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Nils Bultmann is a violist, improviser, and composer based in the San Francisco bay area. Rooted in classical technique and tradition, he has developed his own voice within the context of a wide variety of musical styles and art forms. Active as a performer in the United States and Europe, he plays both classical repertoire as well as his own compositions. He is also an advocate for the works of other composers and is involved in collaborative projects of dance, video, and avant-garde improvised music. He has generated an expansive body of work in the recording studio, including solo and multi-track viola music as well as collaborative and improvised musical textures. He also writes through-composed works for traditional instrumentation including solo pieces, string quartets, and orchestral music.

Nils was born in Houston Texas to a German father and American mother and was raised in Madison WI, while traveling often to Germany. His mother introduced him to music at an early age and he began to study viola and piano. Nils received his B.A. from the University of Madison-Wisconsin on a music scholarship, studying viola performance with Sally Chisholm as well as German Literature.

He briefly explored pursuing the path of an orchestral violist, participating in the National Repertory Orchestra, the Jerusalem International Symphony, and as a fellow for two years in the New World Symphony under conductor Michael Tilson-Thomas in Miami Beach. Since then he has turned his focus towards improvisation and composition, performing in environments ranging from Indian classical music, electronic DJ settings, and with contemporary dance companies. He self-produced and recorded two solo CDs of his own compositions, “Forgiveness” and “Terminally Unique” (Mutable Music) and was also featured as a member of the Transatlantic Art Ensemble performing new works by jazz Saxophonists’ Roscoe Mitchell and Evan Parker released on ECM records. Last year he made the premiere recording of the solo viola piece "9-9-09" by Roscoe Mitchell written for him for the Rogue Art label.

Nils has been the recipient of many awards including creative residencies at Music Omi, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program and the Ucross Foundation. He has received grants from the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, the Madison Arts Commission (Signature Arts Grant), the American Composers Forum, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. He was also awarded the Hertz traveling fellowship for travel to France, and was Composer in Residence with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra's Under Construction program in 2012.

He was recently awarded the Aaron Copland Recording Grant for the recording and release of his acoustic works on Innova records including his series of viola duets with Hank Dutt of the Kronos Quartet.

Nils is currently a doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley in music composition working with David Wessel and Edmund Campion at the Center for New Music and Technology, creating interactive works and video installation pieces.

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