Classical . Baroque . Contemporary.

Erika Nielsen, Cellist  Full Bio 


A heartfelt performer with a sound described as 'vibrant' (The Whole Note), Toronto-based cellist Erika Nielsen has a multi-faceted career as a chamber musician, collaborative artist, orchestral player, and educator. Her musicianship spans Baroque and Classical traditions to contemporary and popular genres. She is also the award-winning author of the new bestselling memoir and wellness guide SOUND MIND (Trigger, 2019).   

As a collaborative artist, Erika has had the privilege of performing with artists such as Grammy-winning artist Kanye West for both MTV Canada and Live at the Concert Hall, and with Juno-winning artist Johnny Reid for Canada's Walk of Fame. She recently performed as part of the Dora Award-nominated ensemble of The Musical Stage Company’s Onegin: The Musical in Toronto and on tour at The National Arts Centre, Ottawa. Recent international performances include Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music as a part of the World Stage Design Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Erika was Principal Cellist of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra for the 2011-13 seasons, where she was a featured concerto soloist, presented recitals, performed with the SSO String Quartet, and was an instructor at the conservatory of music. She continues to perform with numerous orchestras across Ontario. 

As a chamber musician, Erika performs in chamber music settings across the province, and regularly performs with Rezonance Baroque Ensemble. She was on faculty of the 2016 ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival in Lenox, MA. and has performed frequently with Westwood Concerts chamber series at Gallery 345, Toronto, and in New Music series’ such as Soundstreams, Spectrum Music, The Thin Edge New Music Collective, and Bicycle Opera Project. Erika was also a member of Toronto-based minimalist ensemble Muskox. In 2016 Erika produced a multi-genre solo recital OPPOSITES ATTRACT to a packed house at Gallery 345, Toronto, featuring music for solo Baroque cello followed by contemporary improvising jazz quartet Arkana

As a recording artist Erika recently appeared on the soundtrack of CBC television's My Farmland, and has performed on albums by Canadian artists such as soprano Tonia Evans Cianciulli, The Weather Station, Jennifer Castle, The Trews, Megan Bonnell, Jeffery Straker, composer Frank Horvat, and on the 2014 JUNO-nominated album by Splash 'n Boots. She currently performs with 25 piece Toronto Motown band THE BIG SOUND, with Classic Albums Live, and performs throughout the USA with ELO tribute Strange Magic, who was featured live on The World's Greatest Tribute Bands for AXS TV at Whisky a Go-Go in Los Angeles, CA. 

Born in Lahr, Germany, and raised in Kingston, ON, Erika completed her Bachelor of Music Performance (honours) at Queen’s University with Wolf Tormann, and her Artist Diploma at the Glenn Gould School with David Hetherington in Toronto, where she was a member of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra and the Glenn Gould New Music Ensemble. She has studied at numerous summer festivals such as The Banff Centre, Le Domaine Forget, the Toronto Summer Music Festival, Schloss Beuggen International Music Festival, Germany, the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute, and Italian Baroque music with Elinor Frey at LAMP in Lunenburg, NS. 

A passionate educator, Erika is on faculty of National Music Camp of Canada. She maintains a busy private studio and is also an itinerant cello teacher for Branksome Hall and Havergal College, and coaches chamber music and group classes at the Miles Nadal JCC Suzuki Music Program. 

Erika performs on a JB Collin-Mézin cello from 1885, a 1924 Roth converted for Baroque playing, and on a carbon fibre Luis and Clarke. She is also a writer and visual artist.  For inquiries, please contact Erika