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Elsa Nilsson

As a musician and a flutist, Elsa’s sound reflects the sense of awareness and urgency of this generation. A generation that is more aware than ever of our self destruction, after decades of habitual planetary abuse which also happens to be what propelled us into the technologically inclined world we are in today. Her music imbibes the energy of Rock N Roll, the cadence of street protest, the visceral improvisations of Jazz and the compositional language of Classical music.

The Story From Gothenburg, Sweden to Brooklyn, New York City, Elsa’s musical journey began at the age of two, singing in her father’s ex-navy choir. She began playing piano at five and composing at six, running barefoot on islands off of the coast of Gothenburg while her father fished for mackerel. At 14 she started spending her summers backpacking, and picked up the flute to have an instrument she could take with her, learning the flute by improvising on the mountaintops of the Trinity Alps of Northern California.

After attending Hvitdfeldtska - a classical conservatory-style program in Gothenburg, Elsa landed in Seattle. She had a return ticket, but rather than returning to Sweden she attended Cornish College of the Arts where she completed her Bachelor's degree in 2008. Two years later she moved to Brooklyn and began her work on her masters in the NYU Jazz Studies program. Since completing her Masters in 2013 she has been actively working as a bandleader and side woman in a myriad of creative music projects. She is currently an adjunct professor at The New School College of Performing Arts where she teaches Rhythmic Analysis.

Elsa’s current projects include “Atlas Of Sound”, a series of location specific musical suites starting with a trio collaboration with Jon Cowherd and Chris Morrissey exploring the depth of the ecosystem around the Northern California Redwood Forests; Esthesis Quartet exploring the elementary sensations of being human with Dawn Clement, Emma Dayhuff and Tina Raymond, a quartet with Sebastian Noelle, Matt Aronoff and Mark Ferber often found at The 55 Bar playing songs about birds and perspectives, and “Thyme” with Santiago Leibson, Marty Kenney, Rodrigo Recabarren where they explore the correlation between poetic speech and jazz. She has studied with Chris Potter, Peter Bernstein, Kenny Werner, Jean-Michele Pilc, Robert Dick, Jamie Baum, Gary Schocker, Keith Underwood, Karl Berger, Brad Shepik and many more.

The Performer If you’ve never been caught in a sudden downpour amidst a tornado with the earth splitting open beneath your feet, you’ve never heard Elsa live. It starts with the chatters dying off as the room turns quiet - feels like another night in another room. The band is introduced and you can sense the nervous energy of the room as the music creeps up. The first steps of an evening stroll down a familiar path with strange new faces. But each time she’s just feeling out the room, scoping out its depth and nooks so she can fill it with her sound. And you’ll know when that moment happens, because whatever thoughts were lingering a second earlier, it’s no longer there. Instead, you’ll wonder if you’ve never really heard the flute before.

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“SHE IS THE LOGICAL CHOICE TO PROVIDE A NEXT STEP FOR HER INSTRUMENT IN THE WORLD OF JAZZ AND IMPROVISED MUSIC” - PAUL RAUCH ALL ABOUT JAZZ

"Elsa has a beautiful conception of melody and music." - Chris Potter

"...so much creativity" -Hubert Laws

“Elsa Nilsson is my favorite flutist of the Twenty First Century. She just blew my mind playing live with Amanda Ruzza on Som do Brasil at WKCR NY . From Jazz to the Folklore of Northern Europe nothing can stop her; she will go on. Next stop- Brasil!” -Jassvan DeLima, producer and Host - Som do Brasil WKCR-FM 89.9 NY

"Elsa's sound is strong and she is expanding horizons as a flutist." -Jovino Santos-Neto

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Primary Instrument

Flute

Location

New York City

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced

Credentials/Background

Teaches at plateu music in Klahanie Issiquah, 2 years. Tought at the Swedish culture center in Seattle Teaches privately at students house.

Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Esthesis Quartet

Orenda Records
2022

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Transit Net

Filtron M
2021

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For Human Beings

Bumblebee Collective
2020

buy

Salt Wind

Self Produced
2017

buy

Already There Yet

Self Released
2013

buy

Best Left Alone

Self Produced
2010

buy

Videos

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