Excellence in the community
Guitarist Mike Christiansen is Emeritus Professor of Music and Director of Guitar Studies in the Music Department at Utah State University. In 1994, Mike was selected as Professor of the Year at Utah State University, and in 2012 he was named Utah's Carnegie Professor of the Year. He has taught workshops at many schools and is a frequent clinician for guitarists and educators at various conferences. He averages over 130 performances annually as a soloist, with the group Phase 2, and with the Lightwood Duo. He has also performed with the Utah Symphony and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Mike is the author and/or co-author of 42 books. He has recorded 31 CDs, and appears on 18 instructional videos. He has been a back-up musician for various artists and has recorded music for television and films.
Mike recently returned from sabbatical study in Brazil where he worked with Brazilian composer Antonio Adolfo. Clarinetist Eric Nelson has been a member of the Lightwood Duo since its inception in 1992. He is active as a freelance musician in the Salt Lake area, and has performed the Utah Symphony, Ballet West Orchestra, Contemporary Music Consortium, and the Utah Chamber Artists, and in New York with the Riverside Trio and Wagner/Nelson Chamber Jazz. He is saxophonist and keyboardist with the jazz/rock band Phase 2. He has taught in the public schools in Utah and Texas for 23 years. Nelson holds a BA in Music Education from Utah State University, and an MM in Applied Woodwinds from the University of North Texas. In 1979 he studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen, Denmark. Principal clarinet teachers include Lee Gibson, John Scott, Max Dalby, and Tage Scharff. His articles and translations on Danish clarinet music, the Nielsen Concerto, and Aage Oxenvad have appeared in past issues of The Clarinet. Mike and Eric first performed together in a rock cover band in 1985.
As the Lightwood Duo, they have released six CDs and have performed in New York, Hawaii, California, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, and throughout Utah.