NORTHWEST.

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NILSEN'S MUSIC HAS BEEN DESCRIBED BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT WAYS. HE SAYS IT DRAWS FROM FOUR ELEMENTS'

NILSEN TRIED HIS HAND AT ROCK AND ROLL ONCE'FOR YEARS HE WAS PART OF A FOLK ROCK DUO AND HE ALSO SERVED AS GUITARIST/VOCALIST FOR SEVERAL BANDS IN THE 70S AND 80S'BUT DEEP DOWN HE ALWAYS KNEW HIS TRUE CALLING WAS SONGWRITING'

NILSEN SAYS HE DECIDED SOMETIME IN HIS 20S'HE'S 47 NOW'THAT HE SHOULD FOCUS ON SOLO PIANO SINCE THAT'S WHAT HE FELT HE WAS BEST AT. THE TRUE DECIDING FACTOR, THOUGH, IS AN OFFER OF A RECORDING CONTRACT FROM SOMEONE WHO HEARD HIM PLAY A PIANO SONG.

NILSEN HAS RELEASED 14 RECORDS, 11 OF WHICH CONTAIN SOLELY MUSIC HE HAS WRITTEN. HE TALKS ABOUT WHAT INSPIRES HIM'

OTHER MUSICIANS HAVE ALSO INFLUENCED NILSEN'S WRITING'

NILSEN'S SONGS DON'T HAVE WORDS'LEAVING THE MEANING OF EACH ONE UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL LISTENER. HE TALKS ABOUT WHAT HE HOPES HIS MUSIC CONVEYS'

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NILSEN PLANS TO MIX IN SOME OF HIS OLDER MUSIC WITH SOME HIS NEWER SONGS TOMORROW NIGHT AT THE SPRINGFIELD CONSERVATION NATURE CENTER '

PIANIST AND COMPOSTER JOHN NILSEN WILL PERFORM TOMORROW NIGHT AT 7 AT THE SPRINGFIELD CONSERVATION NATURE CENTER. THE EVENT IS FREE, AND OPEN TO ANYONE 12 AND OLDER BUT YOU MUST REGISTER BY CALLING THE NATURE CENTER AT 888-4237.

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FOR KSMU, I'M MICHELE SKALICKY.