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Matthew S. Nelson

Composer | Cellist

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Matthew S. Nelson is a cultivated and contemplative musical whisperer. Growing up between the two old oaks of classical tradition and pop curiosity was a sacred nursery. Explore a selection of his credits on AllMusic, his instrumental work with kingpinguin (with violinist Avery Bright) and his original score (co-composed with Dan Haseltine) for The Chosen, and feel free to get in touch with any comments or inquiries.

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"The Zen gardener . . . is not interfering with nature because he is nature, and he cultivates as if not cultivating. Thus the garden is at once highly artificial and extremely natural!"

Alan Watts

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The Short Story

Matthew S. Nelson is a composer, a cellist, and a guitarist who has worked professionally in a wide variety of musical roles since 1999. He is best known for his touring work as bandleader for country artist RaeLynn, his touring and session work with award-winning band Jars of Clay, and his score (co-composed with Dan Haseltine) for the hit original series The Chosen, the #1 crowdfunded media project in history. Regardless of a particular discipline, his creative voice strives to connect the humble thread of artistic expression to the rich tapestry of collective human consciousness.

Nelson holds a Bachelor of Music from Middle Tennessee State University, where he studied cello with Xiao-Fan Zhang and jazz guitar with Paul Abrams, and an Associate of Arts from Pensacola Junior College, where he studied cello with Dr. Brad Knobel.

In addition to album credits as diverse as JD Souther, Anderson East, Michael W. Smith, and Hooray for the Riff Raff, Nelson has performed live with Amy Grant, Sleeping at Last, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Cheap Trick, among a long list of others. He has appeared on NBC’s Today, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Grand Ole Opry, NPR’s Mountain Stage, and the TV drama series Nashville.

In addition to The Chosen, Nelson is working on new music with his neoclassical duo kïngpinguïn. He is slated to join co-composer Dan Haseltine to score Brock Heasely's spiritual sci-fi feature The Shift. Matthew S. Nelson lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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On Record

Alex Wong—The Elephant and the Seahorse—cello

Anderson East—Flowers of the Broken Hearted—cello

Anderson East—Say Anything (feat. Jill Andrews)cello

Andrew Ripp—The Soul—cello

Andrew Ripp—Tomorrow—cello

Anna Johnson—Christmastime with the Anna Johnson Band—cello, comedy

Anthony Skinner and the Immersion Family Band—The Sound that Saved Us All (Live in the Round)—cello

Andreas Moss—Andreas Moss

Big Daddy Weave—Neighborhoods—cello

Big Daddy Weave—What Life Would Be Like—cello, string arrangements

Big Daddy Weave—Christ Is Come—cello

Big Daddy Weave—Love Come To Life: The Redeemed Edition—cello

Big Daddy Weave—Beautiful Offerings—cello

Bobby Jo Valentine—Temporary Weather—cello

Boot Hill & The Paramount Ship—Boot Hill & The Paramount Ship—cello

Brian Meece—Brian Meece—cello, guitar, lap dulcimer, bass, hand drums

Caleb and Kelsey

Canyon City—Purple Horizon—cello

Canyon City—Wish List—cello

Charity Rouse—Love Is Always Stronger—cello

Chip Greene—Have Mercy! Chip Greene Live at Mercy Lounge—guitar, BGVs

Chris Rice—Untitled Hymn: A Collection of Hymns—cello

Conor Matthews—fool's elegy—cello

Dan Haseltine & Matthew S. Nelson—The Chosen: Season One (Original Series Soundtrack)—composer, guitar, octave mandolin, cello, keyboard, programming

