Beat the heat this weekend with the cool music of John Nilsen, in concert on Sunday, Aug. 18, 1 p.m. at the Escalon United Methodist Church. There is no charge for the concert, but free will offerings are always gratefully accepted. There will be a meet and greet session in the social hall after the concert, with refreshments and a chance to talk to the artist.
Nilsen is a pianist, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter and one of the Pacific Northwest’s most successful performance and recording artists. Magic Wing, the record label Nilsen founded over 30 years ago, has a catalogue of 21 titles and his record sales far exceed a million copies.
In addition to performing as a solo pianist and solo guitarist, he also performs as a member of his two bands: John Nilsen and SWIMFISH, a folk-rock band, and The John Nilsen Trio, which performs a mix of folk, classical, jazz and rock. Over the past 37 years, he has averaged 225 shows a year and continues to produce new sounds, working with a myriad of talented artists.
Nilsen has performed countless times in every state, as well as overseas in Europe and Asia, including Germany, Great Britain, The Philippines, Canada, Taiwan and Singapore. He has appeared with such celebrities as Jose Feliciano, Jesse Colin Young, David Foster, Marc Cohn, Kenny G, Alex De Grassi, Montreaux and others.
He is a native of the Pacific Northwest, born in Seattle and raised primarily in Portland, where he has been a resident for many years. Nilsen began studying piano at age six and guitar at age 12. He attended Southern Oregon University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English. In recognition of his achievement and leadership in the performing arts, Nilsen was honored by his alma mater with the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the most prestigious award bestowed by Southern Oregon University on graduates. He was also chosen to be a Deering Banjo artist in 2016 in recognition of his piano, guitar and songwriting talents.
Nilsen loves to get out on the rivers, into the forests and onto the mountains of the region. The people, landscapes, weather, and tenor of life in the Pacific Northwest frequently influence his musical themes and his classical piano lessons from youth create a distinct tonal mood to his original music.
He also speaks and conducts residencies on songwriting and musical performance at schools throughout the country, including every school in his home district outside Portland.