Tubist Mark Nelson joined the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra beginning with the 2017-2018 season, but he is no stranger to the orchestra. He has soloed with the orchestra under music director laureate Warren Cohen and has subbed for years prior to his appointment as Principal Tubist. He retired from Pima Community College in 2021 after 21 years of service as the Performing Arts Department Head and most recently the PimaOnline Arts and Humanities Department Head. He also served as Acting Dean of the Arts division on two different occasions. He continues to teach online on a part-time basis. Previous appointments include Professor of Music (tenured) at Millikin University, Associate Professor of Music (tenured) at the University of Vermont and several years as a public-school music instructor. His doctorate in solo performance is from Arizona State University where he studied with noted tuba pedagogue Daniel Perantoni.
During his long career as a performer and music educator, Dr. Nelson has performed recitals, concertos and given master classes in such diverse locations as Australia, Austria, Canada, England, Japan, and across the United States. Over thirty new works for tuba have been written for him, many on his two critically acclaimed CD recordings New England Reveries and Aboriginal Voices. Previous symphony appointments include nine years as Principal Tuba with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and regular appearances with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Pops Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Illinois Symphony, and as the Principal Tubist of the Tempe Symphony Orchestra.