Described as “a colourful cellist of many temperaments,” 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.
As a collaborative artist, Erika has had the privilege of performing with 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 with 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 was on faculty of the 2016 ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival in Lenox, MA. She has performed frequently with Westwood Concerts chamber series, and New Music series’ such as Soundstreams, Spectrum Music, The Thin Edge New Music Collective, Bicycle Opera Project, and was a member of 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 has appeared on albums by Canadian artists such as 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, Germany, the Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute, and the Italian Baroque music with Elinor Frey at LAMP in Lunenburg, NS.
A passionate educator, Erika recently joined the 2018 faculty of National Music Camp of Canada. She maintains a busy private studio and is also an itinerant cello teacher for Havergal College and Branksome Hall, and coaches chamber music and group classes at the Miles Nadal JCC Suzuki Program.