Classical . Baroque . Contemporary.

Erika Nielsen, Cellist  Full Bio 


A heartfelt performer with a sound described as "vibrant" (The Whole Note), Dora-nominated 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 author of multiple award-winning and #1 bestselling memoir and wellness guide, SOUND MIND (Trigger UK, 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's Live at the Masonic Temple series and at the former Air Canada Centre, and with Juno-winning artist Johnny Reid for Canada's Walk of Fame. She recently performed the music of Prince & Stevie Wonder at Koerner Hall and George Weston Recital Hall for The Musical Stage Company's UNcovered concert series, and also performed as part of the Dora-nominated music ensemble for ONEGIN: The Musical (The Musical Stage Co.) in both 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 Luminato and the World Stage Design Festival in Taipei, Taiwan. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Erika recently collaborated with Tapestry Opera in a distance recording project of excerpts from contemporary opera The Rocking Horse Winner.  

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 continent, and regularly performs with Rezonance Baroque Ensemble, who recently performed an all-Handel program at the 2019 Bloomington Early Music Festival as featured emerging artists. Erika was on faculty of the ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival in Lenox, MA, and has performed frequently with Westwood Concerts chamber series at Gallery 345, Toronto, and in Toronto New Music series’ such as Soundstreams, Spectrum Music, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Bicycle Opera Project, and with minimalist sextet 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 CLASSIC ALBUMS LIVE and 25 piece Toronto Motown band THE BIG SOUND, 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, 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 School New Music Ensemble. She has studied at numerous summer festivals such as The Banff Centre, Le Domaine Forget, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Schloss Beuggen International Music Festival, Germany, Tafelmusik Summer Baroque Institute, and the Italian Baroque at LAMP in Lunenburg, NS, with Elinor Frey

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

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