About



Tess Nielsen, D.M.A., is a choral conductor, music theater director, and music education researcher with interests in technology mediation, teacher preparation, and the digital aesthetic. As an adjunct Professor of Music at Rowan, Dr. Nielsen teaches Music Appreciation and Group Piano in Music Industry, supervises clinical practice candidates, and serves as Director of Rowan Youth Chorale. At Montclair State University, Dr. Nielsen is an interdisciplinary instructor in the Gifted and Talented program, teaching digital multimedia, filmmaking, drama and forensics. Previous appointments include Continuo Arts Conducting Fellow (2014-2015) and Ranney School Performing Arts Director (2002-2014).

Her dissertation from Boston University, “Music Discovery, Production and Sharing Among A Group of High School Students,” followed teens as they created and shared digital multimedia. This qualitative study focused on ways in which adolescents informally engaged with digital music in relationship to their classroom music learning. Dr. Nielsen is an active researcher the broader paradigm shifts in digital media and engages in publishing and national presentations. Graduate degrees include a Performance Diploma from Vienna Conservatory of Music and MM from the Catholic University of America (Sharon Christman, Michael Cordovana, voice). Her undergraduate BME is from Virginia Commonwealth University (Landon Bilyeu, piano). Locally, she is in demand as a music theater director, choral conductor, teaching artist, clinician and adjudicator. Stage credits include classical and contemporary vocal performances for numerous theaters, concert halls, cabaret, and social events.

A dynamic choral conductor, music director, vocalist, and accompanist, Dr. Nielsen has performed at prestigious venues in the cities of Vienna, Munich, Washington D.C, the Jersey Shore, and New York City. With a background in both contemporary and classical music, her extensive performance experience includes piano and vocal concentration, accompanying, conducting, recording and producing. While in Europe, she was a vocal artist on the Teldec International record label. Her first album brought Tess into Vienna’s musical spotlight, and the resulting hit single lead concert performances and television appearances across Europe.

In Washington, DC, Dr. Nielsen sang with the Annapolis Opera, the Catholic University Opera, the American University Opera, and the Crittenden Opera Studio. As a vocalist and pianist, she appeared at noted establishments such as the Bombay Club, One Step Down, Top of the Town, and the Ritz Carlton. Dr. Nielsen was a founding member of Nuova Trice, a classical chamber ensemble that performed frequently for the Washington International Community. In the New York Metropolitan area, Dr. Nielsen has performed in concert in both the classical and jazz musical idioms.

Dr. Nielsen is an active member of CMS, ACDA, NaFME, TI:ME, and AGO, with Orff-Schulwerk certification and NJ State Certified Teacher of Music With Advanced Standing. She serves as Music Director for Hope Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Nielsen, her husband Jon, and their two teenage sons live in Avon-by-the-Sea, New Jersey.