David Ian—Valentine's Day—cello

Don Gallardo—When The Daylight Whispers Darling...—cello

Elise Davis—Life—cello

Emily West—All for You—cello

Evan McHugh—Let's Be Young—cello

Five Times August—Sun Studio EP—cello

Francesca Battistelli—Own It—cello

Greenleaf Cast—Greenleaf (Gospel Companion Soundtrack, Vol. 1)—cello

Hannah Kerr—Christmas Eve in Bethlehem—cello

Haunted Like Human—Soothsayer—cello

Heather Bond—You're Not Christmas For Me—guitar, glockenspiel

Heather Bond—Some Other Lover—cello, wine glass

Heather Bond—Walk Alone (Acoustic Trio Version)—cello, BGVs

Heather Bond—"More Than I Ever Did" from Nashville Indie Spotlight—cello

Heather Bond—So Long—cello, string arrangements, guitar

Holley Maher—February—cello

Hooray for the Riff Raff—Small Town Heroes—cello

HuDost—Of Water + Mercy—cello, string arrangements

HuDost—Our Words Will Be Louder (feat. Dan Haseltine & Christie Lenee)—bass

Hush Kids—Hush Kids—cello

James Riley—Transatlantica—cello

Janet Blair—Songs for the Waiting—cello, bass

Jars of Clay—Daytrotter Presents No. 25—cello, bass

Jars of Clay—NoiseTrade Eastside Manor Sessions—cello

Jars of Clay—20—cello, string arrangements, ukulele

Jessica Campbell—Put the Stars Back—cello, string arrangements

JD Souther—Tenderness—cello

Jill Andrews—The War Inside—cello

Joseph Akins—Spirit Touch—cello

Kelley Keenan—Willing—cello, guitar, bass, BGVs

kingpinguin—Kingpinguin—composer, cello, keyboard, guitar, mix

kingpinguin—Icefields of Adelaide (feat. Birds of Norway)composer, cello, mix

kingpinguin—Arctic Carolscomposer, cello, keyboard, guitar, octave mandolin, mix

kingpinguin—Northeastercomposer, cello, keyboard, mix

Koziol Kennedy—Slow & Low (feat. Bre Kennedy & Matthew Koziol)—cello, string arrangement

Landy Maughon—With One Voice—cello

Lathan Warlick—My Way—string arrangements, cello

Liz Longley—Inside This Song—cello

Lo Marie—Solid Ground—cello


Loren Mulraine—Fall On Me—cello

Marc Scibilia—Something Good in This World—cello

Marie Hines—The Tide & the Sea—cello

Matt Lovell—Nobody Cries Today—cello

Michael Card—To the Kindness of God—cello

Michael Logen—New Medicine—cello

Michael W. Smith—Hymns II: Shine On Us—cello

Mike Hicks—This is Life—cello, string contractor

Paul Wilbur—Por Siempre Fiel—cello

Paul Wilbur—Forever Good—cello

Phillip LaRue—Cello—composer, cello

Ripp+Rice—Songs We Wrote on Tuesdays—cello, string arrangements

Sam and Becca Mizell—Life Vol. 1—cello

Sam and Becca Mizell—Getaway Car—cello, guitar, octave mandolin


Sharmane—Leap of Faith—cello

Sleeping At Last—Atlas: Enneagream—cello

Sleeping At Last—"Everywhere I Go" from Covers, Vol. 3—cello

Tayler Buono—Unseen—cello

Ten Out of Tenn—7: Music by Ten Out of Tenn from Nashville Ballet's Seven Deadly Sins—cello

Tyrone Wells—Beautiful World—cello

The Katinas—Love Chapter—cello

The People We Are—The People We Are—cello

The Saint Johns—Open Water—cello

The Still, Small Voice—In Tension—cello

The Still, Small Voice—Mourning Dove—cello

The Still, Small Voice—Arches—cello

Wyn Starks & Anna Graceman—Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas—cello

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On Stage

Amy Grant
Anderson East
Andrew Ripp
Anthem Lights
Big Daddy Weave
Boot Hill & The Paramount Ship
Brooke Waggoner
Brynn Marie
Chip Greene
Cheap Trick
Dana Glover
Don Gallardo
Emily Weisband
Evan McHugh
Francesca Battistelli
Heather Bond
Holley Maher
Jars of Clay
Jeremy Camp
Kalie Shorr
Keith Kitchen
Kirk Franklin
Marie Hines
Mark Hall of Casting Crowns
Matthew West
Michael Card
Michael Logen
Michael Tait
Natalie Grant
Nichole Nordeman
Shelly Fraley
Sleeping At Last
Steven Curtis Chapman
Tenille Townes
The Brilliance

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